1 Department of Education - Learning, Danish School of Education, Arts, Aarhus University2 Research Programme in Diversity and Learning, Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, Aarhus University3 Danish School of Education - Pædagogisk Psykologi, Emdrup, Danish School of Education, Arts, Aarhus University4 Danish School of Education - Pædagogisk Psykologi, Emdrup, Danish School of Education, Arts, Aarhus University
Abstract This paper presents results from empirical research in children’s drawing activity and discusses implications of a cultural-psychological and a phenomenological approach to the use of children’s drawings as data in research. The aim of the discussion is to qualify the use and analysis of drawings as data in empirical research and to reflect upon opportunities for aesthetic learning processes in psycho-social intervention from a socio-cultural participatory perspective. The paper present results from empirical research in gendered characteristics in children’s drawings and discusses a theoretical framework including a cultural-psychological and a phenomenological approach to analyse and interpret children’s drawings as data in research. The culture-psychological approach is focused on drawing activity as socio-cultural participation with the use of tools and signs (Braswell 2006, Hedegaard 1996, 2007, Rogoff 1990 a, 1990b, Vygotsky 1978, 1986). The phenomenological approach is focused on situated embodiment, felt sense, appeal and attunement (Fink-Jensen 1998, Keller & Keller 1993, Todres 2007). For conclusion the paper suggests different analytical steps and discusses opportunities to use drawing activities in research and for psycho-social intervention. Introduction and aim In studies of conditions and opportunities for children’s activity, learning and development in the socio-cultural contexts of childhood children’s drawings can be used as data (Fink-Jensen & Nielsen 2000, Fink-Jensen et al. 2004, Nielsen 1999). Knowledge about children’s drawing activities including appropriation of socio-cultural sign-use and transformation of meanings should be taken into consideration when research includes drawings as data and develop research methods including drawings. This knowledge can contribute to the development of drawing and art activity as a transformative learning method for psycho-social intervention for all age groups. Children’s drawings present sensory information about children’s engagements, experiences and perceptual interactions with their world (Fink-Jensen & Nielsen 2000, Hedegaard 2007, Nielsen 1994). Drawings are a source of information expressed in the cultural codes and conventions for sign-use that children are able to use. In the globalised world visual cultures meet, in the arts, in visual culture used by children and in their drawing activities such as for example young people’s graffiti (Hedegaard 2007). Children learn to use visual signs and codes according to socio-cultural conventions in the visual culture as they participate in visual practices of seeing and representing in drawing (Braswell 2006, Fink-Jensen & Nielsen 2000, 2009). As they learn how to use the tools for drawing and the contextual conventions for sign-use children appropriate and develop sensory opportunities to articulate their emotions, thoughts and engagements. In the drawing activity itself and in the situation in the specific context, events, materials, tools and artefacts may appeal to the drawing child in ways that affect the drawing and the mediation of meaning. This should be taken into consideration in research. The aim of this paper is to qualify analysis of drawings as data in empirical research and to reflect upon opportunities for aesthetic learning processes in psycho-social intervention from a socio-cultural participatory perspective. Cultural conventions and symbolic realms Visual cultural and culture-psychological research in children’s drawing activity has focused on participatory processes of pictorial socialisation as children learn cultural conventions for sign-use (Braswell 2006, Hansson et al. 1991). Culture-psychological research in gender characteristics in children’s drawings has focused on intersections of different activity-based symbolic realms in children’s drawings: between a realm of cultural visual conventions for gendered symbolic connotations, a realm of social interaction in the everyday life including gendered visual symbolic connotations and a realm of existential expressions of the individual including gendered symbolic connotations (Nielsen 1993, 1994). Sensory appeal and attunement A phenomenological approach with the concepts of ‘appeal’ and ‘attunement’ provide opportunities to analyse the sensory-based dialogue and interaction between intentional subjects and material cultural artefacts, signs and meanings. Attunement is a situated interrelation between a subject and a sensuous impression that appeals to the subject depending on the subject’s intentionality, embodied experiences, and understanding (Fink-Jensen 2007). The subject participates in the mutual life world with other persons according to the subject’s intentions and experiences and relates to other persons and artefacts that may appeal to the subject (Nielsen 2001). The perceived objects, artefacts and other people may appeal to the perceiving subject as specific characteristics in the objects meet specific characteristics in the subject in a phenomenal field. In the drawing activity and situation in the specific context various events and material tools and artefacts may appeal to the drawing child in ways that affect the drawing. This is important to take into consideration in research. Sensory appeal and cultural codes in analysis and practice Children’s perception and visual experiences contribute to the construction and transformation of meanings and narratives as they are mediated in children’s drawing activities (Nielsen 1994). The concepts of symbolic realms (Nielsen 1993, 1994), semiotic practices and conventions (Braswell 2006) and phenomenological concepts of appeal and attunement (Fink-Jensen 1998) are discussed and used to analyse the transformation of lived experience into construction of meaning in drawings. An analytical procedure is proposed and discussed. The aim of the discussion is to qualify analysis of drawings as data in empirical research and to reflect upon opportunities for aesthetic learning processes in psycho-social intervention from a socio-cultural participatory perspective. References Bastrup-Madsen, L. (2001). En dreng, der ikke må leve. In Skogemann, P. (Ed.) Symbol, analyse, virkelighed. Copenhagen: Lindhardt & Ringhof. Braswell, G.S. (2006). Socio-cultural Contexts for the Early Development of Semiotic Production. Psychological Bulletin, American Psychological Association 132 (6): 877–894. Fink-Jensen, K. (1998). Stemthed – en basis for æstetisk læring. 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aesthetic learning; materiali and sensory attunement; material experience