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Module Specifications..

Current Academic Year 2023 - 2024

Please note that this information is subject to change.

Module Title Environmental Art
Module Code AP306
School 73
Module Co-ordinatorSemester 1: Andrea Cleary
Semester 2: Andrea Cleary
Autumn: Andrea Cleary
Module TeachersAndrea Cleary
Colin MacAulay
NFQ level 8 Credit Rating 5
Pre-requisite None
Co-requisite None
Compatibles None
Incompatibles None
Repeat examination
Engagement with course content, and reflection on a set number of tasks as appropriate .

There is an emphasis on intuitive approaches to creativity and reflection through appreciating environmental, Land art and ecological art and creating art using natural materials in this module. Students develop understanding using a range of approaches but focusing on 'Process Led' approach to creating and teaching art. This approach encompasses -experiential open ended learning, guided discovery, problem solving, experimenting and recording, observation and reflection, and mindful and intuitive response through artmaking. The exploration of natural media and the environment is mined for its potential for meaningful integration. Students use digital media to record the process of art making, to capture and develop visual awareness and as a tool for communication in preparation for presentation and assignment. Students work outdoors and indoors, independently and collaboratively, as part of this module. Awareness for sustainability of ourselves and the environment is a central value embedded right across this module. Inclusive art education is emphasised, through reflection on the benefits of outdoor environment, on health and wellbeing. Students develop professional identity and agency as educators with knowledge of the how the arts can connect children with their environment, care for the environment as global citizens. Cross curricular integration is important as students prepare to develop deep level connections through art to multiple aspects of the curriculum. There is a special focus on the theoretical and practical aspects of preparation for teaching art and the integration of Art at primary level.

Learning Outcomes

1. To become familiar with and explore techniques for teaching which are Process Led. Students develop an understanding for the pedagogy of 'play', and it's importance in developing intuition. Develop confidence in open ended exploration, as an approach to teaching art, trusting in 'not knowing' as appropriate when developing children's creative thinking.
2. Demonstrate increased confidence in creating art while applying an understanding of the fundamental principles and practices of creating 3D and 2D artwork and incorporating the use of digital media for creating, recording of work, collaborating and developing presentation and in planning for teaching.
3. Collaboratively (with peers and lecturer) and individually -Design, plan and assess imaginative and engaging lesson activities for children’s learning through visual art with emphasis on meaningful cross curricular integration. Critically engage with issues such as sustainability, inclusive art education , developing professional identity and agency, best practice models and emerging methodologies for teaching, learning and assessing art.
4. Using an appropriate specialist vocabulary, respond insightfully to artworks with a particular emphasis on Land art/Environmental art/ Ecological Art and Nature, considering both technical and affective aspects, and communicate an awareness of the multiple ways in which visual art has a role in meaning making and wellbeing for the individual (and for society) and the importance of nature to sustainability of the planet.
5. Demonstrate an understanding of the basic principles of design in the creation of pattern, form and line, and visual awareness in the landscape, in an outdoor context, indicate how these concepts may be communicated to /explored with, at primary level.
6. Use natural, sustainably produced media and the outdoors to effectively forge and unearth deep connections with subjects such as science, geography, society, environment (SESE), maths and literacy and issues such as environmental justice and social justice and indicate how the skill of making connections explicit, could be used in primary classrooms.

Workload Full-time hours per semester
Type Hours Description
Assessment Feedback20Presentation of Visual art reflective journal, documenting weekly processes and deep level reflection on the affects of the experiences of open ended intuitive approaches to teaching and learning through art.
Class Presentation4Group project digital presentation, including readings and research on relevant artists, cross curricular links, and development of rationale for the use of teaching approaches experienced on the course and their relevance for planning integrated schemes..
Assignment Completion20Weekly engagement with reflection on the experiences of in class work, including images of the process and the effects of the engagement on personal development, development of understanding , visual and sensory awareness of the environment.
Group work20Independent work, on preparation for group assignment, digital presentation. including readings, reflection on in class work, development of rationale, and development of a shared progressional integrated scheme which incorporates the outdoors, and use of the environment.
Total Workload: 64

All module information is indicative and subject to change. For further information,students are advised to refer to the University's Marks and Standards and Programme Specific Regulations at: http://www.dcu.ie/registry/examinations/index.shtml

Indicative Content and Learning Activities

Course guidelines; activities
1. Lecture 1. Part 1 Overview: of the course; Contemplative art practice:Workshop:Mindful drawing and instinctive drawing developing student teachers trust in intuitive connections, ideas and thinking through art processes.Focus on conscious development of teacher identity. Quality of mark-making and energy using charcoal - use of being grounded in experience, to connect to the inner self. Contemplative art techniques such as, embodied drawing.Large scale, rhythmical body drawing black and white. Emphasis on process led work. 2. Lecture 2: Ways of seeing, ways of knowing. Sustainable Artist practice.Workshop:Observation drawing in the outdoor environment local area, digital image and view finders to see the familiar in an unfamiliar way. Developing visual awareness for the environment through personal observation, developing sensory awareness using mindful walking techniques. Reflecting through processes of drawing, on previous weeks work, peer sharing and discussion. Looking at and responding to examples of contemporary Environmental art, land art and sustainable art practices . 3. Workshop:Drawing on previous weeks work, developing awareness for conceptual interpretations through different media.Developing a tactile response to sensory experiences such as weather conditions, smells, sounds in the local environment and observation of visual elements-line, pattern, shape and form. This involves a reflection and analysis of imagery created in the previous week. Personal interpretations of images, small group work drawing, imprinting in clay ‘memory’ of the environment. Emphasis on working in collaboration, celebrating interdependence, and the ecology of the art process growing from one week to the next. Student led collaborative approach to teaching emphasised. This approach includes process led art making, and slow pedagogy . 4. Lecture 3. Natural materials in contemporary art.Workshop:Process led art; Natural materials open ended exploration to create 3D form . In collaboration with National Botanical Gardens foraged materials. Developing sensitivity to natural media, their fragility, and unpredictability, through exploration of the properties of the materials, to handle and to sensitively join materials. Students work individually and in pairs/ small groups experimenting with how to join materials, observation, willow weaving, becoming aware of the process of discovery, and experience freedom to create. Reflection on the challenges, the outcomes and the transient nature of the art, and how the art and the artist's experience are interconnected . Connection between life experience, identity and perceptions of what constitutes art ,critical engagement with the experience is central. ( 2 weeks ). 6. Visit the NCAD community Garden and speak with students about the social and political aspects of commoning. Students get to experience and see Socially engaged eco art practices in action. The field trip includes exchanges with artists, studying eco art, and exchanging insights on the intersection of human rights, agency through art, and developing ideas for curricular integration and educational opportunities. 7. Lecture 4: Ephemeral Art, philosophical dimensions:Workshop:Mandalas-pattern creation and deconstruction of plants. Classification of shape, texture and colour. Foraging connects with the local environment and sharing plants from home connects communities of practice. Responding to the work of artists who create patterns using the environment and natural materials. Experience the process of deconstructing plant materials. Individual/ joint exploration of creating a mandala using prepared materials and reflection on the shared process. Connection to inclusive education, world religion, universal themes of unity , and mindful practices in art. 8. Lecture 5: Outdoor education and art:School online exchange with forest school leader and primary teacher with expertise in art, observation of children working with art in outdoor settings or outdoor local school . Workshop:Using the local area. Carrying out a risk assessment and working outside. Working outdoors, students are required to focus on an open ended approach to art creation, go and observe their environment and take time to put into practice process led approaches and some of the things they have learned throughout the course, including willow weave, clay form , foliage illustrations, Hapa Zome plant pigment prints, frottage/ rubbings. Photo synthetic prints. Deconstruction of student experiences for Classroom project planning.. 9. Preparation for working with children outside.In pairs/small groups students design an outdoor art lesson using the methods of process led art, with natural materials. Drawing on their experiences on the course, and developing their own ideas, students plan for engaginengaging small groups of children for a 40 min period . Central focus is creative freedom of the child to explore, and process led approach. .

Assessment Breakdown
Continuous Assessment100% Examination Weight0%
Course Work Breakdown
TypeDescription% of totalAssessment Date
Group presentationProject assessment; preparation for planning an integrated scheme. Presentation through Artworks and digital presentation of connections discovered through process led art making. Rationale for using teaching approaches process led art, mindful art, with reference to literature and relevant artists introduced as part of lectures and readings.30%Week 26
Reflective journalThis is a documentation of the process of engaging, with art making, observations and personal experience of the affect of teaching approaches. Reflection on the growth of understanding of process led art and it's potential in teaching art at primary level, as an open ended method of teaching. This is personal document of the journey which helps develop student artist teacher identity.70%Week 28
Reassessment Requirement Type
Resit arrangements are explained by the following categories;
1 = A resit is available for all components of the module
2 = No resit is available for 100% continuous assessment module
3 = No resit is available for the continuous assessment component
This module is category 1
Indicative Reading List

  • Nigel Meager: 2006, Creativity and Culture Art projects for Primary Schools, 1, NSEAD publications, Wiltshire UK, 0-904684-30-X
  • Andy Goldsworthy: 2004, Passage, 1, Thames and Hudson, Holborn London, 978-0-500-511
  • Lucy Medhurst: 2012, Science, Nature and Identity: Understanding the Value of Experiential Learning in Land Art Context, Stour Valley Arts,
  • Neil Taylor,Frances Quinn,Chris Eames: 2015, Educating for Sustainability in Primary Schools, 11, Springer, 9789463000468
  • Sacha Kagan: 2012, Toward Global (environ)mental Change, 9783869280769
  • Anne Marie Kavanagh,Fionnuala Waldron,Benjamin Mallon: 2021, Teaching for Social Justice and Sustainable Development Across the Primary Curriculum, 6, 9780367434144
  • Kalplan, r. and Kaplan S.: 1989, The Experience of Nature, Cambridge University Press, New York,
Other Resources

Programme or List of Programmes
BEDBachelor of Education

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