Vision Series Lecturer Looks at Learning in Studios

Posted: March 21, 2011 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: March 18, 2011 at 12:20 pm

Kim Sheridan. Creative Services photo

In studios, assistant professor Kim Sheridan has found, people learn to become observant, to stretch and explore beyond their initial conceptions and capacities, envision possibilities and develop the craft to implement their ideas.

In a Vision Series lecture on Monday, March 28, Sheridan will discuss the kinds of skills, knowledge and thinking dispositions people develop in open-ended studio environments.

Sheridan, who holds joint appointments in the College of Education and Human Development and the College of Visual and Performing Arts, will lecture on “Art, Science and Games: Learning in Studios” at 7 p.m. in the Center for the Arts Concert Hall on the Fairfax Campus.

Drawing on perspectives of learning from cognitive science, educational psychology and her research on visual arts studios, art and science integration projects and computer game design labs, Sheridan will argue for the role of studios in education as a place where students can innovate, collaborate and spend at least some of their school day using what they learn to make their ideas real.

Whether working with traditional art media, industrial materials or digital technologies, developing “studio thinking” is an important part of developing one’s creative potential, Sheridan believes.

Sheridan received a doctorate in human development and psychology from Harvard University’s Graduate School of Education.

She has done intensive qualitative studies of arts learning in studio classrooms, functional neuro-imaging research and field research on the contemporary visual arts in East Africa. She also used online surveys and interviews to study film fans who participate in discussion groups.

Using these diverse methods and approaches, Sheridan’s research focuses on creativity and higher-order thinking, and in particular on cognition and learning in the arts and media.

In addition to her research, Sheridan has been involved in professional development for teachers, and has taught courses at the Harvard University Project Zero Summer Institute and numerous professional development workshops.

Sheridan received a Fulbright research fellowship and a Spencer Foundation research training grant.

In the College of Education and Human Development, she teaches educational psychology courses in learning, cognition and motivation, research design and methods, and on learning and teaching in the arts and media.  In the School of Art, she teaches introductory courses to arts teaching and learning, issues and research in art education and learning and development in the arts.

Sheridan is currently co-principal investigator with Mason associate professor Kevin Clark on a National Science Foundation funded project, Game Design Through Mentoring and Collaboration, which involves a partnership with McKinley Technology High School in Washington, D.C.

Ticket information: Free tickets are required. Tickets are available online, at the Center for the Arts Ticket Office (open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.), and on the evening of the event.


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