Teacher Artmaker Project

Term: 1 Year: 2018

The Teacher Artmaker Project (TAP) began in 2010 as a longitudinal study of the graduating cohorts of visual arts teachers from the Melbourne Graduate school of Education, University of Melbourne, following them through their critical early years of teaching. 
The project was initiated by Associate Professor Wes Imms, who supported a group of artist teachers to maintain their art practice through an intervention that took the form of the annual TAP exhibition. The exhibitors and non-exhibitors have their perceptions of teaching effectiveness and retention in the profession tracked over time through a repeated measures survey. The annual report of the analysis of this data is published in the TAP exhibition catalogue along with artist statements, curatorial essays and images of artworks. A small amount of qualitative analysis from the project has also been published in the Journal of Artistic and Creative Education. 

In 2016, the project team received seed funding from the Melbourne Education Research Institute to extend the initial work of TAP which was, up until this point, nested in the visual arts. The aim was to inform a wider conversation about teachers becoming active practitioners across practice-based disciplines – such as science and eco-education. This caused a significant shift in the project, prompting an equally significant name-change from Teacher Artmaker Project (TAP) to Teacher As Practitioner (TAP2). This shift also saw a changing of the guard on the research team – with a greater diversity of personnel coming to the table, bringing with them fresh insights and a range of research skills and interests.

The ‘shift’ was accompanied by an expansion of TAP2 research activities: now extending to an annual Symposium (this year was Practice, Pedagogy, Praxis) and TAPFringe. Recruitment of TAP2 research participants has expanded to include MTeach science graduates and visual art undergraduates from Edith Cowan University, our partner institution. The rapidly growing ‘Community of Practitioners’ attached to TAP and TAPFringe is currently comprised of arts, science and eco-pedagogy practitioners and educational researchers working with practice-based and practice-led methods.

The 2017 TAP exhibition is an amalgamation of creative works by science and art practitioners, exploring the idea of ebb and flow. In its literal sense, this term refers to recurrent patterns of coming and going, decline and regrowth. In many ways, one’s practice as a teacher, an artist, a scientist, or a combination of all of these things, brings with it a sense of push and pull as one strives to maintain one’s practitioner practice in partnership with quality teaching; each necessary for the enrichment of the other. As artists and scientists may simultaneously act as students and teachers, as well as innovators and inventors, they traverse many different ‘worlds’ within their daily life. The exhibition aims to explore this through the notion of ebb and flow as enacted within a contemporary, multi-layered life. The works contributed showcase the product of creative and/or scientific practices, the coming and goings of inspiration, and the process of becoming ‘practitioner’ within all the complexities of the term.

In 2018 the exhibition and symposium program will continue to open up, as we more closely intertwine TAPFringe for visual arts and design, multi species eco practitioners and science practitioner teachers outside of the research cohort. The theme for the annual exhibition and symposium will be COMMUNITY: becoming with.

If you are interested in TAP, exhibiting in TAPFringe or the 2018 Symposium please join us in our Facebook community or feel free to email Dr Kathryn Coleman kathryn.coleman@unimelb.edu.au