Collaborative printing project

Some of the most important resources available to a student are his or her classmates. Input from peers, especially in an art classroom, can be extremely helpful in generating ideas and creating personally fulfilling work. Depending on the mix of students in the class, individuals can sometimes feel insecure about sharing their thoughts and ideas with each other. This is where we, as instructors, can assist students by fostering an atmosphere of respect, and caring. When students feel safe enough to share with each other, they can begin to learn the interpersonal skills needed to create a “community of inquiry.”

Community of Inquiry:

“. . .assumes a process approach to learning in a socially dynamic context, where both internal and external dialogue is modeled and encouraged. In such a context, the teacher acts as a facilitator of inquiry, who aims at encouraging children to discuss, listen, clarify, and justify their thinking.”

Carter, Fern-Chantele. (2006). Developing Communities of Inquiry in the Secondary School Creative Arts Classroom. Thinking, 18(1), 40-46

A framework needs to be laid for students to begin thinking of each others differing backgrounds and perspectives as assets to learning/achieving rather than as barriers or inconveniences. Useful collaborative work requires group members to know a bit about each other, and interesting “ice-breakers,” can work to create a sense of familiarity within a classroom.

Here are just some of the millions of different ice-breakers designed to get students to talk to each other. Sample ice-breakers

How can we “Artify” some of these ice-breakers?

  • Students could choose an image from a stack and explain to a partner why it was chosen. Students could then introduce their partner through his/her image.
  • Students could form into small groups. Each student could contribute a personal object to the group “pile.” Group members then compose a narrative using the objects in the pile.
  • Students can introduce themselves by telling the class about an art related experience, or lack there of.

Some collaborative projects that may follow ice-breaking sessions could see students creating shared experiences through collective art-making.

Some ideas for collective art-making projects:

1. Drawing Circle: Students could form a “drawing circle,” in which each student begins a drawing, and then moves after a few minutes to work on another student’s drawing. This could be repeated multiple times until each student had worked on all of the drawings in the room. Students could then display the work and discuss their thoughts on the process.

2. Collaborative Painting: An area of the room could be set up so that students could use any left over paint from individual projects to create a collaborative painting. Over time, the painting surface could be replaced by the teacher and students could discuss the resulting series of work that emerges. Questions to ask might be: Who’s paintings are these? Can you identify anyone’s mark-making? Are there any reoccurring themes in this series? What value, if any, do you see in this process?

This idea can be extended to include other art media/disciplines. Donated “found objects”, photos, or left over clay could all be utilized in collaborative art-making.

3. Public Art Installations: Students could form themselves into groups and work towards developing work to be displayed around the school.

4. Community Art Exhibitions: Students work with each other to create art along a theme. They then organize an art exhibition outside of the school setting.

Any other ideas? Please post them.

Art Collectives:

Guerrilla Girls

Anti Gravity Surprise

The Cacophony Society

Volatile Works

General Idea

Group of Seven


“The climate of respect that is born of just, serious, humble, and generous relationships, in which both the authority of the teacher and the freedom of the student are ethically grounded, is what converts pedagogical space into authentic educational experience.”
(Paulo Friere, “Teaching is a Human Act”, 1998. p.86)


Trackbacks & Pingbacks


  1. * kvest says:

    I’ve also heard about a group based in Toronto called Press Pause. They all have individual practices, but they seem to share an “urban, graffiti inspired” aesthetic. Damned if I can find much information though. I found a link for a site: but it seems to be down at the moment.

    Posted 10 years, 11 months ago

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: