Spaces of Speaking: Liminality and Case-Based Knowledge in Arts Research and Practice

  • Kim SnepvangersEmail author
  • Jesse Ingrey-Arndell
Part of the Studies in Arts-Based Educational Research book series (SABER, volume 1)


Challenging traditional formats for dissemination of scholarly work in the arts often means adapting creative works into text-based documents for assessment. Complexity in such discursive spaces of representation frequently results in unsatisfying outcomes. New materialist theories extend ideas beyond visual production and reproduction towards seeing social practice as an entanglement. The theoretical concept of encountering is introduced to interrupt stability of past recording platforms, enabling design of learning interventions in everyday routines. Three case studies of social cultural histories embodying video, pencil drawings, sound and video installation interrogate ways of encountering contemporary textuality. Each case presents a diverse approach to speaking as a synthesised knowledge protocol, reflexively speaking, reading and performing within liminal learning spaces. Uncovering the situated mechanics of production enables modification of an educators’ role. Speech conceived as artistic devices opens novel opportunities for change. Each case initiates action by recognising constrained acts of speaking/voice within cultural and geographic displacement. The role of educator in acknowledging self, then devising altered encounters to countermand prior invisibility or disparagement is highlighted. Like a doppelganger, it becomes possible to suspend authority yet simultaneously work with full knowledge of system rules, to challenge contested ideas across geographies of place and time.


Cultural Interface practice-led research spaces of speaking voice liminality encounter contemporary textuality environmental sensibility case study 



The authors would like to acknowledge UNSW Sydney: Art & Design for two Learning & Teaching Innovation Grants, awarded to Snepvangers & Allas in 2014 & 2013. Thank you to Jesse-Ingrey-Arndell, Vic Chapman, Tess Allas and Lap-Xuan Do-Nguyen, for their contribution to this research.


  1. Ashcroft, B., Griffiths, G., & Tiffin, H. (2000). Post-colonial studies: the key concepts. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  2. Australian Professional Standards for Teachers (2012). Australian Institute for Teaching and School Leadership (AITSL). Accessed 28 Jun 2014.
  3. Beckett, J. (2014). Encounters with indigeneity: writing about aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples. Aboriginal Studies Press, Australian Institute of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies (AIATSIS), Canberra.Google Scholar
  4. Blom, D., Rowley, J., Bennett, D., Hitchcock, M., & Dunbar-Hall, P. (2013). Two-way impact: Institutional e-Learning policy/educator practices in creative arts through eportfolio creation. 12th European conference on e-Learning (ECEL) 2013, SKEMA Business School, Sophia Antopolis, France, pp. 33–40.Google Scholar
  5. Coates, I. (2015). Introduction. In Encounters: revealing stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander objects from the British Museum (pp. 16–21). Canberra: National Museum of Australia (NMA).Google Scholar
  6. Connell, R. (2013). The neoliberal cascade and education: an essay on the market agenda and its consequences. Critical Studies in Education, 54(2), 99–112.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cutcher, A. J. (2015). Displacement, identity and belonging: an arts-based, auto/biographical portrayal of ethnicity and experience. Rotterdam: Sense.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Do-Nguyen, L. X. (2015). Where will we be after we depart? Multi channel video installation. Accessed 1 Mar 2017.
  9. Do-Nguyen, L. X. (2016). Research interview. Evolving curriculum: UNSW Sydney: Art & Design Learning & Teaching Innovation Grant, Snepvangers & Allas.Google Scholar
  10. Encounter (2016). Oxford Dictionaries. Accessed 28 Nov 2016.
  11. Encounters: Revealing stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Objects from the British Museum Catalogue. (2015). National Museum of Australia (NMA), Canberra, ACT.Google Scholar
  12. Geia, L. K. (2012). First steps, making footprints: intergenerational Palm Island Families’ indigenous stories (narratives) of childrearing practice strengths. Dissertation, James Cook University.Google Scholar
  13. Hansen, M. (2015). Feed-forward: on the future of twenty-first century media. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  14. Hodge, J. (2016). James Hodge reviews Mark Hanson’s Feed-Forward: on the future of twenty first century media. Critical inquiry: University of Chicago. Accessed 10 February 2016.
  15. Husbands, C., & Pearce, J. (2012). What makes great pedagogy? Nine claims from research. Research and development network national themes: theme one. National College for School Leadership, Department for Education.Google Scholar
  16. Ingrey-Arndell, J. (2013). Jesse Ingrey Arndell – Yuin, Port Macquarie, NSW. Research interview with Vic Chapman. Indigenous Learning Ecologies: UNSW Sydney: Art & Design Learning & Teaching Innovation Grant. Snepvangers & Allas. Accessed 1 Mar 2017.
  17. Ingrey-Arndell, J. (2016). Research interview. Evolving curriculum: UNSW Sydney: Art & Design Learning & Teaching Innovation Grant. Snepvangers & Allas.Google Scholar
  18. jagodzinski, J. (2002). A strange introduction: my apple thing. pedagogical desire: authority, seduction, transference, and the question of ethics. Westport: Praeger, pp. xiii–lx.Google Scholar
  19. Knight, L. (2014). Grotesque gestures or sensuous signs? Rethinking notions of apprenticeship in early childhood education. In D. Masny & D. Cole (Eds.), Education and the politics of becoming (pp. 101–112). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  20. Ladson-Billings, G. (2006). From the achievement gap to the education debt: understanding achievement in U.S. schools. Educational Researcher, 35(7), 3–12.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Land, R., Rattray, J., & Vivian, P. (2014). Learning in the liminal space: a semiotic approach to threshold concepts. Higher Education, 6, 199–217.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ma Rhea, Z. (2012). Indigenizing teacher professional development: anticipating the Australian professional standards for teachers. Paper presented at the AARE/APERA International Conference, University of Sydney, Dec 2–6.Google Scholar
  23. McLaughlin, J. (2013). ‘Crack in the pavement’: pedagogy as political and moral practice for educating culturally competent professionals. The International Education Journal: Comparative Perspectives, 12(1), 249–265.Google Scholar
  24. McLaughlin, J., Whatman, S., & Nielson, C. (2013). Supporting future curriculum leaders in embedding indigenous knowledge on teaching practicum. Sydney: Office for Learning & Teaching.Google Scholar
  25. Meyer, J., & Land, R. (2003). Threshold concepts and troublesome knowledge: linkages to ways of thinking and practising within the disciplines. Occasional Report 4 May. Universities of Edinburgh, Coventry & Durham.Google Scholar
  26. Moreton-Robinson, A., Singh, D., Kolopenuk, J., & Robinson, A. (2012). Learning the lessons?: pre-service teacher preparation for teaching Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students. A report prepared by QUT Indigenous Studies Research Network for the Division of Indigenous Education and Training Futures — Queensland Department of Education, Training and Employment, in relation to the ‘Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Education — Improving teaching’ project. QLD, Australia.Google Scholar
  27. Nakata, M. (2004). Indigenous Australian studies and higher education. Wentworth lecture. Canberra. Accessed 31 Mar 2015.
  28. Nakata, M., Nakata, V., Keech, S., & Bolt, R. (2014). Rethinking majors in Australian Indigenous studies. Australian Journal of Indigenous Education, 43(1), 8–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Paulson, B. (2016). Curatorial challenges in representing the historical material of dynamic living cultures. In Encounters: revealing stories of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander objects from the British Museum Catalogue (pp. 40–43). Canberra, ACT: National Museum of Australia, (NMA).Google Scholar
  30. Shulman, L. E. (1986). Those who understand: knowledge growth in teaching. Educational Researcher, 15(2), 4–14.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Snepvangers, K. (2013). The spectacle of artistic assessment in the practice of art teaching. Dissertation. UNSW Sydney: Art & Design, Sydney, Australia. Accessed 30 Nov 2016.
  32. Snepvangers, K., & Allas, T. (2013). Bending the twig – indigenous learning ecologies video series. UNSW Sydney: Art & Design. Jessica Bulger – Wiradjuri, Tumut, NSW Accessed 28 Nov 2016; Jamie-Lea Hodges – Wiradjuri, Cowra-Coonamble, NSW Accessed 28 Nov 2016; Brady Prescott – Ngiyampaa Wangaaypuan, Broken Hill, NSW Accessed 28 Nov 2016; Lowanna Moran – Gamillaroi, Mudawarray, Walgett, NSW Accessed 28 Nov 2016; Jesse Ingrey Arndell – Yuin, Port Macquarie, NSW Accessed 28 Nov 2016; Wesley Shaw – Yuin, Wreck Bay (Jervis Bay), NSW Accessed 28 Nov 2016.
  33. Snepvangers, K., & Allas, T. (2014). Evolving curriculum: art & design learning & teaching innovation grant. UNSW Sydney: Art & Design.Google Scholar
  34. Snepvangers, K., & Allas, T. (2015). Developing expertise and engagement with Indigenous perspectives in tertiary art and design. In A. Rourke & V. Rees (Eds.), Moving from novice to expert: developing expertise in the visual domain (pp. 255–286). Champaign IL: Common Ground Publishing, University of Illinois.Google Scholar
  35. Stake, R.E. (1978). The case study method in social inquiry. Educational Researcher, 7(2), 5–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Stake, R.E. (2000). Case studies. In N. K. Denzin & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research. 2nd edn. (pp. 435–454). Thousand Oaks: Sage.Google Scholar
  37. Vozzo, L., Hatton, C., Reid, J., Pietsch, M., Bennet, M., Nanlohy, P., et al. (2014). Assessing professional teaching standards in practicum using digital technologies with Aboriginal and other pre-service teachers. Office for Learning & Teaching Department of Education, Sydney, NSW. Accessed 18 Sep 2015.

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Art & Design, The University of New South Wales UNSW: SydneySydney, NSWAustralia
  2. 2.Walanga Muru Office of Indigenous Strategy. Macquarie UniversitySydney, NSWAustralia

Personalised recommendations