Seija Tuupanen, M.A. (art and design)


Art and the Artist’s Self within the Narrative Identity of a Visual Art Teacher. A Biographical Study on the Building of Teachership in the Contexts of Art and Education of Art.

I employ biographical material to study how teachers of art build their identity in stories describing their own lives and what type of meanings the artist’s self and art receive in them. I examine the building of the identity of the visual art teacher from the perspective of gender and as a personal and social identity project in the contexts of art education and art.

The first part of my research material consists of biographies written by visual art teachers in Lapland  . The second part covers the actual narrative-biographical interviews, and the last part focuses on a common seminar-type discussion between the persons involved in the study. The reminiscing complements the material that I gathered through other means; it provides a shared conceptualization process between the persons involved in the study.

Narrativeness appears multilayered in my study: The life stories of the studied persons intertwine with the theoretical narratives written by female researchers. They also intertwine with other model stories of art, research on teachership, art education and other fields of science. As I proceed with the study I also produce my own visual art teacher’s narrative.

I argue for the necessity of the study from the theoretical, methodological and practical perspectives. When finished, it is of general significance with regard to the theory-building of art education, school’s visual art teaching, and the development of visual art teachers’ basic and continuing education. At the individual level its significance lies in the cognition of the narrative identity of visual art teachers and in the building of personal narratives of the visual art teachers under my study.

Central concepts: art education, art, teachership in visual art, women’s research, biographical research, narrativeness, identity and change