Art-at-Work: Moving beyond, with the histories of education and art in Aotearoa New Zealand

Janita Craw and Victoria O’Sullivan
Vol 35, Number 1, p.46
This article reports on Art-at-Work, a twenty-four-hour exhibition that took place on Auckland University of Technology’s (AUT) North Shore campus on 17 July 2013. The passing away of progressive educator Elwyn S. Richardson (1925–2012) was the catalyst for this project that emerged simultaneously alongside the Elwyn S. Richardson symposium, Revisiting the early world. Researching the history of progressive education, and its relationship to art, in Aotearoa/New Zealand created an opportunity to enact a relational curatorial approach to art-centred research in education. Artworks, including archival children’s works, were installed, others performed, in three re-imagined sites across the campus. The project was informed by an understanding of walking as something to do with knowing as seeing, a seeing that opens up spaces and places, and, with a nod towards Michel Serres’ notion of the parasite, the practice of walking is productive in agitating points of rupture. The exhibition’s audience-publics were equipped with a ‘Site-Map’ that invited them to construct a ‘walk-talk the landscape’ of their own making. It was anticipated that the points of rupture that would emerge would enable imaginings of a different ordering of events to emerge, different to those that are already known and understood as well as to those that might otherwise unfold within a narrow neoliberal narrative. The project overview offered in this article reveals our endeavour to do something different with research in education, with history, to be attentive to art, with art, making art matter, keeping art in touch, with education, in twenty-first century learning teacher education environments.