Make Yourself at Home, is a pedagogical project that distinguishes students as experts by experience in their own specific artist residency (their home). The readymades of the home environment are accessible and relatable. Rather than making something new, the surroundings of home are inherently one’s own and therefore bespoke and culturally specific. The home as studio also develops professional correspondences for art psychotherapy trainees, who consider their life materials to be relevant for reflecting upon their clinical practicums. Their use of subjectivity informs their capacity to professionally formulate alliances to the home stories of their clients.
This article also highlights sustainability through the use of found and repurposed art materials. It illustrates social inclusion through materiality, in terms of each student utilising the materials that best represent their specific identities. In this capacity the article also contributes towards UN Sustainable Development Goals related to wellbeing, reduced inequalities, and responsible consumption (United Nations, 2015). Student curated home displays are autobiographical experiences, relating to the comfort of home (Miller 2008) and a range of personal contexts, memories and associations. As an expression of responsible consumption and production, making with belongings reduces dependence on bought materials and the potential of excess waste.
Purchased art materials are prevalent and persuasive within art education and add to the burden of both student financial expense and unnecessary consumption. Art production, with materials that align with a student’s identity choices, enhance inclusion by supporting a learner’s representation. Personalised materials can be found at home that support a form of material equity—each student accessing what expresses their best interests. In this model, the educator doesn’t assign the materials of use, but rather encourages learners to find their creative resources with what they already possess
Pamela Whitaker is a lecturer in art psychotherapy at the Belfast School of Art, Ulster University. She encourages the curation of personal possessions as both a pedagogical and therapeutic approach to creating with what is at hand. She produces publications and events which endorse art therapy within festivals, outdoor environments and cultural venues as a form of public and engaged practice. She also facilitates creative health initiatives within galleries and museums and encourages the art of gatherings within community gardens.
Dr Christopher McHugh is Lecturer in Ceramics and Global Engagement Lead at Belfast School of Art, Ulster University, UK. His practice-led ceramics research explores the relationship between making and wellbeing, often focusing on archives, museum collections and communities.
- Art and Design Pedagogy
- Material Culture
- Art Therapy Pedagogy
- Art Therapy and Environment
- Ceramic Art
- Art and Design Higher Education