This practice-led research aims to capture the experiences of primary school art teachers and teacher aides in order to gain insights into the current role and ‘value’ of Visual Arts within the primary arts curriculum in rural Queensland. Drawing on ten years of experience as a teaching artist in the Southern Downs, Queensland, this research will address the marginalisation of Visual Arts curriculum within the primary school educational experience and its impact on the role and identity/ies of a generalist primary school teacher and their art pedagogy.
I will foreground primary school teachers and teacher aides through the creation of a series of educator drawings as means of giving visibility to these educators and raising a greater awareness of the professional challenges that they face daily. I will do this by providing a new contribution to portrait methodology (Lawrence-Lightfoot, 1983), where in addition to the conventional use of written portraits (narratives), I will incorporate visual portraits in the form of life-like drawings of my fellow arts educators as a means of capturing the visual narratives of primary art teachers.
This self-developed methodological iteration, that I refer to as ‘visual portraiture’, considers a contemporary exploration of hyperrealist practices through portraits of educators and their collaborative engagement with the researcher during the project.
This methodological approach aims to give greater visibility to the art educators and their narratives. In particular, I envisage my portraits to prompt notions of the ‘unfamiliar’ (Mäkelä, et.al, 2011) and the ‘uncanny’ (Freud, 1976; Morris, 2019) as a way of enticing the viewer to engage more deeply with the work and to reconsider the assumed representations of the primary educational sector. It is anticipated that this pilot study will also highlight relevant contextual factors that impact educators and their ability to deliver quality Visual Arts education in rural Queensland