ART IN MIND ̶ MIND IN ART. A narrative review of teachers’ artistic experiences

Thesis event information

Date and time of the thesis defence

Place of the thesis defence

Linnanmaa, IT116

Topic of the dissertation

ART IN MIND ̶ MIND IN ART. A narrative review of teachers’ artistic experiences

Doctoral candidate

Licentiate of Philosophy, Master of Arts (Art and Design), Master of Education, Tapio Tenhu

Faculty and unit

University of Oulu Graduate School, Faculty of Education, Learning and Learning Processes

Subject of study



Professor Mirja Hiltunen, University of Lapland


Professor Raimo Kaasila, University of Oulu

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ART IN MIND ̶ MIND IN ART. A narrative review of teachers’ artistic experiences

My doctoral thesis is a narrative study in which I examine the art experiences told in six teachers' interviews and their meanings from childhood to the threshold of middle age. I have collected my research data in two stages in 2002 and 2014. The theoretical starting points of the study are in the hermeneutic, phenomenological, pragmatist and narrative research traditions. The data analysis is narrative.

Because of their basic nature, the stories of art experiences differ from the descriptions of experiences in our everyday environment. They are characterized by complexity and difficulty of conceptualization, which is manifested both in the interviewees’ narration and in the conceptual examination in this study. My study introduces a new viewpoint on the examination of identity and meaning-making related to arts. In the results section of the study, I examine and interpret stories related to visual arts as abridged narratives, constituents of a biography and special events in life. In the interpretation of individual art experiences, I explore the meanings told in art as personal factors related to human existence and situations in the life-world.

The results of my study show how art is manifested in the stories as a subjective, intentional and diverse opportunity for being in the world, reflection on meanings and forming a relationship with the world. The meanings associated with the interviewees' experiences make visible the importance of art from the viewpoints of identity, vocational identity, reflection of experiences, and the examination and establishment of man’s relationship with the world.

My study also takes a stand on the significance and status of art education in our education system. I present my study as a contribution to the debate on art education, its status and significance for growth as a human being.
Last updated: 1.3.2023