As a follow-up to the session held on August 31, 2021 on “Role of Art and Beauty in Vital Education”, another session was organised on September 7, 2021 by the School of Liberal Arts and Human Sciences, and Sri Aurobindo Integral Life Center, Auro University, Surat in which Dr. Beloo Mehra from AuroBharati engaged in an interaction with Ms. Jayashree Ashok, Co-founder and Director of Creative School, Bengaluru. Together they explored the topic – “Art that Refines, Heals and Transforms: Insights from the Practice of Integral Education.” This webinar was organised as part of Auro University’s Lecture and Workshop Series, Part II of the 2022 Sesquicentennial Celebrations of Sri Aurobindo.
The interactive session explored how in addition to facilitating the development of an aesthetic appreciation, a meaningfully and consciously designed curriculum which has artistic expression and arts at its very foundation encourages learners to develop a keener sense of observation of all that is around them and also within them. Such an arts-based education helps improve learners’ perceptions by a through training and refinement of the sense-organs including mind, which in time could lead to greater refinement and self-control of emotions and feelings, eventually helping them grow more reflective and introspective.
Several practical examples were shared about various ways in which artistic processes and creative expression have been consciously integrated as essential and significant part of the whole curriculum and learning process at the Creative School, which is inspired by the philosophy of Integral Education.
A brief introduction was also shared about the inspiration and thought-process behind what is referred to as Sacred Curriculum and Sacred Classroom at the Creative. These are the foundational pillars of the overall pedagogy of this school. Several examples were shared how a seeking for Beauty and artistic expression is so well-integrated with all the learning and teaching processes at the school.
A part of the session focused on sharing a few observations (with specific examples) about the healing and transformative role of art and artistic creative process. It was emphasised that teachers working in such a school environment must also be given thorough immersive experience in artistic processes, their own creative expression has to be encouraged and given due recognition as it helps them work on their own inner being.
A small discussion also ensued on how teachers may be gradually prepared for working with such an arts-based curriculum, and with the help of Art-based work itself. Teaching as sadhana, as one’s own inner work– this idea has to be deeply inculcated in the whole school environment.