In their changing, complicated course within the global paradigm, the approaches and attitudes towards contemporary art education have taken new directions mainly towards broader interaction between arts and communities as well as establishing meaningful, critical connection between art programs with that of the learners' daily routines. That is why the study of culture and folk traditions of local communities and integration of such traditions into educational programs tailored to the values and requirements of these communities have been taken into consideration. With a post-modernist perspective, community-based art education is one of the approaches taken to teaching and learning art in an interdisciplinary field, which perceive all types of connections between arts and communities through the elaboration of educational theories and practices. Since one of the important presuppositions of this approach is relying on the rich context of experiences, culture and art of the local/folklore communities, this study will examine the challenges of the area of Iran folklore and indigenous arts pertaining to ritual dolls and elucidate their various dimensions in a community-based art education framework. Then study has employed applied developmental research approach as well as exploratory-qualitative method with phenomenological approach. The study population consisted of educators, artists, and researchers actively involved in the field of indigenous arts, especially puppets, and engaged in art education. The sampling method used was purposeful and homogeneous which, taking into account the inclusion criteria, reached the theoretical data saturation with 9 individuals. Moreover, semi-structured interviews were used to collect data for this study. The validity of the data was confirmed by evaluative criteria of Lincoln & Guba (1985), Denzin (1978), and Patton (1999). The data was analyzed through inductive method using Collaizi's seven-step method (1978). Based on the findings, the challenges of community-based arts education were categorized into two main intra-institutional and extra-institutional levels and 18 themes. At the intra-institutional level, the challenges included the lack of a comprehensive approach to art education, coaching skills, audience analysis, dialogic production, multicultural knowledge skills, and social leadership skills. At the extra-institutional level, the challenges were the social welcome, the reduced status of art to pleasure and delight, semantic evolution, ritual confinement, functional threat, intertwining of symbols and intergenerational expectations. The results showed that the development of a community-based educational approach is considered a necessity in contemporary Iranian art education. Acknowledging the art, the culture, and the heritage of their communities and benefiting from them in their curriculums, the educators can empower learners’ cultural identity. Besides, the study outcomes indicated that the educators who, through experience, have been able to integrate folk arts such as dolls into their art education program, have experienced unintentionally the social functions of community-based arts. According to another part of the results of this study, local community-based arts should be capable of producing intellectual challenges and audience engagement as well as producing content appropriate to the audience, while this is absent in the current education process for these arts. The extra-institutional challenges section illustrates that community-based arts are not a concern for current society, and one of its important reasons is the shift in intergenerational expectations, semantic evolution, and ritual confinement, limiting the doll to the ritual field, which seems to be considered of no use in today's society. In addition, the current society has at best reduced art to a level of enjoyment and recreation; and thus, learning from arts is not much taken seriously. Community-based arts in this sense cannot be central to society.
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