Dr. Pamela Harris Lawton is the Fulbright Scotland Visiting Professor at IASH from January to June 2019. She will divide her time between IASH and Moray House School of Education, where she will conduct her Artstories community-based art education research with education students and minority immigrant communities in Edinburgh. Artstories describes the process of combining oral, written, visual and performed narratives into art works representative of a multiplicity of generational voices on issues related to the coming of age within a multicultural society and those common rites of passage associated with being in and passing through the various stages of psycho-social development as defined by Erik Erikson. Thus artstory is a conceptual term that can be used to define one’s personal search for identity and meaning through art and story, or a group’s collaborative exploration for communal, intergenerational and multicultural understanding through sharing oral histories, writing collaborative identity pieces that examine life themes related to psycho-social development, and visually illustrating them as a group.
These artstories are then later exhibited, read/performed for others as a means of furthering multicultural/communal understanding through art/story sharing. Lawton’s research is community art-based, intergenerational, transformative, and social justice-focused.
At her home institution, Virginia Commonwealth University, Lawton is somewhat of an anomaly. As Associate Professor of Art Education, she is both educational researcher and practicing artist juggling her time between conducting community-based research, publishing, teaching, and creating and exhibiting her art, prints and artist’s books under the aegis Pamelaspress. While at IASH she will complete a co-authored text based on her research, On Common Ground: Community-based Art Education across the Lifespan, due for publication by Teachers College Press, Columbia University in early 2020.
Like many, I’ve been fascinated by Scottish culture and history, and curious about contemporary Scotland; the people, native and immigrant, and how welcoming the culture has been to minority and immigrant communities. The current political climate at home in the U.S. is very divisive and it’s interesting to draw comparisons with Brexit, and what that means for Scotland. As an artist/educator/researcher I make sense of my world through collaborative art making activities that provide an opportunity to learn new art skills, meet new people, dialogue, learn from and teach others, and find common ground. In this way we build communities that are more empathetic, just, and caring.
In addition to her Fulbright Visiting Professorship, Lawton was selected as a Tate Modern Exchange Associate and will conduct an Artstories project in the museum with minority communities in London, July 16-21, 2019.
To find out more about Pamela’s projects and Edinburgh experiences, visit her blog: https://phlawton.wixsite.com/artstories
The 2020-2021 Fulbright US Scholar competition is now open! The deadline for submission of applications is Monday 16th September 2019.