Indian Art and Design Educators Association Hosts a Conference on Art Integrated Learning

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The Indian Art and Design Educators Association (IADEA)

The Indian Art and Design Educators Association (IADEA) hosted its second annual conference in New Delhi today. The theme of the two-day conference was Art Integrated Learning – a cross disciplinary approach to learning art where art is seen as a facilitator for overall learning. 

The theme was created specifically to bring together stakeholders from across the education and art ecosystem who are passionate about making art an important learning tool in school-based education to facilitate lateral thinking, process orientation, problem solving, risk taking and individual creativity thereby fostering key life-skills that are essential for survival in the modern world.

Announcing the workshop, Ms. Sara Vetteth, Founder IADEA said, “Art Integrated Learning is a highly acclaimed and holistic model of teaching-learning that integrates art with the mainstream school curriculum to help educators and teachers create a better classroom environment and improve both teaching and learning standards. How does art relate to language, science and maths? We want to change the way art is perceived and introduce the idea of art as a facilitator for cross disciplinary thought and learning. It is a great way to teach life skills, risk-taking, process oriented and design thinking. I am delighted to see so many participants that are eagerly learning and sharing their own experiences. We hope some of our ideas manage to influence inclusive and integrated teaching-learning methods in the future.” 

The two-day conference included workshops and seminars and was attended by 150 teachers, art educators from 28 cities across India and 12 non-profits working in the art and education domains from across the country as well as a few keynote international speakers. Senior education consultants and experts as well as academic coordinators and school administrators keen to enable a greater integration of art within the school curriculum were also present at the conference. Both global and national experts from the art and education world shared their views and experiential learning on Art Integrated Learning highlighting the need for equal partnerships in teaching and learning rather than a top down didactical approach.

In his keynote session, noted global leader in designing visual arts curriculum, Dr. Nigel Meager, Associate of King’s College, Cambridge, UK said, “I have found in studying the work of 40 art educators across the globe that the emphasis in  the postmodernist era is on individual freedom and expression rather than skill. The skill component which used to be emphasized two decades ago ranks rather low in deciding what qualifies as art.”

Ms. Jenny Hong Kim, is a noted school art educator at the School of Graduate Studies, Art Institute of Chicago and University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. She now lives and works in South Korea and her India visit was sponsored by the INKO Centre. She said, “Rather than the old view of inspiration as an A-ha moment which digs into the subconscious, recent neuroscientific and scientific studies demonstrate that creativity is not momentary but it is developed through specific thinking routines and thinking dispositions.”

Maya Thiagarajan, Founder Director of Tree Learning and English Teacher for over 18 years conducted a highly interactive session on the use of metaphors in language and art. Using both visual and language imagery, she gave the audience an experiential insight into how to encourage creative thinking in terms of  ‘See- Think- Observe’.

Shilpa Gupta, an independent Mumbai-based artist who’s showcasing two installations currently at the Venice Biennale shared insights on the process of creating an art work. The participants were also given cards with poems selected from the works of 100 jailed poets and asked to respond to them.

Other sessions at the conference included a panel discussion titled ‘Creativity Unlimited’ featured three panelists who discussed how to maximize creativity on a minimum budget. The panelists were Arundhati Ghosh (Executive Director, India Foundation for Arts), Blaise Joseph (Director of Art by Children Programme at the Kochi Biennale Foundation) and Sriram Ayer (Founder, Nalanda Way Foundation).

The conference also included a walk-through of the latest exhibition at the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art (KNMA) of five modern masters from Bengal, with an introduction by Roobina Karode, Director and Chief Curator, KNMA. 

A Round Table for leaders of non-profits working in Art Education, especially those who are bringing art education to government, municipal and tribal schools was also conducted. Organisations participating in the round table included Plan India, Teach for India, Nalanda Way, Caring with Colour, CMCA, Art By Children at the Kochi Biennale Foundation, Kathik, Learning Matters, ArtReach India, Slam Out Loud and India Foundation for the Arts. Together these organisations bring art to hundreds of thousands of children across Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Rajasthan, UP, Kerala, Maharashtra, Delhi, Bihar and other parts of the country.

The day ended with a guided walk around some key monuments at Delhi’s historic Lodhi Gardens with an introduction to the influences in Mughal architecture.

The event concluded with the much awaited 2019 Camlin Art Teacher Excellence Awards that celebrated the inventiveness, creativity, and passion of art teachers. The award-winning projects are now online as resource material for all teachers to refer to and use. The 7 award categories that included both a winner and runner-up were:

  • Innovation in the Art Room
  • Best use of Elements of Art
  • Promoting Artistic Process
  • Collaboration in the Art Room
  • Art Teaching Techniques
  • Instilling Creative Confidence
  • Art Projects for Children with Special Needs

Here is the full list of winners:

  1. Art for Social Change
    Winner – Diana Sathish, KC High International School, Chennai Runner up – Amrutha Anand, ApL Global School, Chennai 
  2. Art Teaching Techniques
    Winner – Pragati Pramod, Somaiya School, Mumbai Runner Up – Amal Krishna Paul, Shiv Nadar School, Faridabad 
  3. Best Use of Elements of Art 
    Winner – Amrutha Anand, ApL Global School, Chennai Runner up – Vidhi Sharma, Shiv Nadar School, Faridabad 
  4. Collaboration in the Art Room 
    Winner – Ashwini Rajeev Rudrakshi, The Orchid School, Baner, Pune Runner Up – Raghunath Jena, Vidhya Gyan School, Noida 
  5. Innovation in the Art Room 
    Winner – Amala Aiana, Deepa Shankar and Nivedha Leoni, Sishya School, Chennai Runner up – Rajashree Gupta, Kiran Nadar Museum, Delhi 
  6. Instilling Creative Confidence 
    Winner – Manisha Lal, Shiv Nadar School, Gurugram Runner up – Mandhakini Mathur, Devrai Art Village, Pachgani 
  7. Promoting Artistic Process 
    Winner – Vidhi Sharma, Shiv Nadar School, Faridabad Runner up – Pankaj Patil, Somaiya School, Mumbai 

The annual conference was an initiative of the RainbowFish Education Trust and its key partners were Sundaram Finance as Patron and Camlin as Awards Partner along with support by the India International Centre (IIC). Knowledge partners for the event were the Foundation for Indian Contemporary Art, India Foundation for the Arts, InKo Centre, the Kiran Nadar Museum of Art, the Piramal Museum of Art, Nalandaway Foundation, Pomegranate Workshop, Art1st, ArtReach India, Centre for Teacher Accreditation, RainbowFish Studio and Tree Learning.

About IADEA:- The Indian Art and Design Educators Association aims to provide support, direction and advocacy for quality Visual Arts education. A first of its kind initiative in India, it is created to empower Art Educators to become leaders, encourage innovation, research and reform. In addition to hosting its flagship annual Art Conference, IADEA engages with members online through its website, blog, Instagram and monthly newsletters. Over the course of 2018-2019, it has hosted 6 regional professional development workshops for art educators in Chennai, Mumbai, Delhi and Kochi each of which was attended by 30 to 40 participants. Its flagship event is the Annual Conference. It will move each year between major metros to make it easier for local teachers to attend.