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The Learning Conference 2003

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Presentation Details


Significant Encounters in Creative Learning

Anne Bamford.

Many educators strive to make their students more critical, reflective and risk taking in their learning, often with limited success. This investigation used art-based inquiry to determine the impact of significant visual moments on the development of reflective practice and critical thinking in tertiary students.

The findings highlight the way application of alternative learning spaces allowed the students to perceive the complexities of creative practice and to explore aspects of credibility, beauty and relevance. The use of significant visual encounters within the environment encouraged the students to predict, experiment, revise, rethink and form philosophical underpinnings for their learning. Under this approach, learning focused on discovering connectivity between seemingly disparate ideas. Alternative learning locations and risk taking assessment approaches encouraged students to formulate new understandings and imagine new possibilities in relation to their learning, based on personal relevance and variable interpretations of established knowledge. The learning programs emanating from the social and personal issues of the students allowing them to be positioned as critical members of the creative learning community and have ownership of concepts and the acquisition of knowledge and skills. In this way, visual and aesthetic phenomena become framed by the students' experiences and occurred in a web-like way, with judgements being formed as a continual process of grasping and letting go of frameworks of understanding in a manner that was flexible without predetermined rigid stages to follow.

This study extends on the traditional ideas of studio and examines the purpose of studio experiences within arts learning philosophy based on ideas of communities. The results of this work are presented in a quilted visual narrative.


Anne Bamford  (Australia)
Senior Lecturer, Director of Visual Arts
Centre for Research in Education and the Arts (CREA)
University of Technology, Sydney

Dr Anne Bamford has taught in education, interactive media and Visual Arts. She has been recognised internationally for her research in emerging literacies and visual communication. She has published books, journal articles and conference papers. She is involved in professional development and a national writer for the Curriculum Corporation. Anne is a recipient of the UTS Excellence award and a nominee for the Australian Award for University teaching. She has completed a project examining issues in assessment and online learning and completing research into adolescents' use of interactive imagery. She is undertaking a major project on the impact of creativity on 'at risk' learners.

  • Creative learning
  • Critical thinking
  • Community of learners
  • Significant experiences

(30 min Conference Paper, English)