Theses Doctoral

A Reflective Investigation of Pivotal Moments That Open New Ways of Thinking for Artists Leading to Creative Change

Alarcon, Natalie

An integration of the researcher’s own experience as a creative professional with that of other artists suggested that there are occasions in a creative practice that are experienced as pivotal, moments when something opens up and an apparent change takes place.
Looking beyond art practice, researchers such as Land et al. (2010), Mezirow (1997), and Cranton (2016) have addressed the concept and importance of transformational learning in adults, leading toward a significant shift in the perception of a subject.
In order to understand the moments that trigger pivotal experiences for artists, two qualitative studies took place: a pilot study (Alarcón, 2012) and the present study, which includes the narrative accounts of three women painters residing in Tacoma, United States; Paris, France; and Cape Town, South Africa. The research question assumes that artists experience Pivotal Moments in the ongoing development of their work and asks what the narrative accounts of three artists reveal about: (a) the moments that trigger their experiences of creative change or transformation; (b) the nature of these pivotal moments; and (c) how the moments coalesce within the dynamics of the creative act itself.
Analysis of the interview data suggests that moments of change are revealed in terms of a set of four Pivots or turning points. In Chapter V, the Pivots are examined as they emerged within the artists as a group, then explored as experienced by each artist individually. The nature of these moments of change is revealed through preparation, location, process, and disruption, and a set of Sub-Pivots housed under each of the main ones. The thematic analysis in Chapter V also revealed the characteristics of these pivotal moments as ritualistic, interconnected, and dynamic. It was also unveiled that they express an inherent dynamic in the ability to turn things around in a creative practice such as painting. Pivotal Moments coalesce within the dynamics of the creative act through the ongoing development of the artist’s work.
Finally, this study reveals multiple perspectives on content and suggestions on how we can support the richness of Pivotal Moments as related to Art Education.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Arts and Humanities
Thesis Advisors
Burton, Judith M.
Ed.D., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
March 7, 2019