Publication Date: June 8, 2018
This is the first comprehensive book to connect art education to material culture—an evolving pedagogy about the meaning of “things” in the lives of children, youth, and adults. Written by luminaries in the field, this resource explores a range of objects exemplifying material culture, defined as “the human-formed objects, spaces, and expressions that make up our world and are frequently the articles we construct and/or possess for the purpose of personal memory making and the shaping of individual or group identity.” Through activities, approaches, and examples, Blandy and Bolin highlight concrete strategies for incorporating material culture into higher education and K–16 classrooms, as well as museum and community settings. Chapters are organized around various aspects of material culture, including object study, the role of technology, and multisensory art. This accessible book will serve as an informational resource, instructional guide, and motivational catalyst for art educators interested in using material culture in their unique context.
Doug Blandy is a professor of cultural leadership in the School of Planning, Public Policy, and Management and core faculty in folklore and public culture at the University of Oregon. Paul E. Bolin is a professor of art education and visual art studies at The University of Texas at Austin.
“…a foundational guide to the confluence of art education and the material culture of our daily lives. An introductory resource for pre-service students and art educators alike, this well-organized volume smoothly articulates the narratives, theories, and potentialities for praxis in an ever-expanding field… In Learning Things, Bolin and Blandy have made an inspiring contribution to this progress by underscoring the enormous potential of a material culture perspective in art education.” ―Teachers College Record
“In the field of art education, Blandy and Bolin have led the way in thinking about the importance of material culture. Learning Things offers art education scholars, researchers, and teachers a resource abounding in lucid insights into how everyday objects impact teaching and learning in art. I am certain this book will quickly become a foundational text in our field.”
—Juan Carlos Castro, chair, NAEA Research Commission
“ Learning Things is for anyone who collects, researches, teaches, or simply delights in the human-formed objects in our world. It takes readers on a comprehensive and fascinating journey into the myriad ways we are impacted by the multisensory nature of material culture, or as the authors note, “the material of a culture.” Filled with excellent examples and teaching strategies, this book brings to life the interdisciplinary stories objects hold and the ways we can use them in research and teaching.”
—Deborah L. Smith- Shank, The Ohio State University
“In this intimate and educative book, Doug Blandy and Paul Bolin invite us to consider how things come into appearance and take form in the uses to which they are put. Through the stories they tell, the pedagogical practices they share, and the many questions they pose, Blandy and Bolin reveal how things animate thought and action. If you have ever wondered how we find and lose ourselves in the things that we create, collect, or carry with us when we venture into the world, then, this book is for you.”
— Dónal O’Donoghue, The University of British Columbia
Tentative Table of Contents
Why Material Culture?
Chapter 1. Introduction: What is Material Culture? Some Keys to Understanding Material Culture and This Book
What Is Material Culture?
What Is Not Material Culture?
A Confluence Between Material Culture and Art Education
Key Ideas for Engaging this Book
Chapter 2. Objects and the Stories of Our Lives
Chapter 3. Collecting and Collections
Objects of Passion
Beyond the Visual
Collectors and Collecting on the World Wide Web (WWW)
Collecting in the Midst of Catastrophe and Grief
Chapter 4. Material Culture: Investigations Spanning Time, People, and Location
Chapter 5. Technology and Material Culture
A Systems Approach to Technology
Technology and Narrative
The Biography of Things
Video Games and Virtual Environments
Chapter 6. Multisensory Art, Artists, and Art Education
Superiority Given the Visual
Multisensory Art and Artists
Brief Discussion of 10 Artists/Artistic Teams with Work that Transcends the Visual
Additional Multisensory Artists/Curators, Virtual/Physical Sites, and Events/Exhibitions Readers are Urged to Explore
Multisensory Art and Art Education
Chapter 7. Strategies and Approaches for Teaching About and Studying Material Culture
Ten Instructional Strategies to Use with Students
Ten Approaches to Material Culture Study
Selected Books Relating to Material Culture, with Interest Toward Art Education
About the Authors