The main aim of this research is to contribute to the field of 'transpedagogy' (Helgura, 2011) by gaining an understanding on the process of how an artisan-facilitator can maintain participatory flow (Csikszentmihalyi, 1990, Lucas, 2018), with the intention of enhancing empowerment and relying on trust as a synergist, during a school-community art and craft project.
The process of empowerment is facilitated through a participatory project that introduces the concept of 'portal' and other related metaphors of 'change', such as 'transitional space' and 'threshold experience'. This theme, under the title Wisening Gate, was chosen to support the students in a newly established school, by discussing 'change, growing up and getting wiser'.
Exploring the attributes of an involvement that is particular to an artisan-facilitator's role with similarities to an artists-in-school role, is a crucial issue of this research. Artist-teachers' role in education is widely debated. However, the distinctive differences between the role of an artist-teacher and of an artisan-facilitator is less discussed possibly due to the often-confused boundaries between art and craft in education.
Addressing this gap in research is needed because understanding the particularities of an artisan-facilitator's role has consequences not only for the evolving field of collaborative art and craft in schools but also for the wider notion of creativity in education.
Currently, the range of creativity being developed in state schools, is narrow, conveniently comfortable and unsupported by the structure of the curriculum. Sufficient creative engagement time in a supportive explorative environment is an essential component for developing a wider range of. Nurturing creativity in education contributes to the development of emotional intelligence, is essential for academic learning, workplace collaboration and innovation. One of the possible ways of including more creative engagement for the students is expanding the existing artists-in-school scheme to also include artisan-facilitators. There are successful current examples, in particular in the field of personalised education that welcome intensive art and craft projects, such as the Grange University, Room 13, Blue School, Reggio Emilia, and the Coombes approach. These could be considered role models for a creative education of the future.
Indirectly, this study recommends introducing more art & craft in schools, in a socio-political climate, where the national curriculum has become less favourable to skill-based creative subjects due to the increasing pressure on academic attainment. The study supports the view that expanding the arts in schools could reduce some of the adverse effects of a target-oriented, one-sided education curriculum, thus helping to bridge the gap until a progressively new education system that nurtures wonder and critical questioning, based on cultural democracy, is introduced.
The research is designed to inspire a network of those artisans and educators facilitating participatory art & craft projects in schools, whilst also encouraging educational, public and financial organisations to support the providers offering such projects.