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New book examines globalization, art and education

By Karen Shugart

Some books fill an unexplored niche in the curriculum. One East Carolina University professor hopes to create one.

Alice Arnold, associate professor of art education, co-edited the recently published “Globalization, Art, and Education,” a collection of essays about the phenomenon’s impact on creativity, as well as the possibilities — and pitfalls — that globalization can create for visual arts education.

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A new book by ECU professor Alice Arnold contains essays that focus on the impact of globalization on art and art education. (Contributed photo)
“We’re in an increasingly globalized world,” Arnold said. “What are the effects of globalization on how we teach, and how we organize programs of higher education? We’ve had a lot of interest in multicultural art education and transcultural experiences, but I think this is a whole new level of understanding.”

The collection of essays was made available in January by the National Art Education Association, where Arnold has served in several leadership roles, including president of one of NAEA's interest groups, the United State Society for Education through Art.

The book’s genesis came about during a chance conversation at an NAEA conference four years ago, when Arnold was talking with a colleague about a course the professor was teaching titled, “Globalization, Art and Education.”

“I said, ‘Wouldn’t that make a terrific anthology?’” Arnold recalled telling Elizabeth Manley Delacruz, a professor of art education and gender and women’s studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, who would join her in editing the book.

Four years later, the book has hit shelves. With research, analyses, essays and case studies from 49 scholars from around the globe, the volume highlights three areas of interest: The changing nature of cultural production; new ways of thinking about nations, cultures, communities and individuals; and case studies of youth culture, artistic expressions and art educational practices.

“Globalization has been called the new world order and the demise of democracy; the next step toward world peace, stability and prosperity; and the latest stage in the destruction of the earth and its inhabitants,” Delacruz wrote in an e-mail.

Rounding out the editing roster are Ann Kuo, professor in the Graduate Institute of Fine Art at National Taiwan Normal University in Taipei, and Michael Parsons, research professor at the University of Illinois.

Arnold has been interested in multicultural experiences and studies for years. As a graduate student at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Arnold was on the board of the campus International House. There she made friends who hailed from places as varied as Finland, Nigeria and Taiwan. “I enjoyed meeting them and spending time with people from different countries,” she said.

The book’s most probable use will be in courses for master’s-level programs and doctoral seminars. “They may not have a course in globalization, art and education, but they may do readings in globalization or readings in art education and globalization,” Arnold said.

The book could be updated, perhaps five years from now.  “As time goes by, our notions of globalization and our understanding of how it is affecting the arts changes,” she said.

For more information on the book, visit http://www.naea-reston.org/store/books/new-publications.

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This story appeared originally in the Feb. 26, 2010 issue of Pieces of Eight. An archived version of that issue is available at http://www.ecu.edu/news/cs-admin/poe/2010/210/February-2010-Archives.cfm.