Innovator Projects

2021- 2022 Innovators:

Non-Verbal Teaching Artistry

Led by Becky Baumwoll (USA)

Becky’s Think Tank, and subsequent working group, will focus on the use of non-verbal Teaching Artistry.
Her Think Tank theme will be: Physical Story, Modern Mime, and Teaching Beyond Words, and will be an entirely nonverbal session. As a group, participants will be invited to view slides and share written reflections, but the bulk of the session will be a playful exploration in gesture, facial expression, and nonverbal games.

The key topics covered will include:
1. What are the superpowers of physical storytelling?
2. What tools and strategies do we have for teaching beyond spoken language?
3. What can we learn from our students when we remove words, and what can we gain from the group culture that emerges?

In the follow-up working group, Becky will invite participants to join her in collectively developing and creating a suite of resources for nonverbal Teaching Artistry, and exploring how word-free engagement can be applied much more widely, in various art forms. This suite of resources will act as a practical guide, as well as include theory, history, and narrative surrounding the many implications and impacts of nonverbal storytelling.

The goal is for this resource to address the need for:
- engaging nonverbal students, teaching inclusively to different language backgrounds,
- creating ensemble culture in all art forms,
- even within verbal programs, and integrating accessible embodied learning.

Teaching Artistry For Community Building And Healing

Peter Atsu Adaletey (Ghana)

Peter’s Think Tank will focus on Teaching Artistry for community building and healing.

His Think Tank theme will be: Teaching Artists as arts emergency surgeons for community healing and empowerment.

‍Peter will invite participants to share the challenges facing their own local communities, while sharing his own stories and experiences. Collectively, the session will discuss the role the arts can have, led by Teaching Artists, in addressing these challenges and how communities can be effectively engaged at local levels.
The follow-up working group will aim to include people from a wide variety of local communities (from all over the world), that are facing their own unique challenges. What do we have in common? What is context specific? What can we learn from each other to help us address these issues?
This project will challenge working group members to identify other Teaching Artists within their local communities and begin to map ways in which they might effectively engage community members in creative change-making. The group will work together to support, and provide insights into, the ways in which the arts could be utilised to address their identified challenges. Participants will be encouraged to pilot community engagement methods, report back, and identify the approaches which have worked best in their own contexts.
The intended outcome of this project is the creation of small, local, community-engaged TA cohorts. The process by which these are built will be documented and made available online as a ‘how to’ guide for other TAs seeking to build and mobilise local community collectives.

Empowering Teaching Artists To Become Leaders

In Creating Cross-Disciplinary STEAM Partnerships

Jeff Mather (USA)

Jeff’s Think Tank will focus on empowering Teaching Artists to become leaders in creating cross-disciplinary STEAM partnerships.

Jeff’s Think Tank session will be participatory and collaborative, with participants reflecting on their own partnership experiences, creating ‘action steps’ and taking part in peer responses. The goal for this session is to empower more TAs around the world to take the lead in creating new, innovative partnerships which can enhance their work, and to advance the presence and effectiveness of STEAM programs.

The follow-up working group will be invited to join together and consider the following:
Historically, Teaching Artists have been expected to wait for educators and administrators to initiate partnerships and residencies with their goals established. But as professional creatives we can "flip" this arrangement to create more powerful and innovative projects and programs. Like a theater set designer designing a set before there is a script. What happens when Teaching Artists "go first" and convene a meeting of potential stakeholders, and allow the sparks to fly?

This working group will pilot, document and report back the ways in which Teaching Artists can become leaders in establishing unusual or unconventional partnerships. What worked? What didn’t? How can others do the same?
The format of the culminating resource will depend on the group’s preference, but it will be made freely available online via the ITAC website with a view toward encouraging more TAs to be bold in their approaches to cross-disciplinary work.

Using Teaching Artistry To Explore Future Literacy, Future Fluency, Future Competency And Future Consciousness

Sudebi Thakurata (India)

‍Sudebi’s Think Tank will focus on using Teaching Artistry to explore Future Literacy, Future Fluency, Future Competency and Future Consciousness.

Her Think Tank theme will be: What does future competency mean in the arts and creative sectors and in social, cultural or ecological impact spaces? How can these two come together in forms of creative collaborations which allow Teaching Artists, future creative practitioners and communities to be future-ready and more future conscious?

The session, called 'WHAT IF,' will engage participants in exploring what skills and competencies we should be equipping people with now, to ensure they are ready for the future. With constantly evolving skills, changing contexts and new kinds of knowledge and wisdom required, what is the role of TAs in supporting them effectively? How can we make sure we are preparing the future practitioners with capabilities of the future and not those of the past?
This session will examine the role of TAs, and the challenges/barriers which are present, in relation to future-literacy building in creative ways. Her work will be supported by her trans-disciplinary design collective D.epicentre. The follow-up working group will be invited to build a framework for a future literacy, fluency, competency and consciousness curriculum that can be widely used by Teaching Artists in different contexts. The design-led process will facilitate the generation of new ideas, new theories and new wisdom, built upon existing knowledge and newer partnerships too. Sudebi hopes to capture the processes and perspectives from the working group in a sharable guide that can act as a living document others can learn from. This may be a collective making of a multi-layered book or a simple website or some games/simulations that can be played by arts/creative practitioners in different contexts - the form being determined by the working group.

Mental Health And Wellbeing, And The Role Of Teaching Artistry

Yvonne Wyroslawska (UK)

Yvonne’s Think Tank will focus on mental health and wellbeing, and the role of Teaching Artistry.
The Think Tank will focus on the role of the Teaching Artist in supporting mental health and wellbeing within the various cohorts and communities we work in. What are we currently doing well? What could we do better? What training needs to be in place for Teaching Artists to feel enabled, informed and supported in this work?
This online session will look at existing research that supports creative arts practice for mental health and wellbeing, and will draw a clear boundary between the work of trained therapists and the work of Teaching Artists. Small group exercises will be used to create dialogue between participants and encourage them to think about the ways in which Teaching Artists can use their skills to benefit mental health and wellbeing. Participants will explore the benefits - and disadvantages - being a Teaching Artist can have on our own mental wellbeing. This session will use a variety of presentation, discussion, and digital resources to provoke participants' thinking on the subject and to gather evidence as to 'where are we now?' in our thinking around mental health and wellbeing as a Teaching Artist community.

The follow-up working group will collaborate and discuss where the current resources and gaps exist in supporting TA mental health and wellbeing (both in ourselves and our participants). The group will collectively determine the way in which they choose to work, but it is likely they will focus on:
- working to establish a code of effective and ethical practice for Teaching Artists with regards to mental health and wellbeing,
- collating existing resources in this area for use by Teaching Artists,
- identifying areas which require further input/research/professional development opportunities, with a view to then developing these opportunities by identifying individuals or organisations who can produce them, and/or securing funding with which to do so.

With mental health problems affecting 1/4 of our population (at least!), and these rates increasing due to COVID, it is timely that Teaching Artists bring this to the forefront.

The outcome of this project will depend on what the group feels is best, but is likely to be something like the creation of a webpage which would allow us to host a code of practice/charter for Teaching Artists with regards to mental health and wellbeing, as well as being an easy-access page for existing resources in this area and for hosting newly developed resources or training opportunities.