Articles

The Advancement of the Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice

CHERYL L. MCLEAN

(published August 2015, Journal of Curriculum and Pedagogy, Taylor and Francis)

My perspective on the creative arts in interdisciplinary practice (CAIP) has been shaped by a hybrid practice as a publisher, educator, writer, researcher and performer. These pursuits have helped advance the field, creating a third space for interdisciplinary learning and knowledge exchange as well as a place for cross disciplinary dialogue and inquiry.

As publisher of The International Journal of the Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice (http://www.ijcaip.com) and editor of the research texts Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice, Inquiries for Hope and Change (McLean &Kelly, 2010), Creative Arts for Community and Cultural Change (McLean & Kelly, 2011), and Creative Arts in Humane Medicine (McLean, 2014a), I have sought to promote the arts in interdisciplinary contexts while informing professionals across disciplinary borders about our methodologies. One example is an article published in the book Creative Arts for Community and Cultural Change (McLean & Kelly, 2011) written by B. Stephen Carpenter II, professor of art education in the Penn State School of Visual Arts. Carpenter (2011) worked with the TAMU Water Project at Texas A&M University to create ceramic water filters in participatory pedagogical research informed by visual art, education, civil engineering, sociology, anthropology and community development. Another example by Andre Smith (2014), associate professor of sociology, University of Victoria, in the book Creative Arts in Humane Medicine (McLean, 2014) explains an innovative pedagogical approach for end-of-life health care providers to help teach empathy to medical students through role play and fabric art.

Our research books have been reviewed by leading practitioners outside traditional arts education circles. A recent review by Vincent Hanlon (2015) published in The Canadian Medical Association Journal of the book Creative Arts in Humane Medicine (McLean, 2014a) acknowledged the benefits of interdisciplinary collaboration and the gifted voices represented from medicine and the humanities which show physicians different paths to the future.

As arts educators and practitioners we can uniquely share our methods across disciplines and re-illuminate and embody lived experience through the visual arts or through hybrid forms such as social science and drama to help even the most experienced professionals see again in a new light fulfilling the mission of art as Kahlil Gibran (1966) describes, “to bring out the unfamiliar from the most familiar.” (KG-P-100) I (McLean, 2014b) have written and performed stories of lived experience for mental health professionals based on research and the lives of older persons living in residential homes in Montreal, to actively demonstrate ethnodrama as an educational research method while stressing the importance of understanding and empathizing with lived human experience as it relates to depression.

I have been influenced by diverse fields and approaches, among them arts based educational research (Eisner, 1972), performative social sciences (Denzin, 2003), ethnodrama (Saldaña, 2005), and realism and acting methodologies (Stanislavski, 1961) as well as by pioneers in the growing field of narrative medicine (Charon, 2008). Many leading educators and practitioners have converged around our publishing projects and interests in CAIP. Exchanging knowledge with leaders from varied interdisciplinary cultures is a rich and creative third space for learning as we envision together new ways for our creative work to positively impact individuals and communities. It is as Eisner (1981) suggests, a question of seeing with the mutual benefits the arts and interdisciplinarity provide: “It is to the artistic to which we must turn, not as a rejection of the scientific, but because with both we can achieve binocular vision. Looking through one eye never did provide much depth of field.” (pg. 9).

CONTRIBUTOR

Cheryl L. McLean M.A. is Publisher of The International Journal of The Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice (http://www.ijcaip.com) and Editor, Creative Arts in Interdisciplinary Practice Inquiries for Hope and Change, Creative Arts for Community and Cultural Change and Creative Arts in Humane Medicine (Brush Education, Edmonton) Cheryl has taught Problems in Education Research in Creativity (M.Ed. Curriculum Studies) and was recently awarded a Harrison McCain Visiting Professorship grant. She is a Visiting Scholar at Acadia University Nova Scotia and is currently writing and directing the new ethnodrama “Who Cares” about caregiving, feeding relatives, love and survival.

REFERENCES

Carpenter, B.S. (2011). Re/Searching for clean water: Artists, community workers and engineers in partnership for positive community change. In C.L. McLean & R. Kelly (Eds.) Creative arts in research for community and cultural change (pp. 41 – 64). Calgary: Detselig Enterprises.

Charon, R. (2008). Narrative medicine honoring the stories of illness. New York: Oxford University Press.

Denzin N.K. (2003). Performance ethnography, critical pedagogy and the politics of culture. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.

Eisner E. (1972). Educating artistic vision. New York: Macmillan.

Eisner, E. (1981). On the difference between scientific and artistic approaches to qualitative research, Educational Researcher. 10(4), (pg. 9).

Gibran, K. (1966). The wisdom of Gibran. New York: Philosophical Library.

Hanlon, V. (2015). Book review: A place for humanities in medical education, Canadian Medical Association Journal, CMAJ Feb. 2015, DOI: 10. 1503/cmaj.1405.32.

McLean, C.L. (2014a). Creative arts in humane medicine, Edmonton: Brush Education Inc.

McLean, C.L. (2014b, April 11). Living stories for hope and change. Alberta Medical Association, Edmonton, Alberta, retrieved from: https://www.albertadoctors.org/4899.aspx

McLean, C.L., Kelly, R. (2010). Creative arts in interdisciplinary practice inquiries for hope and change. Calgary: Detselig Enterprises.

McLean, C.L., Kelly, R. (2011). Creative arts in research for community and cultural change. Calgary: Detselig Enterprises.

Saldaña, J. (2005). Ethnodrama: An anthology of reality theatre. Walnut Creek. CA: AltaMira Press.

Smith A. (2014). Teaching empathy through role play and fabric art: An innovative pedagogical approach for end-of-life health care providers. In C.L. McLean (Ed.), Creative arts in humane medicine, (pp.1 – 23). Edmonton: Brush Education Inc.

Stanislavski, C. (1961). Creating a role. New York: Theatre Arts.

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