The ArtMuseumTeaching community has been growing now for more than 2 years, providing an online forum for educators and museum professionals to reflect on practice, teaching, learning, technology, public engagement, diversity, professional development, and a whole host of other issues and topics. During the past year, Google Hangouts have become a new medium to extend these text-based relationships into face-to-face, real-time conversations — bridging enormous distances to bring people together to reflect on the practice of teaching and learning in museums.
Most recently, I have become interested in new ways to bring museum educators together physically in museum contexts, enacting and inquiring into our teaching practices while further building community in an openly-networked fashion. Our museums’ galleries are increasingly becoming open spaces in which communities of teachers & learners can connect, intersect, and come together to make learning visible and then reflect upon our practice in a shared, public space. Last week, ArtMuseumTeaching partnered with the American Folk Art Museum to host the first-ever Museum Teaching Throw Down — an event that brought together more than 60 museum colleagues and friends from across New York City (and beyond) to actively engage in teaching experiences led by the fabulous trio of Jen Oleniczak, Rachel Ropeik, and PJ Policarpio. Stay tuned for further post-throwdown reflections and reports from this amazing evening.
Extending this work to bring museum education peers together to reflect on our practice, ArtMuseumTeaching is partnering with the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego (MCASD) during the National Art Education Association national conference at the end of this month to host its first Gallery Teaching Marathon. This event will feature 9 art museum educators leading a series of teaching experiences in the galleries throughout the entire day, actively engaging participants in looking, writing, drawing, questioning, social media, and theatre as well as reflective discussions about teaching and learning in the museum context. Admission if FREE, and all are welcome!
Here are the details, followed by the current schedule of amazing experiences. Please use this blog post as well as the ArtMuseumTeaching Google Community to stay up-to-date on any schedule changes or announcements.
Before planning your day on this Sunday, we encourage you to first check the NAEA conference schedule (which includes dozens of incredible sessions, events, and forums focused on museum education and all areas of art education). Make note of the conference sessions happening this day, and then squeeze in some time to walk over to the MCASD-Downtown to join us. The easy walk from the Convention Center to the MCASD-Downtown location is about 10-15 minutes through sunny downtown San Diego.
Layers of Meaning
Experience led by Niki Ciccotelli Stewart, Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art
It’s been said that every work of art tells a different story. But, what if there was more than one story to tell? In this session, we’ll engage with a work of art and investigate it together, layer by layer, to uncover the many meanings within. Directed looking and facilitated conversation, designed to uncover the context(s) of the work. In this session, participants will engage in looking, talking, writing and drawing; consider the many contexts of the work, including time, gallery placement, and their own personal interests; search for the artists’ message or intention, building on what the group knows and discovers together; and determine how the artwork is relevant in today’s world, and on a personal level.
Experience led by Jen Oleniczak, TheEngagingEducator.com
Focusing on movement and theatre-based ways of exploring art, and continuing the conversation beyond the gallery by using social media.
Teaching with Thinking Routines
Experience by Heidi Hinish and Liz Diament, National Gallery of Art
Slow down, look carefully, and enjoy time spent in conversation around a work of art. In this session, we will model a teaching strategy called a Thinking Routine to guide the discussion. Thinking Routines were developed by researchers at Harvard University’s Project Zero. The routines are short sets of open-ended questions that are designed to help learners engage with complex ideas and objects, to foster rich engagement, and to build understanding.
Collaborative Poetry, Meet Interpretive Dance
Experience by Rachel Ropeik, Brooklyn Museum
Let’s see what happens when we use a work of visual art to inspire us to two other creative art forms. We’ll discuss an artwork together, then let it inspire us with both words and movement. Adventurous experimenters welcome. No poetry, dance, or even museum experience required.
Experience by Michelle Grohe and Jenn DePrizio, Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum
Whether you love it, loathe it, or don’t yet know about it—VTS (Visual Thinking Strategies) is a force within art museum education. Join us for a open forum to explore the possibilities and limits of this pedagogy. Ever wondered what VTS looks like with more experienced viewers? This is your chance to participate in a VTS discussion with colleagues and reflect together on our professional practices.
What Does This Artwork Want?
Experience by Elliott Kai-Kee, J. Paul Getty Museum
Participants will start with the question, “What is this particular artwork asking me to do?” and as a group perform responses that arise. A brief discussion follows, of how “doing with” relates to “talking about” objects.
4:15-5:00pm – CANCELLED (due to illness … we hope Chelsea feels better soon)
Investigating Transformative Experiences with Art
Experience by Chelsea Kelly, Milwaukee Art Museum
What are the connections between individual, art historical, and experiential/group interpretations of works of art? How might we use these experiences to create relevancy for our collections and humanize our institutions? Inspired by the work we do as educators to support, study, and take part in transformative experiences with art (in the spirit of Elkins’ Pictures and Tears, Armstrong & de Botton’s Art as Therapy, and Burnham & Kai-Kee’s Teaching in the Art Museum), join me in a group discussion that will begin with sharing our own personal transformative experiences with art, then branch out to explore the above questions. PLEASE BRING: A story about a transformative experience you have personally had with a work of art, and a picture of that artwork to share (on your tablet or printed out is fine).
ArtMuseumTeaching HAPPY HOUR
Whether you can attend part of the Gallery Teaching Marathon or not, the ArtMuseumTeaching community invites you to an evening Happy Hour for further networking, community-building, and to learn more about how to get involved. For this year’s Happy Hour, ArtMuseumTeaching is pairing up with Museum Educators of Southern California (MESC), a nonprofit organization for museum professionals whose work is focused on museum audiences. Here are the details for the Happy Hour:
So if you plan to be in San Diego for the NAEA conference, we hope to see you at the Gallery Teaching Marathon and Happy Hour on Sunday. Should be lots of fun as we meet new people, connect with old friends, and celebrate the work we do as educators!