Mature students matter in art and design education

Broadhead, Samantha ORCID logoORCID: (2020) Mature students matter in art and design education. In: Proceedings of Adult Education in Global Times: An International Research Conference. University of British Columbia, pp. 75-81. ISBN 9780920056530


The creative practices of five people who had previously studied on an Access to HE course (art and design) in the United Kingdom were explored through narrative inquiry. All had participated in higher education after their Access to HE courses. After completing their studies, the participants set up various Visual Culture Learning Communities (VCLCs) in order to support people who did not have access to the arts through formal education. The participants’ stories were analysed in relation to various types of altruism (entrepreneurial, philanthropic, and selfless). It was found that the Access to HE learning experience stayed with some of the participants and encouraged them to open up learning spaces for others. Some of the ‘Access values’ relating to social justice, democratic education, student-centeredness and community engagement were modelled and developed by the participants. Their narratives suggested they were acting because of either entrepreneurial, philanthropic or selfless altruism. This challenged some of the neoliberal discourses around the individualistic motives of mature students that link access to higher education only to increased economic rewards and status.

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