Kerry Freedman, professor and head of the Art Education division in the NIU School of Art, recently was awarded a grant from the National Art Education Foundation to continue her work on the international project she is directing.
The title of the project is “Art Education and Visual Learning Networks: Lessons about Creativity and Cognition from Auto-Didactic Visual Culture Communities.”
Freedman’s project is an international research study of the auto-didactic and peer-teaching processes used by adolescents and young adults in visual culture communities to develop the visual and linguistic practices required to know, understand and create their own cultural practices within and around such forms.
She and the members of her research team are studying the artistic and social practices of adolescents and young adults who form themselves into groups, with little or no older adult influence, around a visual culture interest (such as manga, street art or computer games).
Within each of these groups, members teach and learn art knowledge from each other as well as produce their own unique versions of a visual culture form. Thus far, the project has involved 10 groups of students in five cities: Chicago, Amsterdam, Budapest, Helsinki and Hong Kong.
Based on the research results, applications will be developed to improve high school art teaching and undergraduate teacher education.