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[teacherartexchange] Liz Lerman Critical Reponse Approach


From: Margaret Angstadt (mangstadt_at_TeacherArtExchange)
Date: Wed Aug 25 2010 - 06:23:00 PDT

This is a highly effective critique process if introduced respectfully
and with high regard for the artists' integrity. Special attention
must be given to the practice of 'neutral question' -- how easy it is
to be opinionated as an inquirer!
It is applicable across the arts.
Though this is not a 'rubric', it is a wonderful, non-threatening process.
There are several ways to use this method: Spoken, written, 'sticky
notes' from all students placed next to the artist's work, and I would
suspect that someone could 'whip one up' on or other such vehicle.
My small contribution to this wonderful group as I await my first
students today...


Liz Lerman's Critical Response Process

Choreographer Liz Lerman's Critical Response Process is a widely used
method for responding to artists' work and a great tool to introduce
to students.

The Process engages participants in three roles:

The artist offers a work-in-progress for review and feels prepared to
question that work in a dialogue with other people;

Responders, committed to the artist’s intent to make excellent work,
offer reactions to the work in a dialogue with the artist; and

The facilitator initiates each step, keeps the process on track, and
works to help the artist and responders use the Process to frame
useful questions and responses.

The Critical Response Process takes place after a presentation of
artistic work. Work can be short or long, large or small, and at any
stage in its development. The facilitator then leads the artist and
responders through four steps:

1.      Statements of Meaning: Responders state what was meaningful,
evocative, interesting, exciting, striking in the work they have just

2.      Artist as Questioner: The artist asks questions about the
work. After each question, the responders answer. Responders may
express opinions if they are in direct response to the question asked
and do not contain suggestions for changes.

3.      Neutral Questions: Responders ask neutral questions about the
work. The artist responds. Questions are neutral when they do not have
an opinion couched in them. For example, if you are discussing the
lighting of a scene, “Why was it so dark?” is not a neutral question.
“What ideas guided your choices about lighting?” is.

4.      Opinion Time: Responders state opinions, subject to permission
from the artist. The usual form is “I have an opinion about ______,
would you like to hear it?” The artist has the option to decline
opinions for any reason.

Margaret Angstadt
Visual Arts, Grades 7-12
Mill River Union High School
North Clarendon, Vermont

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