From Montreal to Gaspé, our students participated in a unique intercollegiate and interdisciplinary collaborative project in which psychology and visual arts brought mythological creatures to life in the form of holographic projections.
A pedagogical encounter
The collaboration was born out of an exchange Stéphanie had with Anne-Marie Lafortune, an ESL teacher at the Cégep de la Gaspésie et des Îles, at the SALTISE 2021 conference, where they were both on the same panel. Stephanie mentioned to Anne-Marie that she wanted to collaborate with a teacher. Anne-Marie immediately thought of her colleague Madeleine! That’s how our collaboration was born! Everything fell neatly into place because we both had small groups of 6 students, which made it easier to pair students.
1 common project, 2 different aims
The idea of mythological creatures is an extension of a project that I have been doing for a few years in my Developmental Psychology courses when I approach attachment theory. It is an opportunity for me to work on knowledge, skills and certain aspects of attitude through introspective reflection.
In this project, students revisit bits and pieces of their relational history, from childhood to adulthood. Attachment theory allows them to decode certain behaviours that involve the important people in their lives. The process strengthens their self-awareness.
To add a playfulness to the subject matter and to facilitate introspection in my students, I slip some elements inspired by the visual arts into my teaching. The proposed game allows for a lighter approach to complex issues. Without diminishing the depth of the issues addressed, my intention is to create a classroom climate conducive to discussion.
The project begins with the students creating a portrait of relational characteristics that they must transform into an animal analogy. This is a universal language in which they spontaneously find similarities between certain features of their relational style and the poetry of animal language. The portrait should be composed of 3 parts of different animals illustrating certain characteristics of their way of relating to others.
Once the creature is born, my students have to name it, then write a text that presents its characteristics and link their introspection to the theory and concepts of the great authors studied in class.
As soon as the collages were completed, the interaction in pairs began (1 student from Gaspé was matched with 1 student from Montreal). My students presented their collage to their peers in Visual Arts at Cégep Marie-Victorin who then use their work as a starting point for an artistic reflection whose final objective is to learn how to create an animated holographic projection.
My students had already begun to explore the notion of “landscape” in their Media Installation course. They explored the images of their everyday lives, the images that make up their environment in all its forms. With this collaborative project, I wanted my students to discover someone else’s landscape and construct a work that would transform into an animated mythological creature. Following their encounter, this interpretive work was inspired by the collage made by Madeleine’s students.
To do this, Madeleine and I created a fun questionnaire to facilitate the exchange between our students. The questionnaire served as a starting point for the meeting and had different goals:
- breaking the ice
- getting to know one another
- better understanding their partner’s mythological creature
The questions were oriented to allow Madeleine’s students to present their animal based on its strengths, experiences and values.