Candidate Erling Framgard
Image and meaning production in an Investigative practice - an educational image practice.
Visual arts education can be tied up to various educational and subject traditions, in this thesis referred to as discipline orientation, individual orientation and a third tradition, “The Third Way in Visual Arts Education” (The Third Way), which synthesizes and develops the first two. The thesis is based on The Third Way as it was developed in Denmark, but has received relatively little attention in Norway. In this third tradition, the attention in teaching is aimed at the interaction between individuals, subjects and the experiences the individual gains through subject activities. The dissertation addresses how a language oriented pictorial pedagogy can contribute to the development of The Third Way. Inspired by the Danish visual arts education, I have developed a teaching method called “Investigative Practice” (Undersøkende praksis, UP), which is picture language-, problem- and project oriented.
The dissertation focuses on the production of meaning in pictures, in which the interaction between an individual’s intentionality and use of visual language tools is investigated. This interaction is discussed as a contribution to the understanding and development of The Third Way in Visual Arts Education.
The dissertation is based on a UP project with subject teacher students in visual arts education, where I was both a teacher and researcher. The analysis of empirical data is about how the informants’ intentions in the production of content interact with visual language tools to promote pictorial significance. This micro level data analysis correlates with a macro level; the three traditions in visual arts education. The aspect of meaning in image production on a micro level is linked to the individual-oriented tradition at the macro level. Correspondingly, the tools of visual expression are linked to the discipline-oriented tradition. How the interaction between individual orientation and discipline orientation can contribute to the understanding and development of The Third Way is investigated. The understanding that then emerges on the micro level is applied to highlight the subject didactic possibilities and implications that can contribute to innovation within visual arts education on the macro level.
The investigation reveals that the expression aspect of a narrative image production is a tool for the content aspect, where the individual’s final images can be regarded as materialized expressions of an acknowledgment process. Through the dialogue between production and reflection, we see that the individual’s subjective expression is part of an intersubjective picture-cultural communication system, in which the cultural image work of the individual is part of a cultural socialization. Moreover, due to the lack of a finite and well-structured alphabetic system, individuals must, in the pictorial language invent or “live through” image constructions in a qualitatively different way than in verbal language constructions. An essential finding at the micro level is that intentionality and the use of image tools are linked together in mutual dependency. Furthermore, on the macro level the individual- and discipline-oriented traditions are synthesized through pictorial actions, in the meeting between individual and culture.
The work has been conducted at the University of Southeastern Norway, Department of Visual and Performing Arts Education, Notodden.