a/r/t + design: one designer’s experience as a/r/tographer

Author Identifiers

Alison Blackwell
ORCID: 0000-0002-4560-7282

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Education


Master of Education

First Advisor

Associate Professor Geoffrey Lummis

Second Advisor

Professor Clive Barstow

Third Advisor

Dr Julia Morris


This research explored the identities of teacher as practitioner in arts and education based research. A creative inquiry process investigated the roles of artist, researcher, teacher (a/r/t) and designer (+ design) and how they are negotiated in and through practice. This multi-modal approach linked reflective analysis with the creative practice of a visual artist and commercial designer to uncover the ideal conditions for creativity, discovering that a/r/t + design roles are not clearly defined or easily labelled. The liminal spaces and interstices are highlighted, but so too is the transformative potential afforded by connecting creative practice into opportunities for secondary visual arts education.

An autoethnographic and a/r/tographic approach reflected on my personal and professional creative experiences. Connections made within, through and for my practice were revealed as essential for continued growth and a greater knowing of self. This engagement in self-knowing or process of becoming in critical autoethnography shows us ways of embodying change (Jones, 2016). My practice informed my teaching, highlighting the importance of making connections across current learning area divides for improved innovation in secondary education contexts. This research presented a layered web of relationships, extending into the lives of my students and offered insight into greater connection between theory and practice in art education. Connected learning encouraged my students to transfer their knowledge between siloed Arts and Technologies learning areas, helping to nurture our future innovators.

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