The Arts in Higher Education as a Vehicle for Social Change: Right vs. Wide 
Wednesday, March 12, 2008, 06:49 PM - Adult and Popular Education
Higher education institutions constitute an apparently privileged space within which society can question, experiment with and even confront itself. In theory, they can be an environment for creative endeavour. However, numerous contradictions encountered in practice hinder or even impede this being the case as Ivan Illich has long pointed out. In this article, I try to underline the potential that the combination of arts and higher education can offer using a simple framework and some practical examples. I collaborated with the Universities and Social Commitment Observatory and was part of the Scientific Committee of the next GUNI Conference for the thematic line on Higher education, arts and creativity. Sponsored by Catalunya University, Spain, UNESCO and the United Nations University.

Click on related link for the full article.

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Where is the Poetry and Magic? Arts-Based Learning at the Coady Institute 
Monday, February 11, 2008, 06:52 PM - Adult and Popular Education
This is a short case-study based on a Women's Leadership Certificate that I coordinated at the Coady Institute. I discuss how I used poetry and dance as part of the risk-taking that I felt was a critical part of the success of the program. It is published through the International Development Studies Program at the University of Sussex. Learning and Teaching for Transformation E-Forum.

To get a copy of the case-study click on related link below. There is an English version and a Spanish translation thanks to Orlando Gonzalez.

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Transormative Learning Power of Art 
Tuesday, January 29, 2008, 02:01 PM - Adult and Popular Education
How and when does art in education or inquiry release transformative power for social change?

Learning and Teaching for Transformation E-Dialogue, University of Sussex, International Development Studies

Moderator: Nanci Lee, the Coady International Institute, Canada
Dates: Monday 8 January until Friday 19 January, 2007
Happy New Year to all of our friends and colleagues on LTT. I hope your last year was filled with wonderful words and learning and magic. I am also hoping that we can collectively tackle this question over the next couple of weeks ending January 19th.

Each of these excerpts below relate to the transformative learning power of the arts. As an educator-artist the opportunities in this area excite me. Some of the most inspiring work I have seen in education has been in this arena. Circus-training used to help women who have suffered from violence re-claim their bodies. Theatre professionals working with streetkids to produce plays about poverty and homelessness. Collective murals used to help communities share their ideas and history.

I have drawn from Dr. Darlene Clover's (University of British Columbia) framework of arts and adult education that places it into two areas -- arts in education and arts-based research/inquiry. Beyond that, I leave the doors open to our collective ideas and imagination.

Please feel free to share your assumptions, personal stories, resources, interesting case-studies, poetry or art that has inspired you in the context of learning or teaching. Perhaps you would like to add a question that you have related to this area? I would ask that you as be as specific as possible in your references and cases. This way, they can be compiled at the end of our dialogue. Both left and right brain contributions most welcome.

Where are those songs
my mother and yours
always sang
fitting rhythms
to the whole
vast span of life?....
Sing daughter sing
around you are
unaccountable tunes
some sung
others unsung
sing them
to your rhythms
soak yourself
in the stream of life
and then sing
simple songs
for the people
for all to hear
and learn
and sing
with you...

(Micere Githae Mugo-Kenyan poet)

A full summary of the discussion, resources, case-studies, art and poetry shared can be found on the IDS site below. Click on related link. You must sign up as a member in order to access the materials.
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Poetry and Social Movements 
Monday, January 14, 2008, 01:28 AM - Adult and Popular Education
Lyrics of the Dawn: Poetry and Social Movements

Public Talk and Poetry Reading at the Rabindranath Tagore Centre in Kolkata, India, February 24, 2009

Budd L Hall

Office of Community-Based Research, University of Victoria

An inspiring talk about poetry in social movements from Elizabeth Alexander's poem for Obama's inauguration to Rabindranath Tagore's classical gems to his own gorgeous words.

Write if you would like a copy.

Story as Process: Storytelling in Adult Education and Community Development 
Monday, July 9, 2007, 11:26 AM - Adult and Popular Education
Olga Gladkikh and Nanci Lee
Coady International Institute

Paper Presented at the Storytelling Symposium
Department of Languages and Letters
Cape Breton University
June 8-9, 2007

The object of the storyteller is to enable the listeners
to discover the truth themselves.
–Stephen Denning

In the field of community development, storytelling and oral testimonies are recognized by adult educators, activists and practitioners as powerful tools to help people make meaning out of their lived lives. Stories are often used to share individual and group histories, to form new connections, and to reinforce or even challenge local knowledge and assumptions. At best, stories can be used to push against existing power structures by raising individual consciousness and building a sense of agency for collective action. Stories, however, can also be used in narrow, instrumental ways to simply illustrate a concept or introduce the benefits of learning a skill. In this sense, stories are little more than tools reinforcing existing power dynamics.

This paper highlights the use of story in capacity building and community development work. One case draws from the use of storytelling in co-operative inquiry seminars involving a diverse, multi-cultural community of participants attending the Coady International Institute in Canada. The other case uses narrative in financial literacy training in India and Angola. The cases explore how storytelling can be a powerful pedagogical springboard to both individual change and group action. Fascinating issues of power and voice are examined, as well as the misconceptions and misuses of narrative. Ultimately, the cases seek to reinforce the valid uses in order to strengthen and legitimize the role of story in pedagogical contexts.

Please contact me if you are interested in a copy of the paper.

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