Parte 2: Metodologías para el aprendizaje basado en el arte

Methodologies for art-based learning

Introduction

Arts-Based Learning (ABL) refers to the use of artistic skills, processes, and experiences as educational tools to foster learning in non-artistic disciplines and domains. In this module, we try to explore the potential of ABL methodology. We offer a brief introduction to the concept. We present practices and activities that could easily be implemented by youth workers in different contexts. And, we present cases where ABL has been applied and used for the purpose of youth work.

In detail, we focus on the following questions:
a. What is an “arts-based learning” methodology?
b. How is arts-based learning methodology implemented?
c. What are the effects of using an arts-based learning methodology?

At the end of the module we expect that you will know the answers and will be in the position to start working with ABL.

What is Art-based Learning?

Arts-Based Learning (ABL) refers to the use of artistic skills, processes, and experiences as educational tools to foster learning in non-artistic disciplines and domains. According to Eisner (2002), among others, arts reinforce the abilities to create oneself, expand consciousness, shape characters and attitudes, satisfy the quest for meaning, establish contact with others and share culture. Arts introduce and promote diversity in teaching and learning methodologies. The use of artistic methods provides answers to questions, solutions to problems, and offers multifaceted interpretations of the issues we wish to address. In youth work, such issues could be: understanding about the world, the systems we are part of and the relationships we would like to build.

What are the benefits of Arts-based Learning?

M. Møller-Skau and F. Lindstø (2022) assessed 19 peer-reviewed journal articles from 8 countries using 10 different databases on teacher education courses that emphasize arts-based teaching and learning. Their review identified three common patterns in the learning outcomes both for educators and learners (referred collectively as participants): (1) emotional turns (2) ability and desire to act and (3) changed attitudes.

  • Emotional turns: The open-ended and alternative learning process of ABL challenges participants emotionally. The experience is characterized by a wide range of emotions – such as fear, nervousness and uncertainty of the unknown and risk-taking. However, after the experience, it leads to excitement, joy and feeling of appreciation due to their authenticity, depth and connection to personal life spheres of the participants.
  • Ability and desire to act: Participants develop confidence and skills that create connections to future teaching practices and empower them with the ability to act. Although, ABL is affected by misconceptions and lack of confidence to practice art, as well as external conditions such as time availability, it manages to empower participants and increase their desire to act.
  • Changed attitudes: ABL creates connections to diverse learners and become pathways for multiple communication and teaching practices. Discovering these connections seems to broaden the participants’ perspectives on teaching and learning.

To have a more in depth understanding of these patterns, read the full article of  M. Møller-Skau and F. Lindstø (2022).

Examples of Arts-Based Learning applications

ABL involves various art forms, such as music, dance, drama, visual art, contemporary art, photographs and design, and the aesthetic elements of sounds, shapes, movements, metaphors, among others. We invite you to check the following videos that discuss how ABL methodologies could promote youth empowerment and social inclusion.

Art Unites

This is a short film about the power of arts and its potential to bring young people closer to each other, to reflect on their own desires and emotions, and to express freely. 

It travels across 7 European countries (Greece, Italy, Slovenia, Croatia, Belgium, Portugal and Spain) and local communities, where Dance, Theater, Literature, Music, Photography, Street Art, Sculpture, Painting and Cinema are used for inspiration and exploration. 

The film was created in the framework of the project «InterArts – Youth Communities for Social Inclusion», Key Action 2, co-funded by the Erasmus+ Programme of the European Union.

Yougo & Antygone
Artivism

How La Morena is Using Her Murals to Send a Powerful Message

Activities

Now, we invite you to practice some ABL activities with your group of learners and explore the benefits of the ABL. Please note that the suggested activities are for a group of 15-20 young people. If you choose to include more people, you will need to add more facilitators and more time for the activities. 

Objectives

  • Become familiar with pieces of art and artistic expressions
  • Identify important aspects of self
  • Practice different social skills such as observation, active listening and expression
  • Inspire creativity and imagination

Preparation

  • Book an appointment to an art gallery or relevant museum
  • Bring enough materials for the work described below

Total duration
3h

Description
Participants visit an art gallery or a museum that has a painting exhibition. Participants can work individually or in groups. They are free to walk around the exhibitions and choose artworks that catch their eye and interest. The activity is divided into seven parts.

  • Part 1 (20’): Participants create viewfinders either using four fingers or a piece of paper that resembles a rectangular. You can easily make this by cutting a rectangular out of a piece of sturdy card like a cereal box. Using a viewfinder helps you to focus on something and not get distracted by what’s around it. Then, participants select a painting they like and focus on the area of their interest. They use the viewfinder and then try to transfer what they see on a piece of paper. They can use typical markers, pens, even scrap paper to make a collage.
  • Part 2 (25’): Participants are divided in pairs. Each person tries to explain to the other person what they focused on during the first part of the activity. The one talks and the other one draws with as many details as possible. Then, they devote some time to compare and contrast the drawings they created. Do they see particular similarities or differences on specific elements of their drawings and the actual painting? Do they identify aspects that seem to be more evident or important for the participants? Are there any common details between the selected paintings that the participants chose to replicate? Does this tell something to you and your interests?
  • Part 3 (15’): Participants are asked to think about the paintings, the elements of the paintings, even the materials, patterns, forms and colours used in the paintings. One by one, each participant choses a pose and all of them come together to create a collective piece of art. They can also incorporate sounds. They can reproduce specific forms such as people, animals, trees, buildings, as well as, incorporate more abstract ideas and feelings. The aim is to embody the pieces of art of interest and try to express them with body movements and sounds.
  • Part 4 (25’): Participants are asked to imagine that they are now part of the selected painting. They verbally explain in groups their surroundings, the atmosphere, the colours, the smells, their role in the painting, their emotions.
  • Part 5 (25’): Participants are asked to expand the frame of their paintings and imagine a new world being created beyond the given frame and painting. Let participants imagine expanding the story behind the painting. Give them time to draw the new parts. Share in groups their creations.
  • Part 6 (25’): Participants are now able to create alternative settings of what is already included in the original painting. They can take out elements or add new ones (people, structures, colours, expressions, play with the weather, etc.) that support the new developments and the painting expansion. Give them time to write down the things that need to change to stay in line with the new reality. Share in groups.
  • Part 7 (45’): Each participant presents the painting they chose to work on. Explain why they decided to use this painting. Which elements did they identify as important for them? How was it before and what happened after? How did it get there? Do they recognise any connections with their real life? Are there things they wish to change? Did the activity reveal something about you and the steps you need to make for your future?

Materials
Papers, markers, pens

Objectives

  • Become familiar with the place and the stories of the place
  • Learn from the past and make connections to the present
  • Support intergenerational dialogue
  • Identify important aspects of self
  • Practice different social skills such as observation, active listening and expression
  • Inspire creativity and imagination

Preparation

  • Identify an interesting route to a place of your interest. It could be a place with certain historical and cultural value or a place that calls for community intervention.
  • Invite people that used to walk by this route. These would be the storytellers who have lived and experienced certain changes of the place from the past to the present.
  • Make sure that participants have access to digital devices and connection to the internet.
  • Make sure participants know how to use specific digital applications that will be used for the activity.
  • Bring enough materials for the work described below.

Total duration
2.30h

Description
Participants are divided into groups of 4-5 and take a walk through a selected interesting route together with a “storyteller”. The storyteller could be any adult that has lived and experienced the changes of a certain place. It is expected to be over 40-50 years old. They all walk together and listen to the stories. The walk should take no more than 1 hour.

  1. In different parts of the route, each group can take pictures and videos of the place. They also keep notes of the stories that are being told.
  2. The groups can directly pin their position on a map using their digital devices. They can add their pictures and videos directly on this point of the map.
  3. They can use digital tools such as google maps or padlet using the mapping option.
  4. They can also collect the materials and use the time at the end of the activity to put everything on the map.
  5. The aim of the activity is to create a collective narrative that includes stories from the storyteller, impressions of the past and the present condition of the route.
  6. Each group finds a spot to sit together and finalize their collective mapping and build a narrative of stories and impressions. With their collective story, they need to introduce to the other groups what was happening and what happened to the route they walk through. What is different now? How did it feel to walk though? What did they like? Was there something that impressed them? Something that made them think? What do they expect to happen in the future? What would they like to happen in the future? (45’)
  7. Each group shares and/or presents the narrative they have created.
  8. The activity closes with a short reflection about the experience and evaluation of the activity as a process of discovering the past, understanding the present and imagining the future.

Materials
Electronic device with access to the internet and photo/video recording properties, papers, markers, pens

Objectives

  • Become familiar with community needs
  • Support group work and cooperation
  • Identify important aspects of self
  • Practice different social skills such as observation, active listening and expression
  • Experiment with different communication tools and methods to pass messages to different target groups
  • Inspire creativity and imagination

Preparation

  • Find a nice calm place where participants can sit comfortably and move around freely.
  • Make sure that participants have access to digital devices and connection to the internet.
  • Bring enough materials for the work described below.

Total duration
2.30h

Description
Participants are asked to create campaigns to inform selected target groups and advocate for a cause in the form of a poster. They will have to identify key messages, include justifications, form their message according to the target audience and create the layout of the poster using their imagination and creativity.

  1. Participants talk about issues that are important for them, eg. sustainability, gender equality, youth unemployment etc.
  2. Based on their interests, the group divides itself in smaller working groups.
  3. They exchange experiences and information about their selected theme in their community. They gather information using the internet, searching for articles, reports, and statements.
  4. They use the “Problem Tree” method to look for the roots of the problem.
  5. They identify 3 key points (challenges) they wish to communicate about the issue of interest.
  6. They brainstorm and, using the “Solution Tree” method, suggest 3 policy proposals (solutions) that could address the issue of interest.
    They will need to map a list of important stakeholders relevant to their issue of interest. Among them, they should select 2 different targets, eg. policy makers, general public, school community, youth, NGOs, etc. For each target group, they will need to create a poster that communicates the problems and the solutions. It is expected to use different content, materials, and attitude in their posters.
  7. Each group informs the facilitator about the selected group of stakeholders. The facilitator creates roles and assigns to different participants.
  8. Each group presents each poster to the participants that now have to embody the role of a stakeholder.
  9. After each performance and poster presentation, the impact for communicating the message is evaluated.
  10. The activity closes with a short reflection about the experience and evaluation of the activity as a process of identifying and presenting key messages to different target groups. How was working in groups for the same goals? What was challenging? What was fun and intriguing? What did they learn? What could they use for their own lives if they wish to make a change?

Materials
Electronic device with access to the internet flipcharts, colour papers, markers, pens, tapes, scrap paper

Part 1: Introduction to non-formal/ informal education