The Future of Education

Edition 13

Accepted Abstracts

Particles or waves? Visual Art Education

Anne Marie Morrin, Mary Immaculate College, University of Limerick (Ireland)


Facilitating children to develop skills in creativity and imagination with the anticipation that they will generate original artwork is a priority for Visual Art Educators. The premise of this research project is to take a scientific theory like ‘how light travels’ and ask pre service teachers to investigate abstract concepts with primary school children through art practice. Using visual methods of inquiry and following a sequence of stages: perception, conception, and expression. The author will observe on how the emersion of art practice for pre service teachers can change the participants’ attitudes to teaching and develop skills in creativity and imagination that generates original artwork which in turn generates resourceful teaching. Furthermore as a collaborative endeavor the author will review the process of how the bring together of artists, two education colleges and local primary and secondary schools to establish a methodical and diagnostic approach to develop skills in creativity and imagination.

The central theme – Is light a particle or a wave?  was a difficulty concept for the pre service teachers to construct, a concept that is not tangible or concrete. The research findings demonstrate the theories the pre service teachers struggled with were received with enthusiasm by the children. For the most part the children engaged cognitively and linguistically, making links across the sciences and connecting with every day lived experiences. It was the children’s oral responses and art work that stimulated and inspired the pre service teachers, demonstrating that art science or history are not closed, isolated disciplines, but rather are all inter-related and open up a world of marvellous ideas and possibilities.

Particles or Waves was funded by Limerick City of culture and uses new developments in lighting technology in a highly innovative manner to create artwork that is engaging and stimulating for both the creators and the audience.  The artworks produced by the students and children were culminated in an evolving series of luminous interactive wall/ceiling drawings in outdoor locations throughout the city, bringing light into the city center in a manner that is challenging both creatively and cognitively.


The collaborative partners are Visual Art Education in Mary Immaculate Teacher Education College (MIC), Limerick College of Art and Design (LIT), International artists Anne Cleary and Denis Connolly and 12 primary and secondary schools.

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