Create new studio space: Transforming CE141 into a studio space for research

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Dear classmates, faculty, friends, families, and community members,

I am writing this letter to those of you who are interested in a change in our practice as students and teachers as researchers, to ask for your support for an idea that I have been thinking about with a few other students: Transforming the classroom CE141 (or possibly other space that is bigger than a current studio space) into a permanent studio space for the children, educators and ECCE students to experience studio practice as a place for research.

As my graduate project, I explored what studio practice might be and how it affects our learning. According to Dr. Sylvia Kind (2018), studio is not just an art room, but both an idea and a practice where people are always generating something new, becoming and changing through artistic emergent processes. Kind also articulates that experimentation, which means to experience something by doing and thinking simultaneously in order to experience personal transformation, is a significant concept in the studio practice. During my graduation project, I experienced that my practice with children became more meaningful with active participation. Reading some important contemporary educational theories and write a research paper was one way of learning; yet putting those ideas into practice was also important. To gain meaningful experiences, having a space where we can experience something while thinking and doing something with our body and others (as human and non-human) is definitely in demand for our field.

As you know, not many courses are held during summer term, we have been able to use the classroom CE 141 more freely to work on the studio projects. One of the most memorable experiences was to create Fabric Studio and Collage Studio in Summer 2016. During our project, some children joined us. Through and with materials, we were allowed to search for what the children are truly engaging with and thinking through those materials. I found that the experience was significant, and supported my learning and enriched our research, which was not to know who children were, but what children were seriously doing and thinking. Without materials and children being there, the experience would have not been the same.

The purpose of this letter is not to expect an instant change. Yet, I would like our voice to be heard in a public space and deeply consider how beneficial it is to have a larger space for ECCE students to conduct research to enhance our learning and practice for the future ECCE field. I remember the current studio space by CE 141 was a small, dark area where students took breaks and had lunch back in 2010. I was so excited to see the little space to become a studio for children and educators. It would be wonderful to see further progress in our studio space for the future.


Sincerely yours,

Yuko Shimomura

Kind, S. (2018). Collective improvisations: The emergence of the early childhood studio as an eventful place. In C. Thompson & C. Schulte (Eds.), Communities of practice: Art, play, and aesthetics in early childhood. New York, NY: Springer Publishers.