Fall 2019 - EDUC 944 G001

Aesthetic Ways of Knowing and Education (5)

Class Number: 1163

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    Tu 4:40 PM – 9:20 PM
    EDB 7610, Burnaby



This course explores, critically, the historical and emergent role and responsibility of the arts in human development, learning and personal transformation. Aesthetic ways of knowing with a focus on metaphor, imagination and archetype are examined together with various Indigenous and cultural perspectives. The course will consider how differing conceptions of arts and the work of artists can influence and have value for education and society, and in particular for arts education and educational researchers.


This course explores the cultural and historical perspectives as well as the emergent role and responsibility of the arts in human development, holistic learning, and personal transformation.  It examines aesthetic ways of knowing, being, and doing with a focus on Indigenous ecological understandings as well as contemporary theoretical perspectives on art and education.  It will investigate the role of creativity and making in relation to maintaining environmental and spiritual ecologies through Indigenous pedagogical practices, which acknowledge reciprocal relationality to land, language and culture. The course supports an in-depth study of how our various epistemologies influence our hermeneutic orientation to research and educational practice. The intention of this course is to engage creatively in situating artistic and educational practice, and to awaken a greater knowledge of important epistemological, contemplative, cultural, and developmental influences on our understandings of what art is, the evolving role of the artist/educator, as well as the emerging task of the artist/researcher. We will extend this study to explore various theoretical frameworks, curriculum orientations, and pedagogical perspectives focusing on how to cultivate creativity, aesthetic sensibility, and artistic expression. In addition we investigate various artists’ ability to seek agency in relation to today’s most challenging issues and explore their emerging role in creating an ethos for our times.          

Growing out of personal stories, this course is designed to explore various cultural and epistemological perspectives, research these perspectives, articulate them in textual format to discover how cultural conceptions of art, and the role of the artist, impact art education. From this personal base of relevancy and experience we extend knowledge and study to explore various theoretical frameworks, curriculum orientations and pedagogical perspectives focusing on how to cultivate creativity, aesthetic sensibility, and artistic expression in children and adults. In addition to examining the experiences of attending students, we investigate various artists’ ability to seek agency in relation to today’s most challenging issues and emerging trends.

Out of our own composite experiences and narratives, we survey how differing perspectives and the understandings that have arisen in relation to art, and the role of the artist, directly impact our approaches to art education and the healing arts. We will explore conceptions of curriculum, current educational concerns, and look at diverse approaches to pedagogical practice in art education and art therapy.


Course Objectives and Learning Outcomes

  • To cultivate one’s capacities as an artist/educator/researcher in a community of inquiry in collaboration with others.
  • To deepen and broaden one’s knowledge about the important contemplative, cultural orientations to art and the role of the artist in society with particular attention to attitudes towards the child as aesthetic learner and artist.
  • To examine the influence and responsibility we have as storytellers, artists, educators, and researchers, and how to acquire and utilize that influence with integrity and generosity and skill.
  • To acquire aesthetic ways of knowing and developing one’s own voice to help facilitate our own and others’ journeys toward wholeness, creativity and community.
  • To examine the presence and power of narrative as it represents itself in all cultures and all periods in various art forms and in the stories we tell and the stories we live.
  • To examine the elements of creative process common to both art and text production to enable students to make the transition from art making to writing about their artistic processes.
Course Requirements

Students are required to participate in all the activities to acquire knowledge pertaining to the course goals and demonstrate a high level of excellence in at least two of the main goals that drive the course:
  • Develop understanding and knowledge of important epistemological, contemplative, cultural, and developmental influences on our understandings of what art is, the evolving role of the artist/educator, as well as the emerging task of the artist/researcher.
  • Experience in-depth meaning-making out of ones own artistic process and creative representations.
  • Recognize the influence various Western, Eastern, and Indigenous artists have on culture and its significance for the art educator and researcher.
  • Learn the elements common to the writing process and other artistic processes to enable them to textualize their relationship to art. To that end, students will be expected to do such things as: ·      Be prepared for and participate in classroom dialogue.
  • Complete developmental assignments. 
  • Create a piece of art (writing, visual, dance, music) which reflects one’s notion of what it means to be one or a combination of teacher, educator, learner, researcher, artist in the 21st Century, taking into account the aesthetics of space and place in education today.
  • Produce a multi modal major work that provides evidence of personal growth with a focus on the far-reaching influence of the arts in one’s personal and professional work as educator or researcher or artist or combination of these.  


  • Portfolio (completing of developmental assignments such as life writing, art work, reflective journaling, lyrical writing, as facilitated by an arts-based inquiry process into an arts practice) 30%
  • Presentation of an Arts-based Narrative of their Inquiry or Living Inquiry Represented through multi modalities (a visual, textual, gestural, musical Metissage) 30%
  • Final Reflective Paper/Metissage as represented through multi modalities (visual, textual) which integrate the readings, research, dialogue, and one’s artistic and educational research focus 40%


Each student is expected to have completed all the course reading, assignments, and to actively contribute to class discussions as well as other group processes.


It is also recommended that each student maintain a journal or field notebook, which can serve as a forum for ongoing critical reflection, lyrical writing, observations, sketches, rumination, and as place for noting ideas and insights. The students are also expected to engage in multi-disciplinary learning, participate in various forms of inquiry, and present or represent their work in multiple artistic modalities or literacies.



It is recommended that each student have a 18X24 pad of newsprint for sketching and a set of 24 or more soft pastels.


Cajete, G. (2015). Indigenous Community: Rekindling the Teachings of the Seventh Fire. St Paul, MN: Living Justice Press. ASIN: B019NE5WP6

Davidson, S. (2018). Potlatch as Pedagogy. Winnipeg, Manitoba: Highwater Press. ISBN: 978-1553797739

Kovach, Margaret. (2009). Indigenous Methodologies. Characteristics, Conversations and Contexts. Toronto, ON: University of Toronto Press Incorporated. ISBN: 978-1-4426-1211-2

Hasebe-Ludt, E., Chambers, C,. Leggo, C. (2009). Life Writing and Literary Métissage: an Ethos for Our Times. New York, NY: Peter Lang. ISBN 978-1-4331-0306-3

Wall Kimmerer, Robin. (2015). Braiding Sweetgrass: Indigenous Knowledge, Scientific Knowledge and the Teachings of Plants. Minneapolis, Minnesota: Milkweed Editions. ISBN: 978-1-57131-356-0

Wagamese, R. (2016) Embers: One Ojibway’s Meditations. Toronto, ON: Douglas & McIntyre. ISBN: 978-1-77162-133-5


Chambers, C., Hasebe-Ludt, E., Leggo, C., Sinner, A. (2012). A Heart of Wisdom: Life Writing as Empathic Inquiry.
ISBN: 9781433115295

Wagamese, R. (2015). One Story One Song. Toronto, ON: Douglas & McIntrye

Wright, R. K., Bunn-Marcuse, K.B. & Person, S. (2015) In the Spirit of Our Ancestors: Contemporary northwest coast art at the Burke Museum. Seattle,: Bill Holm Center for the Study of Northwest Coast Art, Burke Museum.

Jonaitis, A. (2006). Art of the Northwest Coast. Seattle, University of Washington Press.
ISBN: 9781553652106

Fornier, S. (2014). Shore to Shore: The Art of Ts'uts'umutl Luke Marston. Madeira Park, BC: Harbour Publishing.

S. Walsh, B. Bickel, & C. Leggo (Eds.). (2015). Arts-based and contemplative practices in research and teaching: Honoring presence. New York, NY: Routledge. ISBN-9781138286740

Hogan, Linda. (1995). Dwellings: A Spiritual History of the Living World. New York, NY: Touchstone Books. ISBN-10: 0393322475 &  ISBN-13: 978-0393322477

Cajete, Gregory. (1994). Look To The Mountain: An Ecology of Indigenous Education. Skyland, NC: Kivaki Press.  *out of print* Please access via SFU Library Catalogue (Links > This item in WorldCat>Access Online>Download Full Text). ISBN 1-8823-8-65-4

Additional Recommended Texts:

  • Davis, Wade. (2009) Wayfinders: Why Ancient Wisdom Matters in the Modern World. Toronto, ON: Anansi Press Inc.
  • King, Thomas. (2003). The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative. Toronto, ON: Anansi Press Inc.
  • Kinew, Wab. (2015). The Reason You Walk. Toronto, ON: Penguin Canada Books.
  • Wagamese, Richard. (2008). One Native Life. Vancouver, BC: Douglas & McIntyre.
  • Hogan, Linda. (2001). A Woman Who Watches Over the World: A Native Memoir. New York, NY W.W. Norton & Company.
  • Williams, Terry Tempest. (2009). Finding Beauty in a Broken World. New York, NY: Vintage Books.

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: http://www.sfu.ca/dean-gradstudies/current/important_dates/guidelines.html. The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:

SFU’s Academic Integrity web site http://www.sfu.ca/students/academicintegrity.html is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating.  Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the University community.  Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the University. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the University. http://www.sfu.ca/policies/gazette/student/s10-01.html