Studies in Art Education Submissions

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Orientations, Dispositions, and Stances in Art Education Research and Scholarship

Interest in the study and practice of research has a long history in Studies in Art Education. The very first issue of Studies in 1959 was devoted to understanding research and its nature, practice, and implications for the field (Stankiewicz, 2015). While interest and curiosity about research in the field have increased and diversified since that first issue of Studies 60 years ago, research in art education has never been as visible as it is today.

Many intentional acts seem to have contributed to the increased visibility (even centrality) of research in the field at this time. In 2012, the National Art Education Association (NAEA) launched the NAEA Research Commission, which seeks to “meet the ongoing research needs of the visual arts education field” (National Art Education Association Research Commission, 2019). Two years later, the Art Education Research Institute (AERI) was founded to create conditions for the study and advancement of theoretical and empirical research that seeks to address critical intellectual and practical issues in the field. The NAEA Research Commission and AERI have actively pursued their distinctive agendas, offering support and forums to discuss, debate, and share research outcomes. Other events and groups within the field, however, have also created conditions for critical engagement with the practice of research. For instance, in 2015, Brushes With History: Imagination and Innovation in Art Education History, a 4-day conference held at Teachers College, Columbia University in New York, focused on the nature and processes of doing historical research. Between 2015 and 2018, the Council for Policy Studies in Art Education organized its meetings around three research-focused themes: Field Work in Art Education, Shifting Concepts in Art Education, and Art Education and the Precarious Present. Several editorials published in Studies under the editorship of Mary Ann Stankiewicz (2015–2017) featured discussions of research, probing the why and the how of research practice. Under Senior Editor B. Stephen Carpenter II (2017– 2019), the first of two special theme issues of Studies, In the Shadow of Change: Ideologies and Methodologies in Art Education, sought to examine the “ideologies that motivate and inform research in art education and the methodologies art education scholars use in their research to construct new knowledge” (Carpenter, 2017).

Much discourse, energy, and activity fostered in recent years have focused on how research can improve practice and expand what is known about the nature and reach of art education as it is engaged in different places, contexts, and educational sites. With a focus on what research can do, these activities tend to prioritize and value research’s future-orientated potential, a “doing for and towards the future” (Muñoz, 2009, p. 1). In other words, a “doing for and towards the future” might be understood as an intentional focus on research that has the promise to inform policy, improve teaching and learning practices, advance additional understandings of things assumed already understood, argue for positions not previously contemplated, and cultivate new ways of thinking about the nature of art education. As a result, much of what is said and written about research in art education today has a pragmatic focus, and sometimes it exhibits instrumentalist undertones.

This special theme issue of Studies in Art Education, Orientations, Dispositions, and Stances in Art Education Research and Scholarship, invites a slightly different engagement with research practice and thought.

Structured around three concepts—orientations, dispositions, and stances—it invites contributors to think about what they are doing when they conceptualize, plan, and pursue inquiry and share research outcomes. The hope is that these three concepts will provoke and encourage thought and questions such as the following: What do researchers turn toward and turn away from when they engage in their research studies? What dispositions of inquiry do researchers adopt and advance in pursuit of their scholarship? What stances do researchers take toward phenomena of interest?

When thinking about the concept of orientation, perhaps the work of Sara Ahmed is instructive. Ahmed (2006) suggested that the way in which a person turns to the world matters for what they come to see and experience in it. How a person orientates to the things that interest them, and to which their interest is drawn, shapes what can be known and said about such things. Thus, it could be suggested that the orientations scholars take up shape what they come to see and experience in and through their research inquiries. Scholars also turn toward things and ideas with others. What they come to see and understand is influenced by whom they turn with; with whom they think with contributes in large part to what they can imagine or make possible.

Like orientations, the ways in which scholars make sense of the world are shaped by the dispositions they carry with them or adopt when they are called to make sense of what they encounter. A disposition within a research context might be understood as the way in which scholars take notice when doing intellectual work. A disposition might also be understood as the way in which scholars attend to and entertain phenomena of interest, spend their time with those phenomena, and come to understand what they believe they perceive. Further, new dispositions are oftentimes cultivated in the practice of doing research.

Finally, the concept of stance as it shows up and is enacted in research practice might be understood as the positions that scholars take up and assume in relation to their research objects, subjects, curiosities, desires, and inclinations. Stance might be disclosed and materialized in and through the judgments scholars make.

Thus, this special theme issue, structured around these three concepts—orientations, dispositions, and stances—seeks to create a space to nurture, extend, and complicate the ways we, as scholars and researchers, have thought and talked about research in art education in the recent past. This theme issue also seeks to do something with what we have inherited from these research discourses and to think with them by introducing other concepts, possibilities, and potentialities for art education.

Submissions are due October 15, 2019. Should you wish to submit your manuscript sooner, in your submission, please identify that you are submitting it for consideration for this special issue. All submissions for this special issue should follow the established submission guidelines for the journal

References Ahmed, S. (2006). Queer phenomenology: Orientations, objects, others. Durham, NC: Duke University Press.

Carpenter, B.S., II. (2017). Call for articles, commentaries, and media reviews—A special theme issue of Studies in Art Education. Retrieved from commentaries-and-media-reviews-a-special-theme-issue-of-studies-in-art-education

Muñoz, J.E. (2009).* Cruising utopia: The then and there of queer futurity*. New York, NY: New York University Press. National Art Education Association Research Commission. (2019). Research agenda. Retrieved from Stankiewicz, M. A. (2015). Why research in art education? [Editorial]. Studies in Art Education, 57(1), 3–5.

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