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Introduction to Art Education in the Motion Lab

Introduction to Art Education in the Motion Lab


In the autumn of 2022, instructor and PhD Candidate Tamryn McDermott introduced students in her Introduction to Art Education course to the possibilities within ACCAD’s Motion Lab. The experience for the students began with an iterative research project as part of McDermott’s dissertation study. Students had the opportunity to spend several classes in the Motion Lab immersed in experiences which were co-designed, prompt-based, and multi-modal. McDermott set out to explore the following question in relation to her work with students in the motion lab: How might co-creating an intermedia assemblage (a collection and gathering of ideas, people, and objects using a range of art media) enable future art teachers to develop diverse and sustainable reflective practices as artists/researchers/ teachers within a community of practice?

Tamryn's experience of working in the Lab with students provided space, technology and technical support to experiment with intermedia and collective reflection. Through an iterative process structured in three cycles, students became increasingly familiar with the space and potential for collaboration and interaction. She states: 

One of the most exciting outcomes of this research was hearing from one of the participants that they were able to modify their experience in Motion Lab to suit their work with students in a summer program. As an educator, I feel most successful when I know my students can put what they learn and experience in my classroom into practice in their own teaching contexts.

My experience designing and working with students to co-create intermedia experiences within Motion Lab has helped me begin to work through possible approaches to successfully facilitating small group and collective learning experiences in digital spaces.

Project Description

Cycle One: Students worked on prompts that they generated in a previous class meeting, took turns reading prompts for the group into the microphone, and spending one minute per prompt. Two live feed cameras were used to project images of the workspace onto multiple screens in the motion lab. Audio included nature sounds and a live microphone for students to read prompts each minute.


Cycle Two: The second iteration in Motion Lab involved the use of QR codes on necklaces to access prompts. Students have access to a free roaming live feed camera and three projection screens provided views of different perspectives on the central drawing space. Materials such as markers, post-its and crayons were used to carry out prompts in personal visual journals, a white board, and on large, collective mural paper. Interaction between students was encouraged and increased from the first experience. Every five minutes a cuckoo clock tweeted and students shifted to find a new QR code to scan from around a classmate’s neck.

“I think that the structures that facilitate collaboration and trust within a group are honesty and openness. Also, not being afraid to bring forth your ideas. Be involved, be prepared. In Motion Lab, this looks like community, be ready, participate, gather ideas, make thoughts come to life, bring them to life." - Student participant 

Cycle Three: Students were immersed in a co-designed experience based on collaboration, drawing, and reflection. Students co-designed multiple stations for engagement, opportunities for dialogue, and audio and digital live feed projections. Students planned for lighting changes based on music curation throughout the experience.

Project Team

Graduate Researcher:

Tamryn McDermott – Instructor and PhD Candidate in Arts Administration, Education and Policy with a concentration in Art Education & Graduate Interdisciplinary Specialization in Fine Arts

Support Team and Participants:

Introduction to Art Education students (18)

Oded Huberman (Motion Lab)

Katie O’Loughlin (GRA, Motion Lab)

Faculty Advisors:

J.T. Eisenhauer Richardson, Arts Administration, Education and Policy

Richard Finlay Fletcher, Arts Administration, Education and Policy

Shari Savage, Arts Administration, Education and Policy

Norah Zuniga-Shaw, Department of Dance & ACCAD