Interpreting the Construction of Place and Subjectivity through the Performance of Urban Photography: A Visual Narrative Research on the Critical Understanding of Art and Childhood

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The paper focalizes on the results of a case study within a three-year collaborative research project between Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona and Elementary and Middle School Collasso i Gil. This is a public school in Barcelona’s old downtown with a 99% of students from different immigrant and multicultural backgrounds. Researchers understood that the visual arts had to become a critical force within this school. Following this general goal, the project pursued to provoke cultural dialogue, pluralism, and critical understanding within the very diverse community of children, to reflect on temporal-spatial relations enhancing high-order thinking and meaningful learning, and to experiment with a curriculum based on creative transubjective encounters between scholastic knowledge and children’s cultural memories and personal histories. Reflecting on a part of this project, the paper uses an interdisciplinary theoretical framework, which includes childhood studies, history of urban photography, migratory aesthetics, and performative pedagogy, to interpret how a group of sixth graders used aesthetic skills to combine their knowledge of contemporary photography with their senses of community, while they produced photo-narratives representing the public space and surrounding itineraries uniting home | community | school. A visible structure of many of these photographic narratives shows the tension between children’s desire to de-colonize public space from adult control and conflict, and children’s pleasures of free circulation, movement and random encounter. The narratives also demonstrate the relevance of lived and embodied space in the social formation and transformation of subjectivity and childhood.


Keywords: Childhood, Public Space/Place, Performative Pedagogy, Urban Photography, Migratory Aesthetics
Stream: Creative Arts and Learning
Presentation Type: Paper Presentation in English
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Dr. Laura Trafí-Prats

Assistant Professor, Department of Visual Art, Section of Art Education, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, United States Virgin Islands

Laura Trafí-Prats is currently working as an assistant professor of Art Education at the Peck School of the Arts in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Since 1996 she has been a practitioner in the field of art education and art history, and she has occupied previous teaching and research positions at the Universitat de Barcelona and Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona. In 2003 she received a Ph.D. in Fine Arts with an emphasis in Art Education and Critical Art Histories from la Universitat de Barcelona. Her current research interests center in art-based studies on the development of teaching and childhood identities in multicultural urban contexts; and philosophical studies exploring interdisciplinary connections between art history, memory studies and contemporary art pedagogies. Selected publications include: Art Interpretation as Subject Constitution; A visual culture art education curriculum for early childhood teacher education: re-constructing the family album both published at The International Journal of Art and Design Education; and, Preschoolers interpreting visions of childhood in Visual Culture in the Classroom: Case Studies, edited by Paul Duncum.

Ref: L08P0522