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  • Guest Editor

    Created 2011-12-01 by Orla Kelly

    Duration: 2011-12-01 to 2012-01-31

Project Outline


Collaboration is defined in today’s business speak as ‘a key operating concept’ and ‘the best path to innovation’. Traditionally the visual artists have been seen as operating alone and without collaboration; there exist no union of visual arts, perhaps for a multitude of reasons. In reality I would think that visual artists operate alone is a half truth, and although part of an artist’s work (to generalise) involves quiet action and contemplative time alone, many actions are in conjunction with another especially when it comes to the world of visual arts teaching or facilitation. Apart from prompting the thought of why don’t we have a visual arts teaching union at least, artists do collaborate and it becomes one of the many ways artists choose to operate especially in a community setting. When it comes to collaboration between artists and others, particularly other educators, there can be a number of communicative minefields including language, varying aims, misunderstandings when process and product are regarded, what constitutes quality, (I’m sure every artist has their story), and this can inhibit the work, tar the result and in many cases there is a measurable gap in understanding from each party which impedes true collaboration.

In early years collaborations I have found the measurable gap lies with a lack of a common language to speak about values. In speaking with many early childhood carers and educators there is a huge respect for artists but also a remove from the values of early years arts and creative engagements until they see them in action. There is a lack of understanding of the arts (to speak generally again) mainly because their field is childhood development and, in general, training does not involve the arts or inventive explorations of creativity.

My proposition is this; active cross collaborations of understanding between artists and early childhood care and education professionals with the aim of being more than the sum of our parts.

There are many arts practitioners who have a great store of early years arts experience whose practice would be greatly developed with early childhood development knowledge. At the same time, and perhaps to a much greater extent, there are early childhood care and education professionals whose practice would be enriched by an insight into the skills of the facilitator artist.

To this end, I am engaged in an exciting mentor programme which involves two early childcare workers in axis arts centre crèche and myself sharing skills. To me it is a fabulous opportunity to define my skills and succinctly capture important elements of creative engagements, while learning developmental pedagogy with early years. For the crèche workers, they are delighted to be able to have an artist to help them employ creative means to develop their pedagogical skills. Very much a creative win-win; the best path to innovation. 


Project Details

  • From date: 2011-12-01
  • To date: 2012-01-31

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