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Uses of arts in community : service-learning and civic engagement
Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Service-Learning 亞太地區服務研習會議
  • Suk Mun, Sophia LAW, Lingnan University, Hong Kong
Start Date
6-6-2013 3:10 PM
End Date
6-6-2013 4:40 PM
As defined by Bringle & Clayton (2012), service learning is a credit-bearing educational experience in which students “gain a better understanding of their subject knowledge, an enrichment of personal values, and a greater sense of civic responsibility through a series of well structured service activities that benefit the community” (pp. 114-115). A good service-learning scheme allows students to apply, actualize, evaluate, and reflect on their knowledge’s relevance to life. Many of the reflections evolved through the process of actual realization of knowledge are inspiring and can never be attained in classroom. “Art and Well Being”, an elective course offered by the Department of Visual Studies at Lingnan University examines the intrinsic nature of art and its impact on the well-being of both individuals and communities alike. Art making relies mostly on senses rather than rationality, and therefore goes beyond the limitation of language barrier and intellectual discrepancy. Many of the theories taught in the course are not only applicable in real-world situations, but also can only be envisaged by allowing students to engage in genuine creativities. A Service-learning Research Scheme (SLRS) was first integrated into the course in 2009 and three schemes have been structured, developed and refined. Services structured for “Art and Well Being” are no ordinary leisure activities but art facilitation workshops for specific target groups. Since 2009, the schemes have served intellectual disabled adults, ethnic minority children, autistic children, youth with behavioural problems, and adults on wheelchair. The outcomes are significant. Reasons of success include carefully structured and justified theoretical framework, detail planning of the services, continuous improvement of the assessments, critical reflections, and close partnerships with artists and NGOs. This paper reports these factors and illustrates how art connects and promotes civic engagement.
Citation Information
Law, S. M. S. (2013, June). Uses of arts in community: Service-learning and civic engagement. Paper presented at the 4th Asia-Pacific Regional Conference on Service-Learning: Service-Learning as a Bridge from Local to Global: Connected world, Connected future, Hong Kong and Guangzhou, China.