Symposium Panel Spotlight on Research as Advocacy: Collaborative Inquiry Meets Material Practice

March 30, 2021

This blog is part of a series of interviews that features panelists who participated in Field Stories: Community-Engaged Research in Times of Crisis, a day-long visual symposium that explored a range of community-engaged research practices, stories and assemblies about current social, health crisis and change.

Panel: Research as Advocacy: Collaborative Inquiry Meets Material Practice

This session focused on collaborative inquiry as a multivocal, interdisciplinary, reflexive, and community-centered research method by studying its intentions and impacts in the Artist in Residence Studio program (AIRS) at the Vancouver School Board, with specific focus on the activities and outcomes achieved and the ethos and relationships fostered in partnership with Emily Carr University of Art + Design at Mount Pleasant Elementary. 

The panel featured Dr. Cissie Fu, a political theorist and Dean of the Faculty of Culture + Community at Emily Carr University of Art + Design, interdisciplinary artist Yeonoo Park, writer and media artist Adiba Muzaffar and Maggie Milne Martens, Director of AIRS and a long-time art educator.

This project highlights the notion that “there are multiple ways of knowing, with a plurality of access points and approaches that shift with age, perspective, and experience, all of which are best acknowledged and exercised through sustained and iterative practice”, says Dr. Fu.  Through her work, she has discovered that “community-engaged research rejects singularity of purpose, of outcome, and of meaning”.  She hopes that the viewers will “recognise the paradigmatic shift and attune to its relational and reciprocal ethos”.

“I hope that educators and education policy-makers in Vancouver and British Columbia can refocus on the foundational elements of critical and creative pedagogy and reconfigure curricular and physical spaces for art-making,” says Dr. Fu. “This ongoing project demonstrates the primacy of expression, interpretation, appreciation, and collaboration in 21st-century education and citizenship.”

Dr. Fu hopes that this project will amplify the impact of AIRS and the involvement of its many champions, including elementary school students, their parents and students who graduated with degrees and their mentors in primary and tertiary educational systems. 

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