Sharing practice: the specialist creative arts college environment as critical and creative pedagogical space.

Sarah-Jane Crowson

Hereford College of Arts, College Road Campus, Hereford, HR1 1LT

Summary

College-based higher education (CBHE) exists in an academic space between the Higher Education Institution (HEI) and Further Education (FE). Likewise, a crafts-based creative education could be said to occupy a conceptual space between higher vocational skills-based learning and the more vertical knowledge structures and concept-based practice of Fine Art. This article argues the case for considering creative crafts and arts higher education existing in a liminal, and, therefore, a potential boundary-space which supports transformative learning. Crafts studio practices can also be considered as a critical counter-argument to 'students as consumers' and the increased marketisation of HE. In the crafts studio, knowledge is embodied in the object as part of an activity system which includes tools, tutors and peers and is part of a wider learning ecosystem. As such, it introduces particular pedagogical practices and learning environments (such as the crafts studio) which could support students in recontextualising knowledge to reconcile divides between theory and practice. Such spaces may help students learn valuable transferable skills necessary to thrive in a fluid 21st century context whilst learning specialist vocational skills. A debate around such practices and environments might hold use value to the wider sector.

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Crowson