Newcomer to Expert Practitioner: Identifying emerging communities of practice in extra-curricular student engagement activities in art and design
This case study reports on research exploring student experiences supporting the Saturday Club programme within Manchester Metropolitan University’s Arts and Humanities faculty, demonstrating the value of a communities of practice model in understanding student engagement in extracurricular art and design activities. The study was informed by Lave and Wenger’s communities of practice model, and the process of “legitimate peripheral participation” through which participants gain legitimacy in their domain of interest (Lave and Wenger, 1991), and explores how this theory can illuminate student experiences in supporting Saturday Club.
Results of the study show that student experiences coalesced into a journey common to each participant, beginning with nervousness, followed by a sense of increased confidence, through which an expert practitioner role began to develop, leading to sense of confidence in one’s knowledge, and an ability and willingness to share this with an audience. This journey can be understood as a move from newcomer to established practitioner situated within a network of relationships and dialogic methods, which map to Wenger’s community of practice model.
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