‘Visual art activities & social inclusion in early-year settings’ Petra Vackova, OU research student

‘Visual art activities & social inclusion in early-year settings’ Petra Vackova, OU research student

PETRA VACKOVA: So I brought this
sketchbook because I think it really nicely illustrates
the kind of interaction that happens around art when adults
and children work with paint and with colours and the
way the body and the paint and the materials interact. In my research, I try
to understand processes of social inclusion
and exclusion around art making in
earlier settings that work with young
children, mostly Roma, in disadvantaged communities
in the Czech Republic. So I am an ethnographer,
which means that I am really interested
and curious about people and their culture. And I use ethnographic
methods to explore culture and people, which means
that I make video recordings. I do conversational interviews. I observe a lot in the field. The subject is important
to me because I believe that only
by understanding social inclusion, the
processes of social inclusion and exclusion, and really
learning from them, we can move towards
a more socially just early-years education
and, really, more democratic classrooms. I loved working with
children in the classrooms. And what I am inspired by is
how children relate and engage with new objects and materials. It is this very particular
physical and intimate relationship when a child
moves a blob of paint in front of them on a pallete. I love this page in particular
because of the different textures, the different colours,
and the way the adult mark, the mark of the parent,
interacts with the mark of the child, as well as
the nature of the paint and the colour and the
markers and the pencils. So they all interact and make
this really beautiful and rich tapestry. As a PhD student, you
come across this idea that PhD is a lonely
journey and is difficult as a lonely journey. And I really think
that it should not be. And I really think that
the university plays a really central role in that. And to that end, I
have been very lucky because I have a strong
team of supervisors, really caring and affectionate
group of co-workers, and also very supportive staff that
aid me in my PhD journey, and without whom
I really believe it would be very difficult
to finish, if not impossible.

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