Arts in Transformative Learning 
Peter Taylor (IDRC formerly IDS, University of Sussex) and I just finished an article on the transformative potential of arts in learning and social change. It draws on examples of poetry, creative writing and experiences of innovative practice shared by adult educators through an e-forum from Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe and North America. The paper provides a conceptual frame to explore tensions in adult learning between the mytho-poetic and the critical-rational, and between the individual and the collective. It will be published in the Journal of Adult and Contiuing Education in October.Contact me if you'd like a copy.


Distance Course on Savings Groups  
From February to May, I facilitated a 15-week distance (online) course on community-based microfinance for the Coady Institute with co-facilitators from India and Zimbabwe. Savings group practitioners stayed in their organizations and communities while deepening their practice. The course used a hands-on, peer-exchange, participatory learning format including field-based assignments.

We had participants from Egypt, Kenya, Tanzania, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, the Sudan, India and Guyana. Join us next February. Bursaries are available for field practitioners from the Global South.

http://coady.stfx.ca/education/distance/momf/

The Arts in Higher Education as a Vehicle for Social Change: Right vs. Wide 
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 
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 
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
observe
listen
absorb
soak yourself
bathe
in the stream of life
and then sing
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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