A curriculum founded on lived experiences … two worlds collide!

Detail from cover of Water in a Dryland - Somerville (2013)

In chapter eight of Art, Artists and Pedagogy David R. Cole and Margaret Somerville, consider parallels between Deleuze and Alfred Whitehead (1861–1937). In doing so they reference the context of an Australian Aboriginal perspective and the restrictive curriculum that diminishes the Aboriginal culture.

Throughout the chapter Cole and Somerville employ Deleuze and a ‘flat ontology’ or where we might consider forces of underlying human and non-human identities as relational. That is however without creating a hierarchy, where we, as educators are obliged to look for ‘real experience’, as text, or the ‘world as it is lived’. In exemplifying this concept in an Aboriginal context this ontology might also be termed ‘immanent materialism’.

Cole and Somerville relate the story of Chrissiejoy Marshall, and provide an in-depth account of how she undertook her PhD. This offers a profound account of how a recognition of Country becomes Chrissiejoy’s methodology. We find not a slavish justification from other knowledge, but a description of Aboriginal ancestral rites and spirituality in that connection of place, that leads to a series of paintings that becomes Chrissiejoy’s thesis.

This chapter explains how an Aboriginal Australian might embark on a sophisticated enquiry true to her own cultural process, with linkages to the significance of the encounter between two, very different worlds and spiritual outlooks.

Art, Artists and Pedagogy (Edited by Naughton, Biesta and Cole) is published by Routledge.

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