PEN Academic Publishing   |  ISSN: 1554-5210

International Journal of Progressive Education 2016, Vol. 12(2) 138-148

An Art Educator’s Journey of Becoming a Researcher: A Self-Reflective Auto-Ethnography of Identity Construction and Personal Growth

Martina Riedler

pp. 138 - 148   |  Manu. Number: ijpe.2016.011

Published online: June 01, 2016  |   Number of Views: 363  |  Number of Download: 271


In this self-reflective auto-ethnographic research, the author shares her experiences of introspection, change and professional growth as an art educator in an international context. Auto-ethnography is an approach to qualitative inquiry in which the researcher employs self-reflection to explore her personal experiences and connect these auto-biographical experiences to wider socio-cultural and political issues in society. This study recollects stories of the author’s personal journey as an Austrian art educator in the United States from a critical pedagogy perspective. Thereby, these stories present personalized narratives of moments of vulnerability, and the challenges of transforming traditional understandings of research and teaching into critical and participatory art pedagogies and practices. This self-reflective approach provides the author an opportunity to speak from the inside out as a researcher and educator having experienced a deeper understanding of “self” and to explore the changes that taken place in her activities along her journey of challenging the status quo in teaching and doing research.

Keywords: Auto-ethnography, identity construction, self-reflection, art education, critical pedagogy, participatory art

How to Cite this Article?

APA 6th edition
Riedler, M. (2016). An Art Educator’s Journey of Becoming a Researcher: A Self-Reflective Auto-Ethnography of Identity Construction and Personal Growth. International Journal of Progressive Education, 12(2), 138-148.

Riedler, M. (2016). An Art Educator’s Journey of Becoming a Researcher: A Self-Reflective Auto-Ethnography of Identity Construction and Personal Growth. International Journal of Progressive Education, 12(2), pp. 138-148.

Chicago 16th edition
Riedler, Martina (2016). "An Art Educator’s Journey of Becoming a Researcher: A Self-Reflective Auto-Ethnography of Identity Construction and Personal Growth". International Journal of Progressive Education 12 (2):138-148.

  • Adele, ade! (2006, January 25), Falter. Retrieved August 9, 2007, from
  • Ansturm auf Klimt-Bilder: Belvedere auf Rekordkurs [A rush for Klimt paintings], (2006, February 5). Die Presse. Retrieved June 1, 2007, from
  • Anderson, L. (2003, summer). BOMB — Artists in Conversation: Marina Abramović by Laurie Anderson. BOMBmagazine. Retrieved September 22, 2015, from
  • Beller, S. (2002). What is Austrian about Austrian culture? In G. Diem-Wille, L. Nagler, & F. Stadler (Eds.), Weltanschauungen des Wiener Fin de Siècle 1900/2000 (pp. 25–42). Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.
  • Beller, S. (2006). A concise history of Austria. Cambridge: University Press.
  • Berger, D., & Steiner, B. (Eds.). (2003). Inventory: The work of Christine Hill and Volksboutique. Ostfildern-Ruit: Hatje Cantz.
  • Boylan, P. (1990). Museums and cultural identity. Museums Journal 90, 29–33.
  • Brook–Shepherd, G. (1996). The Austrians: A thousand-year odyssey. London: Harper Collins.
  • Bruckmüller, E. (2003). The Austrian nation: Cultural consciousness and socio-political processes (L. A. Bangerter, Trans.). Riverside, CA: Ariadne. (Original work published in 1996).
  • Bruner, J. (1987). Life as narrative. Social Research 54(1), 11-32.
  • Bruner, J. (1990). Acts of meaning. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
  • Clandinin, J. D., & Connelly, M. F., (2000). Narrative inquiry: Experience and story in qualitative research. San Francisco, CA: Jossey-Bass.
  • Crooke, E. (2001). Confronting a troubled history: Which past in Northern Ireland's museums? International Journal of Heritage Studies 7(2), 119–136.
  • Dewey, J. (1934). Art as experience. New York: Pedigree Books.
  • Ellis, C. (2004). The ethnographic I: A methodological novel about autoethnography. Walnut Creek, CA: AltaMira Press.
  • Ellis, C., & Bochner, A. P. (2000). Autoethnography, personal narrative, reflexivity. In N. K. Denzin, & Y. S. Lincoln (Eds.), Handbook of qualitative research (2nd ed., pp.733-768). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Eryaman, M. Y. (2007). From reflective practice to practical wisdom: Toward a post-foundational teacher education. International Journal of Progressive Education, 3(1), 87-107.
  • Eryaman, M. Y. (2008). Writing, method and hermeneutics: Towards an existential pedagogy. Elementary Education Online, 7(1), 2-14.
  • Falk, J., & Dierking, L. (2000). Learning from museums. New York: Alta Mira.
  • Finkelpearl, T. (2000). Rick Low on designing Project Row Houses. In T. Finkelpearl (Ed.), Dialogues in public art , (pp. 234-257). Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
  • Finkelpearl, T. (2013). What we made: Conversations on art and social cooperation. Durham: Duke University Press.
  • Giroux, H. A. (1984). Rethinking the language of schooling. Language Arts 61, 33-40.
  • Hein, G. (1998). Learning in the museum. London: Routledge.
  • Helguera P, (2011). Education for socially engaged art. New York: Jorge Pinto Books.
  • Hooper-Greenhill, E. (Ed.). (1999). The educational role of the museum (2nd ed.). London: Routledge.
  • Interview with Christine Hill (2007, July 4). Retrieved September 2, 2015, from
  • Jordan, G., & Weedon, C. (1995). Cultural politics: Class, gender, race, and the postmodern world. Oxford, UK: Blackwell.
  • Josselson, R., & Lieblich, A. (2001). Narrative research and humanism. In K. J. Schneider, J.F.T. Bugenthal, & J.F. Pierson (Eds.), The handbook of humanistic psychology (pp. 275-289). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
  • Kelly, S., & Iles, C. (2004). Marina Abramović: The house with the ocean view. Milan: Charta.
  • Klimt: Bilder werden am Montag abgehängt [Klimt: Paintings will be taken down on Monday]. (2006, February 4). Die Presse. Retrieved June 1, 2007, from
  • Lacy, S. (Ed.). (1995). Mapping the terrain: New genre public art. Seattle: Bay Press.
  • Linde, C. (1993). Life stories: The creation of coherence. New York: Oxford University.
  • Lippard (1984), Get the message? A decade of art for social change. New York: E.P. Dutton.
  • McNamara, T. (1997). Theorizing social identity: What do we mean by social identity? Competing frameworks, competing discourses. TESOL Quarterly 31(3), 561–567.
  • MacIntyre, A. (1981). After virtue: A study in moral theory. London: Duckworth.
  • Midgette, A. (2007, August 30). A quiet cultural forces leaves New York richer as he returns to Austria. New York Times. Retrieved September 28, 2015, from
  • Maloney, P. (2015, April 23). Interview with Rick Lowe by bad at sports. Artpractical. Retrieved September 25, 2015, from
  • Miranda, C. A. (2014, April 7). How the art of social practice is changing the world, one row house at a time. Art News. Retrieved September 23, 2015, from
  • Muschamp, H. (2002, April 19). A gift of Vienna that skips the schlag. New York Times. Retrieved June 6, 2007, from
  • Norton Peirce, B. (1995). Social identity, investment, and language learning. TESOL Quarterly 29(1), 9-31.
  • Polkinghorne, D. E. (1988). Narrative knowing and the human science. Albany, NY: State University of New York Press.
  • Polkinghorne, D. E. (1991). Narrative and Self-concept, Journal of Narrative and Life History 1(2-3), 135-153.
  • Riedler, M. (2009). Das Erkennen verborgener Transformationsmöglichkeiten im Bereich der Kunstvermittlung [Unveiling transformative possibilities hidden away within the context of museum education], in C. Buschkühle (Ed.). Horizonte: Internationale Kunstpädagogik. InSEA Heidelberg Conference Publication. Oberhausen: Athena-Verlag, pp. 575-584.
  • Riedler, M. (2010). The nature and notion of museums in the age of globalization, in E. Manley Delacruz, A. Arnold, A. Kuo & M. Parsons (Eds.).Anthology Globalization, Art, and Education. Reston, VA: National Art Education Association (NAEA), pp. 54-59.
  • Riedler, M. (2012). “Learning to be Austrian: A meso-ethnographic museum and national identity analysis”. International Journal of Educational Researchers 3(2), 31-48.
  • Roberts, L. (1997). From knowledge to narrative: Educators and the changing museum. Washington, DC: Smithsonian Institution.
  • Rogoff, I. (2000). Terra infirma: Geography’s visual culture. New York: Routledge.
  • Serota, N. (2000). Experience or interpretation: The dilemma of museums of modern art. New York: Thames and Hudson.
  • Wagner, M. (1991). Kultur und Politik—Politik und Kunst [Culture and Politics—Politics and Art], Vienna: Böhlau.
  • Weedon, C. (1987). Feminist practice and poststructuralist theory. Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell.
  • Zweig, S. (1943). Die Welt von Gestern [World of Yesterday], New York: Viking Press.