My Research Life through Studies in Art Education: A Body of Work

By Zimmerman, Enid | Studies in Art Education, Fall 2005 | Go to article overview

My Research Life through Studies in Art Education: A Body of Work


Zimmerman, Enid, Studies in Art Education


The 2005 Studies in Art Education Invited Lecture

The Studies in Art Education Invited Lecture is presented at the annual meeting of the National An Education Association. Each year the presenter is elected by the Studies in An Education Editorial Board as a leading scholar in an education. This year, the lecture was presented by Professor Enid Zimmerman, Indiana University. Professor Zimmerman has published widely inside and outside of the field of an education on issues including feminist theory and history, artistically talented students, multicultural education, aesthetic education, as well as various other issues in an education curriculum.

Candace J. Stout, Senior Editor

When I was in high school, we were all required to take senior photographs and write some pithy comments to go along with our very staged looking countenances. I, at 16, was graduating from Music and An High School that later became the performing arts magnet school in Lincoln Center in New York City. The origin of the quotation that I submitted is unknown to me now many years later. It was: "One science shall one genius fit, so vast is art so narrow human wit." At the time, I was interested in becoming a medical doctor and concurrently was dedicated to art making and art history as lenses through which I could understand the world about me.

Throughout my academic career, I have dipped my feet into the river of art education and followed various currents that have meandered in a variety of directions. I find I always return to the heart of the river after experiencing a new adventure on one of its many tributaries. Traveling against the flow of the stream has always challenged me and has set the course for many quests I have sought in my art education research activities.

At this time in my career as an educator and researcher in the field of art education, the quotation about the vastness of art and the narrowness of human wit has garnered new meaning and could serve as a metaphor for the diverse subject matter that has captured my attention over the past two and a half decades. When I was completing my doctoral studies in the late 1970s, there were a number of rules in academia that were both implicit and explicit. As a professional educator, it was anticipated that a career path in a particular area would be followed, and there was no leeway to stray beyond its boundaries. Eclecticism was not in vogue, and studies that gained respect were experimental and quantitative. Partnering with others as co-authors, especially your spouse, was viewed as hampering a dedicated path on the road to tenure and promotion. Collaboration and cooperation with others were seen as weaknesses, not conducive to establishing an autonomous successful career. Integration of art education with other subjects was synonymous with diluting the clear waters of the discipline of art education.

Contributions to Art Education

Beginning in 1977, I made 19 different contributions to Studies in Art Education in the form of 12 research articles, two editorials as co-guest editor, a book review, responses to two articles, an introduction to a Studies Invited Lecture, and serving on the Editorial Advisory board when Karen Hamblen was senior editor. I would like to resurrect the dozen articles I contributed to Studies in Art Education and use them as exemplars of the changing nature of both research themes and methodologies that have been relevant to the field of art education over the past three decades. I want to challenge preconceived notions about what constitutes appropriate research agendas and how a body of research work should be considered in the same manner as a body of work produced by a visual or performing artist. In truth, I am creating this small narrative as an archeological dig into my own landscape of research and I hope what results are interconnections among my body of research that have potential to inspire others to judge this, and other, bodies of research knowledge. …

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