1. Training and accreditation: 21st century training for teaching artists.

Started Thursday 26th June, 2014

As central players in the arts and cultural ecosystem how and who can prepare teaching artists for the human, organisational and technological challenges that are upon us now?


Judith Mclean Sun 29th Jun, 2014 12:48pm
Looking forward to some innovative ideas from July 1-3rd.
Sabrina Klein Sun 29th Jun, 2014 16:47pm
I'm fascinated by this question, and have been grappling with it for years. Teaching artist training is a life-long endeavor--it may in fact be a part of our professional identity going into the future, the recognition that mastery in teaching artistry requires a commitment to learning that never stops. Professional learning, that is, not just learning by doing or learning because you had an experience that taught you something--though in fact, those ways of learning need to be honored as well.
I'm anxious about accreditation as a concept, however. One of the impulses in California to create a separate organization for, by and about teaching artists comes from the pressure by supportive departments of education who really wanted to partner with teaching artists, if only teaching artists would act more like classroom teachers. In fact, we were being pushed toward training aimed at helping teachers incorporate the arts into their teaching strategies, without due consideration for the unique needs and perspectives of the artist. In many instances, It is because we are NOT classroom teachers that we can be effective. And because our practice overlaps with but is distinctive from traditional classroom teaching, we need to find some way to codify best practice and figure out ways to assess mastery in our field without succumbing to the pressure to behave like, and therefore train similarly to, classroom teachers.
We know a lot about this inside the field. How can we collectively create a framework that allows for the multiple pathways teaching artists take to gain mastery without the flattening of standardization that can come from a single accreditation process? How can we do this and still hold ourselves accountable for standards of excellence? What is embedded in our artistic professional lives (wherein we know what mastery looks like and how to achieve it, through practice, apprenticeships, professional risk taking, and meaningful collaborations) that can inform the answer to this question?
I think we need to figure this out relatively soon, before outsiders start imposing their ideas about what excellence in our field looks like. I think we CAN train one another, and I think we can recognize expertise in other fields we need to engage with. We do need to figure out how. I'm excited to continue this conversation next week!
Ann Russell Mon 30th Jun, 2014 12:49pm

I agree in many ways with Sabrina, although I sit on the line between artist and school teacher and have training and experience in both. There is no doubt that my teacher training gives me insights I might not otherwise have, particularly in terms of learning and the age group I am working with. I also find overwhelmingly that I cannot teach art in the way that I would like to within the restrictions of the education 'system'. Teachers working within this system are to one degree or another 'institutionalised' and this prevents them from being able to teach the arts to students in such a way that encourages creativity. In Australia, and particularly in Queensland, there is not enough opportunity for students to develop creativity and innovation within the school curriculum. As a consequence, there is a need for artists from outside the system to go into schools. I think training and accreditation should be done by a body with expertise from and understanding of both worlds, but which is not under the auspices of the education 'system'.

Sabrina Klein Tue 1st Jul, 2014 10:27am
Ann, your voice is SO important in this discussion! Someone who has lived the distinctions between classroom teachers (with all the art of teaching that entails) and teaching artist (which to be successful needs teaching that is arts-centered). Thanks for articulating it so well.
Feral Arts Tue 1st Jul, 2014 11:18am
The digital streaming tools presented by the team from the Sydney Opera House could play a really great role in training and professional development for teaching artists.
Judith Mclean Tue 1st Jul, 2014 12:15pm
Susan Sheddan's challenging presentations about teaching artists pedagogies for the future and how agency of the participant rules could be another topic for the 5 hours of projects of merit.
Simon Spain Tue 1st Jul, 2014 15:15pm
We run a program where TAs can share their practice.. And it seems that even this is unusual. Opportunities for TAs to share their practice and develop ways of methodologies through sharing is really important. Sharing gives status to individual artists work as many TAs do feel isolated and unusual as artists.
For me just training as not artist should include some element of being aware of the opportunities to spend some of your career as a TA. So I think reaching art students at art college is a way to start the TA awareness and training process. I left art college unaware of other legitimate roads I could take in my life. Do all artists have a responsibility to share their practice with others? Can we break into the world of high arts with the value of working with others? The holy grail of art students may be to sell their work within a highly volatile and wealthy marketplace. Can we move our practice into this world.. Or should we try.
Rachel Perry Tue 1st Jul, 2014 17:15pm
Teaching Artist training is so crucial. I agree that voices from classrooms as well as all contexts in which teaching artists engage are crucial alongside that of the teaching artist to frame the ever-changing roles that are taken. Interactive connective technology and associated 'spaces' offer increased challenges and possibly new spaces for artists to creatively develop and engage with learners - across all artforms. I wonder what training for these opportunities looks like?
Sabrina Klein Tue 1st Jul, 2014 18:29pm
Simon, my "clump" just agreed that sharing is a core attribute of teaching artistry. We do have much we can learn from and teach to one another. How to structure such sharing as true professional development (with the same status as "accredited training") is a challenge. I'd love to here more about your process.
Eric Booth Wed 2nd Jul, 2014 06:53am

There have been a couple of attempts by small independent groups of teaching artists in the U.S. to create a "packet" of some kind that greets every student who enters an arts training program at university or conservatory on their first day of training for their career aspirations. They envisioin a Teaching Artist-esque introduction to teaching artistry that appealingly opens up what the work is, where it lives, what it might provide for a young artist and for an entire career, and how they can learn more and get involved.  These independent attempts have not yet come to fruition. I wonder if that might be a "project of merit" for an international working group?

Sabrina Klein Wed 2nd Jul, 2014 11:20am
Eric, I think that's an interesting proposition. I'd also be curious if there's a working group who'd like to plunge into what we can learn from our training in our artistic disciplines that can inform our training ideas for teaching artistry.The connection between theory and practice, apprenticeships and mentoring, portfolio assessments, multiple pathways to creation, that sort of thing.
Amanda Morris Wed 2nd Jul, 2014 20:47pm
Sharing discussion questions from the sessions on:
Training Teaching Artists in the 21st Century
(from Amanda Morris & Nancy Usher)

Session 1
Do you see yourself as a teaching artist? Or do you have another name/label?

What training or qualifications did you undertake to be a teaching artist? If any. What’s been the most impactful/significant learning experience or course of study in your career?

Have you had any recent professional development? How useful was it?

What’s your ideal training program for the next generation of teaching artists? What are the critical educational needs for teaching artists in the 21st century?

Session 2
How can teaching artists develop their capacity to engage with different contexts and collaborations. What’s needed in a training program for different contexts?:
- TA and schools
- TA and tertiary
- TA and industry/corporate
- TA and community
- TA and local

How can teaching artists develop their capacity to engage with new technologies and the digital space?

How can training/education develop future cultural leaders amongst teaching artists?

Should training/qualifications be mandatory? What are the benefits or issues?

Should there be formal degrees for artist teachers? What are the benefits or issues?
• Can we integrate education in arts disciplines with education in arts pedagogy?
• Can we develop postgraduate opportunities for experienced teaching artists?

How can teaching artists maintain continuous growth in creative practice or artistry?

How can we make educational programs for teaching artists affordable, accessible and sustainable (whether formal or informal)?

Can we propose any recommendations to the conference in relation to Training for Teaching Artists in the 21st Century?
Amanda Morris Wed 2nd Jul, 2014 20:52pm
Discussion Panel: Training Teaching Artists in the 21st Century

Notes from Session 1:
Participants were asked to name key features for an Ideal Training Programme for Teaching Artists in the 21st century

- Art practice connected with pedagogy
- Field experience
- Observing models of practice
- Reflective tools / practice
- Networking globally
- Sharing of activities with other TAs
- Mentorship
- Cross-curricular learning, pedagogy
- Reciprocal learning exchanges
- Peer review of teaching
- Apprenticeship model
- Core foundational skills and opportunity to specialize
- Understanding and recognition of the learner and the learning process
- Placement (real-world experience)
- Employment and career opportunities
- Evaluation of teaching artistry – what is best practice?

Actual notes from participants:

1. * Models of practice (existing, excellence – globally)
• the field experience
what to see/look for in observing model practitioners
managing group dynamics
• program planning:
o understanding the community you are working with
o understanding stakeholders
o defining outcomes
o understanding / managing expectations
o designing how the art outcome will be valued / celebrated etc
o integrating technology
• Designing reflective tools, review, feedback
• Advocacy and entrepreneurship

2. A way of sharing knowledge that is already out there globally and share the growth in the field over time

3. Mentorship – opportunities for arts teachers and teaching artists to share practice

4. - Behaviour management
- pitching level for the context
- scaffolding the content appropriately
5. - Behaviour management (basic education fundamentals)
- program development
- cultural competency
- marketing to schools
- cross-curricular learning, pedagogy and program development
- public value of the arts

6. Discovering, developing and maintaining artistic practice for people coming from both sides: artistic and educational

7. Reciprocal learning exchanges (? With qualified teachers)

8. Art practice connecting with pedagogy

9. Mentoring
-peer review of teaching
apprenticeship model
important to have critical discussion/philosophical foundation – what is education?

10. Core skills (foundational)
And specialism eg.:
- Community
- Schools
- Digital
- Corporate
- Specific Needs Groups (eg. elderly)

11. The right to create freely and without judgement
- existing arts practice must be supported and held highly

12. Understanding and recognition of the learning and the learner
- democratizing learning

13. Reflective practice backed by real-world observations
- Reflexive as well as reflective

14. Authentic experience
- Emphasis on community (not just schools)

15. Placement (authentic experience)

16. There is no training without practice
- Build capacity to engage in one’s art form with, by and for communities of participants – leading to ownership, passion and agency in art-making.

17. Mentoring (using senior TAs – like Korean model)
- Reflection
- Sharing of activities with other TAs (opportunities to continually skill up)
- Tailoring your practice to different cohorts, age group etc.

18. Learning how to critically reflect on practice and improve pedagogy and artistry

19. Employment and grant writing
- partnership development
- communication
- critical reflection
- child psychology and development
- pedagogy
- planning and development
- capturing a project
- mentoring program
- evaluation
- artist and educator / educator and artist
- flexibility within the course (electives?) to allow for the different backgrounds and experiences of the participants
- artist/teacher/administrator/producer

20. The training program should provide TAs with strategies to evaluate or assess their success / capacity to change students.

Notes from Session 2:

Participants were asked to name key elements to incorporate into a training program for Teaching Artists working in the following contexts:

• Recognise teaching artists adding value in schools
• Artist-in-residence – facilitate partnerships in the arts education sector
• Engage in professional ways – between arts and teacher spaces
• Endorse employment opportunities for teaching artists through recognition by government, tertiary
• Certification of artist teachers
• Grants for teaching artists
• Is there one-size fits all approach? Or are there multiple approaches required?
• Don’t need a training program for teachers, but for teaching artists.
• Do teaching artists have to conform to the rules of the teacher?
• How much do we want to professionalise the profession?
• Need to offer the fundamentals of teaching for Teaching Artists
• Issue – finding sufficient time within the curriculum to include teaching artists
• Induction stages for teaching artists
• Additional professional development, reflection on work

Requires need to develop capacity for:
• relationships with all contexts - schools, community, industry, corporate and tertiary
• flexibility to read students and enter their world to draw out their instinctive qualities
• collaboration
• adaptability
• intention
• communication
• responding to dynamic environments in schools, communities and other environments
• ownership of process, product, research
• protocols
• copyright
• cultural awareness
• diversity of needs
• finding the comfort zone and then moving beyond/outside
• building trust
• improvising teaching
• training as a practitioner, and work with peers
• shifting focus

• broad context (lots of other communities within it)
• longer lead in time before engagement
• more levels of engagement:
o government
o health
o schools
o venues
o community workers
o individuals
o existing arts groups
• life-long learning (be prepared to learn from the community)
• ask more questions
• encourage active engagement
• fifo model is redundant – deeper level required
• teaching resilience (isolation)
• higher level social skills
• sensitivity to community issues (eg. sorry business)
• are workshops the right way to start your engagement process? (play first, learn second)
• find your champion in the community
• allow them freedom to find ownership of the arts experience (it’s not the artists’ project it’s the community’s project)
• be prepared to immerse yourself in the community
• establish the rules of engagement early in the project and have your exit strategy in place from the start and re-inforce it often
• more likely that a project will be successful if you involve children as they already have champions (family) in the community
• capacity building (what tangible skills are you leaving behind?)

• Maintain the arts practice within the corporate sector activities

Digital/New Technologies
• looking at the digital to connect
• New experiences which pick up the ? of digital, media, and technology
• Support digital arts and media
• Different contexts but field work/immersion in practice to learn deliberative reflection
• Space for creation/responsiveness
• Importance of relationship building
• Connecting using technology – live and interactive

• Proposal for an international collaboration (where universities develop a module to contribute to a total program) to design and deliver a postgraduate program, offering professional development for experienced teaching artists
• Issues may be that the program attempts too many things for too many people
• How to provide educational programs that are accessible, affordable and sustainable?
• Programs may need to address:
o Applied art – for communities
o Integrate diverse models (local/global)
o Cross-cultural engagement (how to find a common language?)
o Balance reflection and practice
o Offer multi-arts, multi-platform, cross-disciplinary opportunities
• Potential to incorporate arts pedagogy courses in undergraduate arts discipline-based degrees – so that arts graduates have some understanding of teaching in the arts
Rachel Perry Wed 2nd Jul, 2014 21:01pm
Eric - I agree with Sabrina that what you propose would be interesting to pursue. I wonder if one of the key things new artists should explore is their personal manifestation of what is considered core underpinnings of teaching artistry, as informed by their personal journey. Imagine creatively mapping those imaginings (of what teaching artistry is and could offer them) as possible career pathways?
Simon Spain Wed 2nd Jul, 2014 22:00pm
Establishing the beginnings of a unit for final year art students in the theories/skills/practicalities of teaching artistry would be of great interest to me. I think the broader "bank-able" skills including those of leadership (I have just completed a MBA unit in leadership and realized that this is what my TA colleagues have been doing for years) are also worth including in the design of such a unit. My colleagues at the Melbourne School of graduate education are beginning to include various arts/play skills for their education students too. Would very much like to look at the possibility of partnering with a Melbourne arts college (VCA) to drive a TA agenda... Yes Sabrina let's talk Thursday?
Amanda Morris Wed 2nd Jul, 2014 22:04pm
Additional notes from participants of Session 1: Training Teaching Artists in the 21st Century:

Particular educational/ educational skills for TA
UG or PG?

Effective best practices (field experience) and a reflective practice skills
How to stimulate creative responses rather than cognitive responses of teachers

Three qualities - make with, trust, fun
Mentoring, peer review to fast track the benefits of practice
Co-construction of learning
Understanding arts learners and learning in the arts
Behaviour management
Adaptive behaviours for TA as they move from site to site

Also - the teachers - how do we take the educators artistic practice and strengthen that?
How to maintain your creative practice
Is this a course? So admin heavy now, addressing accountability, where is the work?
Foundations - Uni, arts form.
Clear trackable data

Employment and careers for TAs
Democratise the art form in community
Amanda Morris Wed 2nd Jul, 2014 22:07pm
For those who are interested in information about the MA Artist Educator offered at LASALLE College of the Arts in Singapore, you can check the website at: http://www.lasalle.edu.sg/Programmes/Programme-Detail/Masters-Artist-Educator
Simon Spain Wed 2nd Jul, 2014 22:23pm
Establishing the beginnings of a unit for final year art students in the theories/skills/practicalities of teaching artistry would be of great interest to me. I think the broader "bank-able" skills including those of leadership (I have just completed a MBA unit in leadership and realized that this is what my TA colleagues have been doing for years) are also worth including in the design of such a unit. My colleagues at the Melbourne School of graduate education are beginning to include various arts/play skills for their education students too. Would very much like to look at the possibility of partnering with a Melbourne arts college (VCA) to drive a TA agenda... Yes Sabrina let's talk Thursday?
Marit Ulvund Wed 2nd Jul, 2014 23:20pm
Many interesting points have been brought up in this discussion already, all of which it would be great to discuss in detail. Certainly, there is tension between the need for some key competencies to be an effective Teaching Artist (in both teaching and artistry), as both Sabrina and Ann point out, and the potential “flattening” and limiting aspects of an accreditation process. In the Norwegian context, I consider university accreditation to be important because it helps artists who wish to gain employment as Teaching Artists, and also when they apply for money to do develop and implement new TA-programs.

How the “new media” might be part of TA work, and how using these tools can be taught to artists, is another interesting question. Though not speaking specifically to the question of how to teach people to use these mediums, I know that the Weill Music Institute at Carnegie Hall is doing excellent work in the field of using digital media to teach art (see: carnegiehall.org/DigitalLibrary/). Carnegie appear to have been drawing on learnings from the rapid rise of Massive Online Open Courses (MOOCS) in the United States over the last five years. It would be interesting to learn more about their experience in rolling out their online platform, especially if they have generalizable learnings that can be relevant to smaller institutions or even the individual TA.

The work that we have been doing these last few years at Seanse Art Center, and our experiences in conducting this work, speaks mostly to the question of how to educate teaching artists, where we among other things, and as Simon points out, see the importance of facilitating peer exchange.

What we have done over the last two years is to build up a university-level coursework in Teaching Artistry, which we run in conjunction with the art department at Volda University College. This coursework, which is equivalent in university credits to one third of a semester of full-time study at the graduate level, is run for already accomplished artists in all genres who are interested in starting work as Teaching Artists or gain more insight and competence in teaching artistry. Our students, 12 per year, have been both freelancers and artists affiliated with institutions, as well as several supported (i.e. paid) to attend the course by local county-level governments who wish to see them implement TA-programs in their districts. (Higher education is tuition free in Norway, and the artists we have cooperated with who where in full-time positions were given leave by their institutions to attend the course.)

The basics of the course have remained the same over the two years, both with the great support of Eric Booth. We have focused the class on three main topics:

A. The Role of the Teaching Artist
B. Teaching Artist Programs
C. Teaching Artist Partnerships

In addition to assigning readings (e.g. Eric Booth’s book and selected articles), the class meet once over three days in the start of the course, and hold a series of seminars, discussion groups, and work body-based in the room. We then go on a field trip, in 2012 to New York and in 2013 to Scotland, to observe people we have identified as very skilled teaching artists working with groups, “in action”. We discuss and notice what make these practitioners excellent and attempt to draw out key learnings. It is after this that the practical component of the course begins. All participants in the course plan and implement their own teaching artist programs in a partnership with an institution (kindergarten, school, university, nursing home, hospital).

We review their project proposals, and mentor their progress throughout the conduction of the programs. After the programs have completed we then meet for a third assembly, where we attempt to facilitate the peer-learning that we have found to be so important for constantly improve TA-programs. In this assembly the artists reflect on and discuss their experiences: which aspects could have been better, which aspects were great, and how each artist felt that his/her program could have been improved. It is incredibly interesting to see how the participants in the course, across artistic disciplines, learn from each other in this process, and how we can contribute by guiding the discussion using our own experiences and insight into Teaching Artistry. Lastly, all participants are asked to write a reflective essay (circa 3000 words) outlining their experience in implementing a program. This essay must refer to the underlying theoretical framework covered, and relate to questions discussed in the peer-learning sessions.

This is a solution tailored to the characteristics of our national setting, and is targeted towards already experienced artists. (Under the “stories” tab we have also uploaded the PDF version of my presentation of this work on the first day of this conference.) We would welcome any comments and questions of the choices made. However, I think that our practice have illuminated and incorporated several key elements which may be considered important, if not essential, in educating teaching artists:

1. Encouraging the artist and the art-making work of the teaching artist
2. Taking the “teaching” aspect seriously, that is, related to the role of the teaching artist
3. Peer learning and reflection
4. A practical component (TA-program)
5. Reflection on own practice, related to theories and knowledge of teaching artistry

In addition, I think it was ideal that we have been able to include both mentoring of participants’ projects and observation of excellent TA-practices in our coursework (excursions). What I am currently working on is how to research the role of the expert Teaching Artist. In this work, I again observe and interview experienced and excellent Teaching Artists both abroad and in Norway. Here I still want to learn more, as I already have from fellow artists at this conference. I think the discussion of how to educate a teaching artist is closely tied in with just this question: What is a (great) teaching artist?
Ann Russell Thu 3rd Jul, 2014 08:14am

There are so many issues to discuss! It seems to me, after reading what everyone has to say, that one of the major things we have to do in this country (Oz) is to somehow elevate the role of the arts in the minds of the community at large and in particular, policy makers. Currently I think the arts are regarded as a nice optional extra if there is time and money for it. As a consequence, training, research and developing a professional paradigm will be key to communicating the importance of the field to the broader community and consequently integrating it into community in a more democratised and (dare I say) more organised way than it is currently.

Peter Cook Thu 3rd Jul, 2014 09:42am

Amanda, one of the points that interests me that came out of your and Nancy's panel is "How do we take the educators artistic practice and strengthen that?". 

As a tertiary educator, charged with the responsiiblity of teaching creative arts to pre-sevice primary teachers, I think this question resonates deeply. I am changing the way these future teachers experience the arts to maximise exposure, confidence and competence. But it has challenges. This seems, however, essential for understanding the need for the role of the Teaching Artist. I believe that a Primary teacher who is exposed effectively to the arts will be more likely to understand the possibilities of incorporating Teaching Artists. I am interested in continuing the research into this area and hearing others views on models, literature and thoughts.

Sabrina Klein Thu 3rd Jul, 2014 15:37pm
Simon, can we connect at the end of the day? I'd love to talk for a few minutes before we resort to email communication!
Mark Radvan Thu 10th Jul, 2014 13:03pm
Training and accreditation are so completely different, I don't believe they should share the same subject heading. Potentially universities can play a useful role in supporting and growing the important work that teaching artists do, both at the undergraduate and postgraduate levels and they can bring well established resources to the job. This is a completely separate from the notion of accreditation, and shouldn't be confused with it.

Could we move 'accreditation' to the topic 'The Business of Being a Teaching Artist' where it could be a sub-set of questions around Teaching Artistry as a Profession - and let training (including research, forums, education, teaching, scholarship) sit on its own?