CFP: Edited Volume – Making Thinking: Pedagogy of Ideation in the Arts Classroom

One of the primary challenges for art educators is teaching students how to come up with and develop ideas. Teaching ideation can come in a variety of forms: from close analysis of an artwork to free writing exercises; from library research to material explorations; from group listening exercises to solitary image collecting. Ideation is arguably the most difficult aspect of making and teaching art. Yet there are no resources with the primary focus of helping art professors teach ideation.

An art instructor today might rely on eclectic collections of art assignments, interviews with other practitioners, and art historical texts. These resources offer valuable glimpses into a particular artist’s practice, vision, or experience, but do not demystify or offer guides towards coming up with ideas. We’re seeking examples from classrooms where instructors have scaffolded the practice of ideation—from historical examples of teaching visual thinking to concrete excerpts from more recent syllabi. In addition to syllabi, assignments, and examples of student work (what does a good idea look like?!) we’re seeking essays reflecting on teaching and practicing ideation, interviews with instructors and students, and reflections on what worked well, what didn’t, and why.

Making Thinking will bring together artists-educators from a variety of disciplines in sharing their approach to and experience with teaching ideation and visual thinking in an arts classroom at a variety of levels—Foundations, Introductory and General Education arts courses, Intermediate and Advanced courses for arts majors, and graduate (MFA) seminars. The volume will present readers with teaching materials and classroom assignments, and will focus on contextualizing the materials within broader propositions around ideation and pedagogy. Our goal is to push ideation pedagogy beyond a single experimental exercise. Ideation is a cornerstone of an arts classroom, and we aim to offer structured practices to develop students’ artistic visions.

We are initially seeking a 300 word abstracts for eventual 1500-3000 word essays. Please include a short author bio (100 words) and brief bibliography (in addition to the abstract length) with your abstract.

Deadline for abstracts is: April 15th, 2021

Draft chapters will be due in the first half of 2022.

Please submit abstracts, and any questions you have, to:

We’re specifically seeking contributions from Sculpture, Performance, Time-based, Photography, and New Media artists/educators.

We actively encourage BIPOC artist-educators, as well as artists-educators from the Global South, and Indigenous and First Nations educators.

Practices: Concrete examples from syllabi, assignments, critique and discussion prompts, and student work.

Full or excerpted syllabi with a focus on teaching ideation and short reflections by the contributor.

Summarized assignments with short reflections by the contributor.

Examples of exercises, structures, and interventions from the critique environment that promote ideation, accompanied by a short reflection contextualizing the exercise in the larger structure of the course.

We are also interested in understanding the context of your classroom. Where were you teaching? Who were your students? How fluent were your students in existing art world knowledge and jargon? How did this context shape your ideation pedagogy?

Reflections: Interviews and conversations with artists and between teachers and students about the process of teaching/learning ideation. Short essays reflecting on an assignment or course.

Interviews with former teachers, current teachers, other art practitioners

Conversations between teachers and students on the topic of ideation

Reflections of a failed assignment, successful assignment, memorable assignment that promoted ideation

Reflections on your ideation pedagogy over time. What have you learned with experience?

Masha Vlasova is an interdisciplinary artist and filmmaker, whose work has been exhibited at Smack Mellon, Anthology Archives, Abrons Arts Center, the Border Project Gallery in New York City, Vox Populi in Philadelphia, and Carpenter Center for the Visual Arts at Harvard University, among others. Her films have been screened widely on the international film festival circuit. She curated exhibitions and published work on monument rotation and materiality, filmmaking, and the intersection of art and pedagogy. She’s an Assistant Professor of Lens-based and New Media Art at Wofford College. Website:

Rina Goldfield is a painter and drawer, whose work has been exhibited at the Hamden Gallery at UMass Amherst, the APE and Hosmer galleries in Northampton MA, and at The Hand and Klaus von Nichtssagend galleries in NYC. She has taught art to elementary, middle and high school students through the Joan Mitchell Foundation, CAMBA, and the Ashcan School, and incarcerated adults through the Brooklyn Public Library. Website: