Big sky, deep roots : an aesthetic way of knowing the prairie landscape and the implications for conservation education
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SubjectA/R/Tography; aesthetics; arts-based research; conservation education; ethnography; prairie landscape artists
Through an inter-play between practicing prairie artists, their aesthetic way-of-knowing landscapes they inhabit, and the artwork they produce as a result, this research explored how an aesthetic pedagogic approach might enhance conservation education for a perishing prairie grassland. This was accomplished within ethno- and auto-ethnographical methods using phenomenological and arts-based approaches to capture a day-in-the-life of five artists and personal journal entries. A combination of narratives derived from semi-structured interviews, in-process and finished artwork and fieldnotes rounded out this body of research data. Purposefully, A/R/Tographic ideologies were embedded in the auto-ethnographical portion to investigate how my own Artist/Researcher/Teacher experiences have influenced my art- and meaning-making. From this analysis, it became evident that perhaps the artist’s stories and their art-making generate a more aesthetic pedagogical possibility for environmental education and communication.
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