Leo Adams: A Case Study Documentary Film

This case study explored and evidenced our theory that the four basic and teachable constructs of the writing process, first described by Murray (1968) and refined by Mamchur (1989; 2000), could be applied to the visual arts process.

Principal Investigator: Dr. Carolyn Mamchur
Co-Investigator: Dr. Linda Apps
Funding Agency: SSHRC

How This Project is Carried Out

Financed by a SSRHC grant, Carolyn Mamchur (Principal Investigator) and Linda Apps (Co-Investigator) visited the home of Yakima artist Leo Adams and recorded his process as he prepared for an upcoming art exhibition.

Carolyn Mamchur used this process in developing and teaching writing courses.  Linda Apps examined the relevance and application of the writing process elements to the process experienced by visual artists as part of her doctoral dissertation.

Why This Project Matters

The findings of this research have exciting implications for other researchers and classroom teachers who want to apply the familiar and well-researched paradigm of the writing process to other arts, such as visual arts. Not only does this study look at what makes art, but it also explores how to systematically analyze revision strategies that are teachable and learnable.

This research revealed that defining four elements of the writing process also provides a useful tool for researchers to examine other arts, and a specific methodology for classroom teachers.

How This Project is Put into Action

Mamchur and Apps’ research into the four basic and teachable constructs of the writing process has been put into practice in the classroom in the following ways:

  • The elements of creative process in the arts, as taught in 832: The Art and Discipline of Writing and Teaching Writing have led to several pieces of student work involving these students using the method in their own classrooms.
  • A research project in which students taking 485W-8, Designs for Teaching Writing learned the four elements of the creative process led to 78% of those students now using this method in their own teaching.
  • In FAL, Foundations of Academic Literacy, the four elements of the creative process formed the basis of the course design. This video showcases what students in FAL said about the course, and their writing.  
  • In Educ 199, Foundations of Personal Literacy, students learned how to use the four elements in finding their voice in academia. As many of these students were either student teachers or students about to enter PDP, their notions of how to teach in a classroom changed radically.

Where to Learn More

Learn more about creative process and writing on Carolyn Mamchur’s personal website.

Learn more about Linda Apps’ doctoral thesis, Artistic process: demystifying art-making, on creative process and how it applies to the visual arts

For more articles on the elements of creative process, see:

  1. Mamchur, C., Apps, L., Nikleva, S. & Kuraendy.K. (2010). Discovering a subject: An intimate affair. Encounter: Education for Meaning and Social Justice. 23(4), 34-42.
  2. Mamchur, C. & Apps, L. (July 2009). On the edge of chaos: In search of a process. Complicity: An International Journal of Complexity and Education, 6(2), 115-123.
  3. Apps, L. & Mamchur, C. (2009). Artful language: Academic writing for the art student. International Journal of Art & Design Education, 28(3), 269-278.

The Leo Adams Case Study research led Karen Kurnaedy and Stephen Nikleva to write their Master’s theses on applying this tool to their own art paradigms of dance and music, which, in turn, led them to use the tools in their own teaching.

To learn about how this work relates to dance read Karen Kurnaedy’s Master’s thesis: A choreographer's process : a personal story.

To learn about how this work relates to music read Stephen Nikleva’s Master’s thesis: Lived experiences in sound. Published Burnaby B.C. : Simon Fraser University, 2009.

Leo Adams: Subject

Leo Adams: Audience

Leo Adams: Specifics

Leo Adams: Design

Project Images