This issue of JACE highlights some of the breadth and complexity of artistry in education. Is it possible to conflate the personal with the social in a manner that celebrates both individual art making and collegial social learning? This issue explores such a paradox through four articles that individually address the role the arts play in providing students opportunities to collaborate, yet does so while celebrating ‘the personal’ in learning. Deborah Fraser and Graham Price from New Zealand begin this conversation
by emphasising the value of shared learning in primary settings. Their research utilises arts research methods to investigate the benefits of social learning in art activities, while providing evidence of the importance of the personal in the art making practice. In contrast, Canadian Carl Leggo’s work is highly individual in focus. He paints a captivating image of what can
happen when one immerses oneself in the artistry of the written word. He broadens his perspective to the possibilities that exist when one engages in conversations with others about poetry – the ‘shared social learning’ spoken of in Deborah and Graham’s article. An essential component of Carl’s article that captivates the reader is the joyful indulgence of simply immersing yourself in art; who would not like to simply spend time reading, writing or making? Fellow Canadian Nicholas Stanger does exactly this in his writing. He takes us, both in text and by video link to the ‘magic place’ of his childhood, and encourages us to indulge ourselves in the reminiscence of past pleasures. The immediacy of his foray into Vancouver’s beautiful woods (he does this in preference to a morning coffee), the serendipity of found materials and childlike activities, and the power of creating transient artworks all remind us of the personal pleasures many of us have enjoyed in our youth. Anne Harris and Jon Staley remind us that not all children have memories to treasure, but can build positive memories through the arts. Their central thesis remains constant with the previous authors, in that they celebrate the ‘authentic creative journey’ as a method for tapping ‘the personal’ while still addressing wider social possibilities of the arts. This issue contains a suite of beautifully crafted accounts of the myriad way the arts allow us to indulge in the personal while communicating with others and building the social networks necessary for a better community.