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ArtRadius Saksala


international artist-in-residence program in rural Finland


Céline Roesthuis

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  • student-in-residence 2008-2009
  • céline roesthuis

  • Céline Roesthuis has taken an internship at art centre Saksala ArtRadius in winter 2008-2009. This period has developed her view on art education research in the field of art education, practice with adults and different classes at secondary school. She also participate in different meetings and events to get involved with the world of an art center.

    Below is her report she wrote about her internship.


    1. About an internship at an art centre
    2. Personal Development Plan
    3. Reflection – own reflection
    4. Reflection – Typical Situations
    5. Practice Research
    6. NEW Vision on Art Education
    7. Final

    1. About an internship at an art centre

    When you take an internship away from any ordinary internships, you need to have another attitude. Part of this internship is about finding useful timetables for your own studies. To organize your own time, you need to become autonomous, there is no structure compared to normal schools, there is no timetable. You need to make a great effort to build up this structure for yourself. The structure you make is based to your own expectations, the expectations of the art centre and of your university. 

    2. Personal Development Plan

    Typical situations:
    Play a part in different activities at the art centre Competent at working in a team
    Organizational competence Competent at working with the neighborhood
    Environmental focus Specification target profile:
    I want to understand what is going on at an art centre, besides the art courses.
    How can you exist as an art centre? At this moment I don’t know exactly in what context I will be teaching in the future and I want to find out if an art centre could be the right place for me. If I participate in other activities of the art centre, I can learn about the different sides of the art centre, this may help me to make the right decision for the future.

    Concrete activities: I want to participate at meetings, a Christmas market and also the artist activities, like make my own work, working along with other artists.
    Evidence: poster of the Christmas exhibition, picture of the Christmas market, a paper of the meeting and short reports of the subjects of the meetings.

    Teaching people of different ages
    Interpersonal skills
    Pedagogical skills
    Competence at working in a team
    Specification target profile:
    I have chosen this typical situation, because, as I mentioned before, I’m not sure where I want to teach in the future. At this art centre I have the possibilities to teach different people of different ages. I hope this can help me make the decision I need to make for the future. I also think that having the experience to teach at different ages makes me a better teacher.

    Concrete activities: I will teach adults and teenagers in different courses.
    Evidence: Pictures of the lessons I give and pictures of the work that was made by the students during my class.
    Accompany the different styles of the student during the lessons. Respond to the different kind of work that take shape during the achievement of the assignment.

    Pedagogical skills

    Occupation didactic competence
    Specification target profile: At previous internships I saw that when an assignment is given, there are all different developments of that particular assignment. What also happened was that the final results all looked like one another. During this internship I want to learn how to keep the diversity in the works. I know there are more ways to approach art, that is because everyone looks different at art and sees the world differently. I want to learn how to see these different approaches and how to accompany that.

    Concrete activities: I want to do a research. During the lessons I try the things that I have learnt at the research. The conclusions I make I will put in this report.
    Evidence: As evidence I will put photo’s of different works made in my classes next to each other and compare them. Making and carry out assignments with a good content

    Occupation didactic competence
    Specification target profile: good assignments are the basic for good art education. Assignments need to connect to each other and what the students already know. If I can make good assignment with a good content I can be a good teacher.
    Concrete activities: I will create assignments and carry them out in class.
    Evidence: As evidence I have pictures taken at the lessons and forms of the lessons.  Rewrite my vision on art education

    Competence at self-reflection and development Specification target profile: I want to do a research at teaching in art. I am not sure what to find during this research, but what I do know is that when I wrote my last vision on art education, I didn’t read enough to really know what I was talking about. I gave answers to the questions, but never really gave my own opinion. I want to be able to do that after this internship.

    Concrete activities: I am going to read a lot in books about art education. I will also talk to my tutor about the subject. Evidence: A new vision on art education, whit a list of books a used. I will also give a few reports of the discussions with my tutor.  Temporary research plan practice research What will I research? I will do a research at giving assignments in which a teacher doesn’t teach himself. The example I will use is the forest-LABYRINTH. How will I do this research? I will make assignments for the forest-LABYRINTH, the visitors have a guideline to visit the Labyrinth without a literal guide telling them what to see. I want to make different tours through the labyrinth, so that visitors can visit the labyrinth more than one time. I also want to find out what other methods exist to guide people in museums and parks etc. 

    3. Reflection Work internship

    At the moment I am working at different matters:
    The assignments for the labyrinth are quite far, the last day of the Christmas exhibition I will give tours through the labyrinth. That means that is the date the assignments need to be ready for use.
    I also guide at the museum, a few days ago was the opening of the latest exhibition, in which also an installation of mine is included. I have worked on that, and also with other preparations for the opening.
    There were also different meetings with instances (fortunately also in English), and there were official openings at a museum and a gallery that I could join.
    I teach at the courses for adults at the art centre.
    I will soon teach at the school in Haukivuori. This week there were orientation visits at the school in Haukivuori, it’s now Christmas time and kids in school are busy with horrible Christmas decorations. After the visit I will know about the possibilities to teach at that school in January. I am already busy with designing different lessons for the school, also as a completion of the research that I did for the last typical situation.
    I also have a lot of discussions and conversations with my tutor about art and art education.
    I am also writing my new vision on art education, which will be in my last report.

    Own reflection: Content assignments and motivation students I learnt to think about the content of assignments to give to students. We always have to pay attention to whether the students like the assignment or not. I wondered what ‘like’ has to do with the content of the lessons. Art is a school subject, students have to learn. About what? Learn to think in images, not in words. Being a teacher, that is your biggest concern. You have to motivate the students with a challenge, which comes out of a well thought trough assignment. An assignment that gives the pupils the freedom to develop their own visual language. This assignment is not more than a step to let them discover the world of the image. For the student it is about that challenge, fun has nothing to do with that. They have to get over the doorstep, that can be frustrating and if you don’t want your student to become frustrated, you don’t give them the chance to learn. A good teacher knows how to teach with so much enthusiasm that the pupils want to do good and learn a lot, so that they will take the challenge you give them as a teacher. I learned to understand the content of assignments, they are the way to make the students make art. I have learned about the size of paper to draw and paint on. Children drown on to large paper and a small size works much better. That also means smaller brushes. That means also that it can be possible that different size in one lesson are needed for all the different students. Sometimes I want to go to a new subject to soon, without thinking about what they already know. It’s important to repeat things a lot. I can now put together a good lesson, for children and also adults. In the next month and a halve I want to focus on lessons for teenagers.   Experiences and reflection At the art course the students are working on discovering how the great artists painted, they learn that a lot of artists painted in layers, and doing that themselves they can make their own work more interesting and understand more about their own work. I also learn about the value of examples, that they don’t have to be a way to crib, it is important to know how to give them examples. You always need to have a lot of examples, for inspiration. At this moment there hasn’t been a moment where I couldn’t control the class, that’s probably because I am a foreigner and that makes me quite interesting.  I also learn that the cliché way to classify the lesson is the best way. Making the pupils work in groups is useless, because art is very personal and what happens is that one of the students is the boss and the rest follows. Letting students work together doesn’t fit my way of teaching. Art is just a subject in school, and I think it’s ridiculous that we have to be able to prove the benefit of art to other teachers, parents and students. If you think you have to defend your own subject, proves you don’t know the real intention of art.   At the tour in the museum I have to pay attention to different visitors, in age but also difference of interest. Finnish people think differently compared to Dutch people and for me that is something I learn a lot about. I also learn to deal with the materials we work with in the course, like the gouache paint. To work with this material myself, I know the problems the students have and I learn how to solve mistakes. That will help me during the lessons.  I also learn that students must keep their work open for as long as possible. No lines but planes. This makes that things start to exist, they appear, this means that you have make that possible in the assignments you create. An example is that if you want the students to paint a city, that it has to be a city in the mist, so you cannot see the details.   More to do from this point Something I want to work on is making a teaching series for classes with teenagers. I have noticed that age is not always important, important is how you give a certain assignment. I want to find out how much age is important in assignments. Making tours for visitors of different ages is also something I want to develop in the last months. You don’t know what people will come and that makes it difficult but interesting. In the museum we made different rooms for different people. We made for example special things for children, like a special room with a Christmas tree with colorful lights and in the library I drew a landscape on a door, but didn’t finish it. There are crayons for the children, they can draw on the door while their parents have a cup of coffee and have a chat in the same room.  At the moment it’s going well and I just want to continue the way I am going. I have a lot to learn and I am not sure what all to find, that is why I cannot exactly say what the next step is. I will continue with the art course, doing the research and the conversations with my tutor, other artists etc. I can voice my own opinion better every day. If I look at the skills I need to have at the end of this internship, I see that most of the things don’t take a lot of effort. I don’t have to look in books of what to do in lessons, because I know how a teacher works. It isn’t new for me anymore. Within the competences there is a lot attention of how to associate with pupils and I notice that when the teacher knows what he is talking about, students don’t really give trouble. They don’t always feel good, especially at teen age life’s difficult. Making them feel good about their work is a lot of the time quite impossible. A teenager has other things on his mind and it is the teacher’s job to try them to focus on art. I’m friendly if I can, strict when I have to be and make sure the pupils actually learn something about art. That they can become frustrated is normal, that’s what they are teenagers for. They have a certain view of how something has to look like and if it doesn’t look like they want, that can be very frustrating. Teaching art is about art and not about social skills. Of course they will show in class, but they aren’t a main goal. 

    Reflection 4.

    Typical situations: Play a part in different activities at the art centre I have participated in two different sessions and a meeting. I am also a part of the latest exhibition, where I have my own installation.
    Evidence: Official openings exhibitions: - GalleriAri - TaideMuseo Mikkeli  I have been at different official openings of new exhibitions. If you own an art centre, it’s important to make sure everybody knows who you are. These activities are very important in that way. It’s also important to know what is going on in the area considering art.
    GalleriAri is a small gallery in the city of Mikkeli, the art sold in this gallery isn’t the best, but get’s sold very good. To me it seems the openings are fast after one another, I have already visited two openings in the last two months.
    I have also visited one opening at the Art Museum Mikkeli, this was an opening of contemporary art, the artists were also there. This was much more official compared to the openings at the gallery. It was hard to follow, because I don’t speak Finnish, but still very interesting. During the talk about the artist’s work a child was following the lines of a wooden sculpture. She forgot the world around her en was completely focused on this sculpture. It was good to observe this, see how children view art. In my research I find out that you don’t always need words to consider pictures, and for me this was the perfect example. Especially children don’t always need words, because they see the world different than adults.  
    Christmas exhibition This exhibition is very interesting at this internship. Not only do I have the chance to guide people trough the museum, there are also other aspects. This is la multicultural exhibition: Russian, Finnish and twice Dutch. It is about Christmas, something all these cultures celebrate, still you can clearly see the difference between these three cultures. Within the exhibition different aspects of Christmas are brought together. In the tour I could show the visitors the differences between these three cultures at Christmas, seen through the eyes of artists (and a student). 
    Skills with these typical situation: Competence at working in a team This has all to do with teamwork, that went very well. Sometimes I had the feeling that I didn’t know as much as the real artists, that I had to learn a lot, but that is normal. Sometimes it made it hard to know what it al was about, like at the meetings with some people. I couldn’t follow this meeting, but tried my hardest, it also had to do with the fact that I hadn’t been there very long to know what this art centre was all about. As time goes by I get to know more people important for the existence of Saksala ArtRadius. Organizational skill I could play a reasonable part at the organization of the Christmas exhibition. This went well, I didn’t had the feeling anything went wrong. I did what I had to do, without problems.
    Competent at working with the neighborhood Without cooperation with the surroundings this art centre would not exist, clearly this skill was used. Environmental focus If you have an art centre you have to find a way to please the visitor and try to give them what you think they need to know about art. You have pay attention to the fact that your own culture is different from the Finnish culture. The activities outside teaching are true more important than teaching itself. You they don’t know who you are, they don’t come to your art courses. 

    Typical situation Teaching people of different ages I have only been teaching at adults, soon I will be teaching at teenagers en guide people of different ages. I did have had a lot of conversations about art education for children and I am also working on designing lessons for teenagers. At previous internships I have been teaching teenagers, so I do have that experience. I have also been teaching adults before, but never art. I could use these previous experiences in this internship. I noticed that adults are not easy to teach, because they expect a lot from themselves. There are adults who have just started, but in the same group are also people that have been in this art course quite long. The assignments need to fulfill both needs and that is not easy, but after a lot of talking about it I could find a way to make proper assignments. Marja could really help me with that, she has a lot of experience in this field.

    Interpersonal skills In what I did so far in internships is that teaching adults is completely different compared to teaching teenagers. You can listen more to their opinion, most of the adults were at the course quite long, so they knew what to expect from the course. I treaded the new people at the course the same as teenagers at previous internships. Not in the way I talked to them, but in the way of explaining a new assignment. Pedagogical skills In this group it is not hard to make them feel comfortable. Adults are quite easy in that way. This skill was not really a problem to manage. When there was some frustration, it was about their own work. Solving that was telling them what they could change to make it more accurate.

    Competence at working in a team I include this skill, because I didn’t know a lot about teaching art to adults, so I had a lot o f conversations with Marja about this.

     Typical situation: Accompany the different styles of the student during the lessons. Respond to the different kind of work that take shape during the achievement of the assignment.

    Pedagogical skills In this course it goes automatically with the adults that already in the course for a while. They have already developed a working method to paint. It was difficult trying to paint in a completely other way than they were used to. Eventually they did a great job. There was one new woman and for here this was a good assignment also, because she could let go her ideas about finished paintings. She made work that wasn’t perfect and didn’t have to be.

    Occupation didactic competence At the course I responded to the fact that they already had a technique. It is very interesting to look at other artists, looking at how they painted, to expand your own style. They learn to paint in a way that is new for them and they don’t own. They also learn about the possibilities of paint.  Making and carry out assignments with a good content

    Occupation didactic competence I didn’t only created assignments for adults, but also for teenagers and children. I put these assignments in a form and they are ready to be given in class. The assignments for teenagers will be given by me at the school in Haukivuori. I have been able to acquaintance making assignments, including everything that is important with creating them. I have also learned about the importance of examples and I can’t imagine teaching art without these examples. Rewrite my vision on art education

    Competence at self-reflection and development I wrote this typical situation when I already did this internship. It is not literally teaching, but it is very importing to know how you think about teaching when you stand in front of a class. Rewriting my vision on art education will make that I can create better assignments. Before I went here I wasn’t sure whether I could become a good teacher or not, but now I am sure that I can. I can see that in the work the student at the course make, I can see the quality of that and I know that’s quite high. So in reality this skill will help me the best to become a good teacher. That’s why I have chosen for this skill to develop. 


    Because adults want to talk about art so much, we take from children their freedom. There are different ways to look at art and make that into an image. If you give the children scheme’s , you give them just one possibility.  To a child a chair is a thing, not a line. The scheme of a chair is not a chair nor the felling of the object. A child needs to choose the plastic form of chair, not the literal version. It’s about the relation the object has within the space.  Bad teachers expect their students to draw like adults think they see the world: like a picture. They forget that everyone sees the world differently. Art is not like a photograph, it’s another view at the world and gives the viewer a new idea about the world. About environment: for a Dutch person there is no snow in the winter, because it rarely snows in Holland.   Art teachers often underestimate their own field, sometimes it looks like they don’t have confidence about art.   Drawing in schemes has to do with wanting to make structures, a step to abstraction en learning how to read, that means no visual development.  Art is not easy to explain art with words. Making art is thinking in the visual language, not in the literal language.  You have to make sure that your student are working on the whole page at the same time, that’s how you can prevent them loosing themselves in one detail and forget the whole picture. They have to learn also to use the different possibilities of the material. Give an answer to what is happening on the paper. The second part is to go on the way they were working.   Juva January 9th The first part of this meeting was about the history of the building. In this building they want to make a new art centre, goal is that this region will be visited more by tourists from Finland and abroad. During this meeting different presentations will be given by different people that were relevant in this business. After lunch there were more presentations and after that we were divided in small groups trying to make up ideas for this particular art centre. I was in the culture group, but there were also other groups. This smaller meeting was in English and easy to follow. The theme of this art centre will be wellness. After the brainstorm we talked with the groups together about with what every group has come up with. Every group had written their ideas on a paper so everybody could see them. Then they made their conclusion, and the meeting had ended. 

    5. Practice Research

    I will do a research about how to guide people and give them assignments, without being there personally. During my last internship I had to teach by computer to students at home. I made presentations in PowerPoint to teach about different techniques used in art. In this way I can use what I learned at my previous internship in this internship.  
    I ask myself two questions:
    In what way can you guide people without being there yourself?
    How do they guide at other museums? 
    I will use the forest-LABYRINTH as an example, so that I can try it practically. The museums that I have visited for this investigation are the Art Museum Mikkeli and the Alvaar Aalto museum in Jyväskylä. I will also go to Helsinki to visit the Kiasma Museum for contemporary art. I went in the labyrinth a lot, to make sure I really know it well, to know where the beautiful places are and what the best routes are.  First I will give some information about the labyrinth en the assignments I have come up with. Then I will give a summary of the information I found in the books for children. About the Labyrinth Routes for different ages and interests. Children can only visit the labyrinth with an adult. For adults the labyrinth can have an inspiring function. 

    To do:
    - Think about different target groups.
    - Make up different kind of tours.
    - Names and artists of the works in the labyrinth.
    - Pictures with the works.
    - Planning quests
    - Make new map of the labyrinth 

    Art in the labyrinth:
    · Rolling Coat – Janina Rudnicka – Poland, 2006
    · Make up for Nature – Janina Rudnicka – Poland, 2006
    · Watcher – Mari Shields – USA/the Netherlands, 2007*
    · Trunks – Mari Shields – USA/the Netherlands, 2005*
    · Moose – Irene Anton – Germany, 2007
    · Dog black – Yiliz Guner – Turkey, 2006*
    · Dog Green – Yiliz Guner – Turkey, 2006*
    · Stone Labyrinth – Irene Anton – Germany, 2007
    · Untitled – Mari Shields – USA/the Netherlands, 2005*
    · Portrait Hall – Behrouz Rae/Fereshte Moosavi – Iran, 2008
    · The Still of Color – Marijke Bongers – the Netherlands, 2008
    · Door of perception – Varol Topaç – Turkey, 2008* 

    *These artists are also outside the Labyrinth  

    Information from books: I have been searching in different books specialized for children. The talked about one artist per book. It was interesting how they make children understand the work of artists.   Possible ideas for the Labyrinth:  - Parents with young children get, before they go in the labyrinth a folder with basic information about the labyrinth and how they can tell their children about what they see in the labyrinth.
    - Make some kind of puzzle tours through the labyrinth for children of different ages.
    - Let the children give a tour for their parents. To make sure they know more than their parents, they get a package with items that will help them give a professional tour.
    - At the end: if you could place a sculpture of your own, where should it be?
    - Make a link with the sculptures that are outside the labyrinth in the park.
    - Creating different routes through the labyrinth, each with a different theme, like sounds, adventure etc. Findings It’s possible to create tours without literally giving them yourself. I knew that, but it was nice to see that it already happens a lot. I didn’t know how to make these assignments and tours, so that was good to learn. I am satisfied with the end results. 

    6. NEW Vision on art education 

    Making plastic art is like developing a new language, the language of the image. This language is different for everybody, that’s what makes this subject so difficult, even for the art teacher. He will be confronted with this fact by his students over and over. Making images is personal, I see other things in the world than my sister, my friend and my colleague. This is what happens in art, all these different views become visible in the work the artists make. In art anything is possible and that is what makes art so difficult to understand and to teach. The challenge is to bring every student as far as possible, observing how he sees the world and makes this into an image. With that there are no patterns, this represents a common view and, as I said before, there is no such thing. Everybody sees the world differently and if you look at the work of someone else even you don’t see exactly how that person sees the world, because of a different background. You can only guess if what you think it means is what the maker means.   If you learn to speak visual, you learn to think in a different way, that takes time. A start is to work from the material and not from a literal point. The assignment is the middle to get the students to discover the material. In the end it doesn’t matter whether the end results are all different from the original idea. When you think about a landscape during painting, your work would have a lot of things in it that have to do with a landscape. The assignment you give the students is not certain, it has to be possible to change it.  Examples are very useful in every lesson. Showing images from all different artist gives the students new opportunities in their own work, it also shows that artists see the world variously, and that photographic painting isn’t the only way of painting. Different part of the assignment as examples is a good idea, when students want to copy parts of the examples, in the next step they have to find their own way to continue.   Choices in visual art are not only focused on your personal opinion, the value of the image as an autonomous object is also important. That is why it’s always important to distance yourself from your work sometimes during working. You can do that in the lessen to tell about the new step the student need to make, they have to put down their brush an look at what you’re showing them. When they go back to their work, they can look at it with a fresh view.  The problem these days is that the viewer wants to explain his work with words and he also expects this form the creator. Its not odd that the creator can’t tell anything about his own work. That is because, when he made the work, he thought in another language. I never expect my student to explain their own work.  The personal view of the student is the guideline for the accompaniment of the different students. The teacher has to look closely at the work of the student to know how to get the student to the next step in his work. Sometimes the colors are most important in a student’s work and sometimes it’s more about the technique or perspective. It’s important to know how to accompany each different student. It’s important to know how to accompany each different student. That’s difficult in the beginning, but starts to become easier when you get more experience. The teacher has to be careful not to push the student in a certain direction, he needs to accompany every student from the work he makes and the possibilities in that particular work.  Everyone can paint and sculpture, the job for the teacher is to make assignments that have the same difficulty for every student. Every student has to make the assignments in his own difficulty. You see often that assignment are too easy for students that already can paint or sculpture and too difficult for student that don’t have this skillfulness. If you teach like this, you give the more abstract painters and sculptures the chance to express themselves in their own way. The first thing I do is giving the students the basics to make art. If you don’t give them a good basic, they will never be able to have any freedom in their work. I know how to work with certain materials and if the students can do that, they have more freedom to try and do different things within the different possibilities. 

    7. Final Skills

    I have met different people important for the art world in this region:
    · Secretary general of the regional culture found Etelä Savon Kulttuurirahasto: Jorma Julkonen
    · Secretary general of Etelä Savon Taidetoimikunta (regional arts council): Riitta Moisander
    · Chairman of the Etelä Savon Taidetoimikunta: Kirsimaria Törönen-Ripatti
    · Director of Art Museum Mikkeli: Matti Karttunen
    · Owner gallary GalleriAri: Ari Hänninen
    · Irina Sentuirova: coordinator foreign relations of the secondary vocational training for traditional culture
    · Tuula Kääriäinen: Laaninhallitus (Regional Government)
    · Pirjo Ale-Kapee: Mahera (head of the three provinces, Eastern-Finland)
    · Antti Mattila: Head of the Youth department of the region Mikkeli 
    With a few of these people I talked about the quality of art education, not only that in Finland, but also in other countries. Findings are that it’s going downhill. It was interesting to learn how they think about education in art. The biggest problem in education is the government and the money to create proper education in art. The accent is not on art in education but other subjects in school. I will not give my personal opinion too much, because, as most young teachers, I am an idealist who still thinks a miracle will happen and art education will be very important someday.   What I can tell is that I have learned a lot. I can create lessons with a good content, suitable for every age, every level. I also understand the process a student goes through painting. By making my own work, working with a material I haven’t worked with much (gouache), I learned to deal with frustration if the material doesn’t do what you want. I can’t always be fun and easy, most of the time painting or sculpturing is hard work. I have also learned that you can make more assignments with just one theme. I know the value of examples and that is something I will always use in the future.   Before I started I was unsure about if I could ever become an art teacher, but now I am sure that I can become an art teacher, and a very good one. What I have seen at previous internships is that teachers pick assignments from a method like as if they looking for a recipe for dinner, without looking at the level of difficulty or knowing what their students already can do.   Before I came here I was very wrong about a lot of things, sometimes I didn’t know what I was talking about, I just said what my teachers said, because that was the only thing I knew. This experience was very refreshing. I know now what kind of teacher I am and I have also learned this in practice experience.  I understand now even more the value of art in education.

    Céline Roesthuis,

    Zwolle, February 2009

    See also the artistic work of Céline Roesthuis.

    The artist-in-residence is supported by:

    Arts Council Finland
    AllaprimA foundation the Netherlands
    AREFS taide ja kulttuuri ry Finland

    Saksala ArtRadius

    information |Marja de Jong | mobile 00358 (0)50 4625 675 | info@arefs.org |

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