‘A Cool Place Where We Make Stuff’: Co-curating Relational Spaces of Muchness

  • Jaye Johnson ThielEmail author
Part of the Landscapes: the Arts, Aesthetics, and Education book series (LAAE, volume 21)


Drawing on theories of new materialism (Barad K, Signs J, Women Cult Soc, 28(3):801–831, 2003, Meeting the universe halfway: quantum physics and the entanglement of matter and meaning. Duke University Press, Durham, 2007); Bennett J, Vibrant matter: a political ecology of things. Duke University Press, Durham, 2010), environmental humanities (Tsing A, Aust Humanit Rev, 50:1–13, 2011; The mushroom at the end of the world: on the possibilities of life in capitalist ruins. Princeton University Press, Princeton, 2015), and relational aesthetics and design (Bourriaud N, Relational aesthetics. Les presses du Reel, Paris, 2002; Ceppi G, Zini M, Children, spaces, relations: metaproject for an environment for young children. Reggio Children, Reggio Emilia, 2003; Vecchi V, Art and creativity in Reggio Emilia: exploring the role and potential of ateliers in early childhood education. Routledge, London, 2010), this chapter narrates what becomes possible when children are embraced as co-curators of space, rather than passive users of pre-determined utilities, and therefore, are co-curators of the aesthetic relationships within relational spaces of muchness. Muchness (Thiel J, Lang Arts 93(1):38–49, 2015.) is theorized as an affective moment of intellectual fullness that pulsates between bodies, space, objects, and discourse. Data presented in this chapter are part of a larger 3-year post-qualitative ethnographic study that considers children’s out-of-school literacies and were collected during summer enrichment experience and after-school programs held at the community center called the Playhouse. Co-curatorial moments at the Playhouse are illustrated through a paint-picnic that emerged one afternoon at the center.


Co-curating Community research New materialisms Relational aesthetics Muchness 


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Educational Theory and PracticeUniversity of GeorgiaAthensUSA

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