Using visual and ethnographic methods the author forms a connection between materiality and the memories of childhood. The researcher begins by asking the question, “Can a studio environment create encounters between a researcher and preschool children that deepen understanding of culture?” To this end, the researcher engaged in sensory research practices through ethnographic methods in a preschool art studio. Through free choice art making, children were found expressing their emotions and demonstrating an awareness of adult culture. In particular, the researcher’s encounter with four-year old George was enriched through sensory participation and triggered embodied and empathetic knowing. As it happens, conducting this research through the shared sensory attributes of art materials, the researcher was sent reeling. The encounter with memories of her childhood were unforeseen and disturbing. Art materials, it appears, can reveal cultural knowledge and can also serve as emotional bookmarks of time. Materials can juxtapose the past with the present, linking then with now. Feeling is embedded in the artifact and can release provocative memories. Materials from childhood create the self for what it is.
Visual Ethnography, Art, Autoethnography, Uncensored Culture of Childhood, Memory, Sensory Ethnography
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Recommended APA Citation
Grube, V. J. (2017). Material Forms: What is Really Going On? Shaping Who We Are and What We Do. The Qualitative Report, 22(11), 3075-3087. Retrieved from https://nsuworks.nova.edu/tqr/vol22/iss11/17