WHAT IS BRIDGING ‘BRIDGING THE PEDAGOGICAL GAP’?
How do we see and understand the worth of our work? Bridging is a peer to peer sharing experience. That allows for a non-elitist and inclusive sharing of pedagogical research by teaching artist for teaching artist. Allowing us to demonstrate the creativity and power of our work.
How did it come about? As a freelance teaching artist, I collaborate with individuals and groups, to mentor, make and create on both long and short projects. I work mainly for galleries, organisations, and councils.
In the pandemic it became very clear that there was no support structure coming quickly for freelancers from the institution we work for. So, it came down to us. I saw something I wanted to change and a way I could do it. I bought a Zoom membership, set up a weekly meeting with freelances and the network grew as people invited others along. We exchanged information and taught each other skills but most importantly provided a network where we could be heard and support each other to take actions.
This group came to a natural end as the world opened back up but two things spurred me to take this further. Firstly I wanted this positive, supportive freelance teaching artist space to continue in some way. The second was a conversation with a fellow freelancer where pedagogical language and theory was used by individuals overseeing a project to steer and dominated the direction of it.
I felt instead of just rejecting or turning away from pedagogical language and theory we should understand and demystify and make it something that could be in everyone’s tool kit when talking about their work.
I applied for two micro grants, giving me a budget of £1200 to create a pilot project called Bridging The Pedagogical Gap.
I collaborated with two female teaching artists to produce
Bridging #1 :
Heather Lucchesi, Your Words Matter a fresh and practical look at the relevance of ‘positive teaching’ as a springboard for now.
Sam Rutherford, Control Of Your Creativity Finding links in democratic learning with pedagogy and practice.
They were paid at Scottish Artist Union Rates to research for 8 hours in any way that worked for them.
They presented their ideas in online non-traditional lecturer. Where we gained an international audience and received great feedback. However, I wanted to take the research further. When I looked for non-traditional or non-hierarchical research models by teaching artist for teaching artist in the UK, I drew a blank. So I saw a problem and tried come up with a solution.
I secured further funding which will allowed me to work with two new teaching artists in 2022. It has also allowed me to continue working with Sam, Heather and a graphic designer to create an online platform to share the research in different formats.
The intention was always that this would grow, becoming a start point for other groups and allowing me to take the model in new and exciting directions steered by the researchers.
I feel this project is the start to a shifting of power. Taking the time to look in depth at the work we do and the work we have done. Linking it to research and thinking. To then share our thinking, not as a complete idea but as a start point for a conversation - an invitation to link work to the ideas shared in the teaching artist research. We can create documents that are by teaching artist for teaching artist and accessible to all.
Bridging’s ethos is to create open honest and inclusive conversation, not assuming that a lack of knowledge of pedagogical language and theory means ignorance of the subject.
We want to enable understanding and value our work, to evidence the power of what we do.
We want to ask challenging questions about how our work as teaching artist is seen, disseminated, and talked about.
How is our work seen and by who?
How is our work valued and by who?
How is our work shared and where?
In the words of the participating teaching artists from Bridging 2021 is …
Allowing teaching artists time to reflect on their practice and find ways to engage with pedagogy. Giving possibilities to bring research and practical elements together.
Opening conversations around the links that exist with practice and theory.
Demystifying pedagogical theory and changing hierarchy of academia.
Appreciating teaching methods and giving time to unpicking approaches to benefit learners and educator
Bridging The model? Is ever changing to fit the needs of time, space of the teaching artists involved. However, I wanted to create a diagram and bring together what we have discovered worked for us and our practices to act as a start point for other.