Theses Doctoral

Transformative Learning in Sculpture Class: Exploring New Identities as Artists, Approaches to Artmaking, and Understanding of Art

Koo, Sohee

Transformative Learning seeks to encourage learners to critically reflect on their assumptions and preconceptions, thereby transforming their existing frameworks and perspectives. This qualitative study investigates what Transformative Learning looks like in a diverse group of adult learners at a graduate school of education who attended sculpture classes intentionally designed to enable such change. When Transformative Learning is part of the teacher’s intention, how, if at all, does learning through artmaking in mixed media sculpture classes transform these adults with regard to their understanding of their identities as artists and learners (“Who am I?”), their approaches to artmaking (“How do I make art?”), and their understanding of art (“What is art?”)? Furthermore, the study seeks to understand what aspects of their class experiences contributed to these transformations.
The study examines the studio creations and artmaking processes of five adults from diverse backgrounds and experiences and analyzes what they reported about their artmaking experiences.
Data gathered from semi-structured interviews, retrospective surveys, and class artifacts are organized and analyzed based on three stages of the Transformative Learning cycle—Stability, Reflection, and Transformation. The five participants’ three stages are then discussed according to the participants’ perceptions of their identities as artists, their understanding of art, and their approaches to artmaking, based on the research questions.
The findings of the study suggest that the participants experienced heightened levels of Transformative Learning in individualized ways. Data indicate that specific class activities—a gallery trip, in-class artmaking sessions with material and time constraints, and an artist statement exercise—contributed to participants’ transformations over the course of the semester. Once the semester ended, some participants took further actions based on their changed perspectives of artist identities, understanding of art, and approaches to artmaking, which indicates that dramatic shifts and multiple perspectives can be achieved in an art class designed to teach for Transformative Learning.


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More About This Work

Academic Units
Arts and Humanities
Thesis Advisors
Hafeli, Mary
Ed.D.C.T., Teachers College, Columbia University
Published Here
August 27, 2019