Creativity as symbolic gift exchange between visual arts teachers and their senior school students

Year: 2001

Author: Thomas, Kerry

Type of paper: Abstract refereed

This paper reports on qualitative research undertaken over the last two years that investigates creativity as a kind of symbolic gift exchange between Visual Arts teachers and their senior students. This research takes into account the intentional presence of the teacher as a creative function in the student’s artworks. The research draws on the theory of Pierre Bourdieu who explains the notion of the 'project of the gift' within his theory of the habitus and symbolic capital.

The paper questions conventional views of creativity as fixed behaviours. It acknowledges the importance of the micro-contextual history underlying the functional transactions between the teacher, student and creative performances and how these performances are transformed by the intercession of new agencies over time.

Fieldwork involves observations and interviews with teachers and their students in the senior art classroom. Attention focuses on the transactions between the teachers and their students at moments of creative origination as students make artworks in their final year of schooling in Visual Arts. Transactions are conducted in the production of diverse art forms.

Observations and interviews are semantically analysed and emergent results interpreted.