Art in service-learning : connecting art and community

Suk Mun, Sophia LAW

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Service learning is high-impact pedagogy that demands knowledge transfer into the community, connecting university students and society with great variety and vitality. It provides students with knowledge that is relevant and applicable to daily life, engaging them with real social issues to foster a vision larger than self-interest. With genuine critical reflection, the relevance and connection induces a learning experience that is personal and transformative. For art students, their subject knowledge allows them to see that art is about life and people, and most of all, art is a universal language that applies to all. There are increasingly more service-learning programs offered by faculties of art and design, architecture, urban design, and planning. More and more young adults adopt arts participation as a form of civic and social engagement.

This chapter will share how a service-learning research scheme (SLRS) is used in a visual studies program elective course at Lingnan University in Hong Kong. The course, Art and Well Being, examines the intrinsic nature of art and its impact on the well-being of individuals and communities. Theories taught in the course are not only applicable in real-world situations but also can only be envisaged by engaging students in genuine creativity. The SLRS creates a platform for students to reify how art can be used as a language to facilitate expression and communication in community settings. Three versions of the SLRS have been structured, executed, and revised since 2009. The outcomes have benefited all stakeholders, including students, service clients, and community partners. Significantly, the SLRS has had a more positive impact on students engaging with the community than would otherwise have been possible.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe SAGE Sourcebook of Service-Learning and Civic Engagement
EditorsOmobolade DELANO-ORIARAN, Marguerite W. PENICK-PARKS, Suzanne FONDRIE
Place of PublicationCalifornia
PublisherSage Reference
Number of pages8
ISBN (Print)9781452281919
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2015


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