Art and soul drives mature aged graduate
A mature-aged student will graduate at James Cook University next Thursday, after eight years completing a part-time PhD in creative arts.
Dr Barbara Cheshire also has undergraduate qualifications and a Masters in Creative Arts.
Born and raised in Atherton, Dr Cheshire completed her PhD through the Townsville campus while conducting her research at selected sites around North Queensland, at home in Townsville and in Atherton at her brother’s engineering workshop.
During this time she worked full time at the Barrier Reef Institute of TAFE’s Art Unit as teacher and coordinator of Painting, Drawing and Illustration/Design.
Dr Cheshire said she already had a full and busy life before she returned to study.
“I came to art studies as a mature student having done pharmacy dispensing, and then as company director of our private business, amongst having a family,” she said.
Dr Cheshire said she wanted to return to university study for the structure of the learning environment.
“When your life is already very busy but you believe in your suggested research project, to have the assistance, discipline and structure of an institution is extremely helpful,” she said.
“The Creative Arts team at JCU were tremendously helpful when I did my MCA. I felt the necessity to extend that past study from a different perspective and JCU seemed to be the best place to assist me in realising my aims.”
Dr Cheshire said her PhD focused on “Landscape as Experience: An Integration of Senses and Soul”.
“The study examined if a cohesive physical representation from a structured, visual art system, was capable of developing a Christian experiential visual language, or CEVL, that communicated a sensorial and transcendental experience of place,” she said.
“Commentary on the physical representation subsequently tested if a holistic integration of one human’s sensorial response to place, and an internal experience of Christian spirituality in that place, could be communicated to the viewer through an art exhibition.”
Dr Cheshire said that as an art educator, she also wanted to help students.
“I also wanted to establish if the process could assist students in artistic development as I discovered that the research had the potential for development as a teaching application,” she said.
Dr Cheshire said to finally graduate was an “amazing, fantastic and humble” experience.
“My family and many friends will be there on the day and all have been supportive through the good and challenging times,” she said.
“Although this research is never-ending, without the help of many people it would never have come to this stage. My partner Roger Thompson, brother, John Wilkinson and supervisors, in particular Professor Ryan Daniel, along with many friends were so generous with their time and skills, it makes you feel very humble indeed.”
Faculty of Law, Business and the Creative Arts 2014 Graduation
Date: Thursday, March 20, 2014
Location: Townsville Entertainment Centre, Sir Leslie Thiess Drive
Note for media: On each day, graduands need to be registered and seated by 3pm, so the best time for media to arrive is 2pm-2.30pm, or earlier. The graduands start arriving with their friends and families from about 1.30pm.
For photos or interviews, Dr Cheshire can be contacted on: 0412 632 261
JCU Media Liaison: Caroline Kaurila tel: (07) 4781 4586 or 0437 028 175
First published March 14, 2014