Summary of Research & Creative Activities

My research focuses on strategies for teaching critical inquiry and creative approaches with dynamic information technologies; and on the potentials of technological visualization processes to connect knowledge disparities. Engaged in feminist theory and methodologies, I create virtual spaces to raise issues of the politics of representation, identity, and visual display. By problematizing cultural inscriptions and highlighting contextualized signifiers that people use to invest meaning in images, I explore through virtual (Web-based) interactive environments social and personal transformative possibilities. I also investigate virtual and hypermedia programs that others create to reveal underlying concepts of reality and beliefs about knowledge.

MobilityShifts: An International Future of Learning Summit


STEAM logoFeminism, Art, and STEM: Feminist Dialogues on STEAM Embodied Curricula
(a project with Dr. Eileen Trauth and Dr. Jennifer Wagner-Lawlor

Imagine this: scientists and artists working collaboratively, not at odds but as a creative community, toward sustainable responses to local and global challenges. Now explore a theory of creativity curricula embodying STEAM cross-fertilization, the collaboration of Art with the STEM fields. Our approach is theorized as a speculative standpoint, a notion developed from feminist approaches to epistemology. A speculative standpoint requires acknowledgement of our situatedness, and openness to different ways of knowing. It requires artists and scientists to translate disciplinary discourses, rather than lose the creative intelligence each offers. >From flow to emergence of speculative standpoint, and from ego-centric to eco-centric, this approach promotes collaborative capacity-building for what we posit as critical features of STEAM Embodied Curricula: a process of translate-abilities, sense-abilities, and response-abilities and/as embodied learning. Speculate on a learning process welcoming mutual critique and creativity. Imagine a creative community taking on the world's urgent problems.

STEAM Research Group: I am working with Eileen Trauth and Jennifer Wagner-Lawlor to form teams including health, science, and art professionals from Australia, Brazil, China, Finland, Jamaica, Korea, Russia, South Africa, and Uganda to develop projects within their local site to address critical socio-environmental challenges, with an eye toward creating a sustainable educational/artistic product that also considers viable modes of communication and transmission in that location. Convening remotely after a year's work via social media and other communication technologies, we will reflect collaboratively on how convergences lead each team toward re-visioning their own future, as an individual and as part of a community--how they were able to think through a local challenge by reflecting, speculating, assessing risk, responding. The goal in the sharing will be to discover and create connections in what may seem disparate projects so that local site-specific work is responsible to global impact. We plan to bring project facilitators together at Penn State in a symposium in fall 2014. We will be conducting workshops and presentations that are Feminist Dialogues on STEAM Embodied Curricula at several upcoming conferences.

September 5-8, 2012 in Vienna, Austria. Sociology of the Arts Conference. Our presentation: Using Theatre for Social Transformation.

October 25-26, 2012 in Trento, Italy (Meeting of the Scientific Advisory Board for: Female Empowerment in Science and Technology Academia (an EU funded program involving several European universities)

November 8-11, 2012 National Women's Studies Association (NWSA) conference at the Oakland Marriott City Center, Oakland, CA. Our workshop: “Speculative Standpoint” and Embodying Futures through the Creative Arts: Translate-ability; Sense-ability; Response-ability


Research on the potentials of visualization processes to connect knowledge disparities and provide transformative options.

Transcultural Dialogue: An action research project, begun in 2007, with colleagues at Makerere University in Kampala, Uganda, the transcultural dialogue concerns contemporary visual culture in U.S. and Ugandan contexts in a project designed to erode assumptions, ignorance, and misunderstandings. The fourth iteration is planned for fall 2012.

Keifer-Boyd, K. (2012). Feminist Web 2.0 pedagogy: Collaborations that sustain difference. In C. Bitzer, S. Collingwood, A. E. Quintana & C. J. Smith (Eds.), Feminist Cyberspaces: Pedagogies in Transition (pp. 251-272). Newcastle, UK: Cambridge Scholars.

cyberfeminist houseCYBERFEMINIST HOUSE: Challenging Inscriptions of Normalcy from Our Embodied Experiences

Goals for the CYBERFEMINIST HOUSE are to change hierarchy to equality, destruction to cooperation, greed to collaboration, and violence to connectivity. Research Question: What is the impact of cybernetic art in redefining human identity in terms of consciousness and communication, and in terms of transgressing the physiological borders of the human? I use house as an analogy for an ecological system of complex connections between people, institutions, and for radical breaks from institutionalization. The five rooms initially constructed in the CYBERFEMINIST HOUSE concern how we are inscribed in spaces and how to transform those inscriptions to match either our embodied experiences or the potential of our lived experiences. CYBERFEMINIST HOUSE is a place where norms (inscriptions) are questioned and recognized as historically and contextually constructed. As CYBERFEMINIST HOUSE founder, my research concerns the nature of collaborative ventures in constructing virtual feminist spaces and the benefits of feminist methodologies as cyberpedagogical approaches in art education.

Chapter for
Explorations in Virtual Worlds: New Literacy and Learning Platforms
Edited by Mary Stokrocki
Reston, VA: National Art Education Association

Body<self-referential organization>Landmark
2012 © Karen Keifer-Boyd

The image of the arrows in the title “Body<self-referential organization>Landmark” connect politics of (body) knowledge and politics of location (identity) as visual indicators for the disruption to cartographic rules of hierarchies of space and (land)marked place. This act of disruption to hierarchies of power and privilege in virtual worlds is fertile work of cyberfeminism and critical to a feminist art education pedagogy in virtual worlds, which intervenes in technological determinism. Learning, leading to social change, interfaces with the technologies of the day, yet learning as self-referential organization, is not determined by prevalent contemporary technologies. Instead, a self-referential educative process involves critical self-knowledge and self-creation from networked associative organization. This process of self-referential organization of self in relation to the world occurs through explicit acts of reflections on ideological and geographical virtual and physical landmarks of what we come to understand as knowledge. Literacy, as knowledge formation, often requires self-referential associations produced through politics of body and politics of location.


The critical pedagogical approach introduced in this work can raise self-awareness about gender inscriptions that people bestow on what they perceive. If we expose these “normative” stereotypes we may recognize that these constructed perceptions are attitudes that prejudice art as good or bad. Stereotypes of females tend to be aligned with qualities not valued in this society and do not match prevalent definitions of art and artists. My goal in presenting this study and encouraging its use as a teaching approach is to change both the stereotypes and the value system toward women artists. In this interpretative content analysis, I sought viewer rationales that they use for inscribing an artist's gender when looking at art in order to render visible gendered cultural inscriptions. Responses suggested that gender inscription impacted how viewers interpreted a work, and how men and women diverged in describing similar themes.

Keifer-Boyd, K. (2003). A pedagogy to expose and critique gendered cultural stereotypes embedded in art interpretations. Studies in Art Education: A Journal of Issues and Research in Art Education, 44(4), 315-334.


Keifer-Boyd, K. (2011). Arts-based research as social justice activism: Insight, inquiry, imagination, embodiment, relationality. International Review of Qualitative Research, 5(1), 3-19.

Keifer-Boyd, K. (2010). reStAGE<deep breadth>activist art/disruptive technologies. Journal of Social Theory in Art Education, 30, 38-48.

Keifer-Boyd, K. (2009). CyberNet activist art pedagogy. In A. Arnold, A. Kuo, E. Delacruz & M. Parsons (Eds.), G.L.O.B.A.L.I.Z.A.T.I.O.N, Art, and Education (pp. 126-134). Reston, VA: The National Art Education Association.

Keifer-Boyd, K. (2007). Body interfaces in curriculum. In S. Springgay & D. Freedman (Eds.), Curriculum and the Cultural Body (pp. 51-60). New York: Peter Lang.

Keifer-Boyd, K. (2006). (In)Forming virtual learning communities through group portraits. In B. Hipfl & T. Hug (Eds.), Media communities (pp. 293-306). New York: Waxmann Münster.

Keifer-Boyd, K. (2005). Sharing perspectives. Journal of the United States Distance Learning Association-USDLA, 2(1), 9-20.

Keifer-Boyd, K. (1997). Interactive hyperdocuments: Implications for art criticism in a postmodern era. In J. W. Hutchens & M. S. Suggs (Eds.), Art education: Content and practice in a postmodern era (pp. 122-131). Reston, VA: National Art Education Association.

Keifer-Boyd, K. (1997). Re-presentations in virtual museums. Art and Academe: A Journal for the Humanities and Sciences in the Education of Artists, 9(2), 38-60.

Keifer-Boyd, K. (1996). Interfacing hypermedia and the Internet with critical inquiry in the arts: Preservice training. The Journal of Art Education, 49(6), 33-41.

Keifer-Boyd, K. (1993). Woman-made space. In K. Congdon & E. Zimmerman (Eds.), Women art educators III. Reston, VA: National Art Education Association.

worldviews & technologyINCLUDING DIFFERENCE:

While art classes offer unique opportunities for inclusion, few include students experiencing severe disabilities. From research (Kraft, 2001) on the least restrictive environment (LRE) mandate of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act ([IDEA] U.S.C. 20 § 1412 (a)(5)(A)), we developed HEARTS (Human Empowerment through the ARTS), in June 2001, to practice what we understand as inclusion in the art class. Ten pre-service art educators developed the HEARTS mission, based on study of the law and "communitarian" (Turnbull, 1991) values of equality, liberty, and efficiency. We outline the concept of inclusion (specifically, the art class as the LRE) as the courts interpret the federal mandate, what inclusion means to us, and inclusion practices in the HEARTS program.

Kraft, M., & Keifer-Boyd, K. (in press). Including Difference: Communitarian approach to art education in the Least Restrictive Environment. Reston, VA: The National Art Education Association.

To explore the communitarian perspective reflected in IDEA and its practice in the inclusive art class, we organized this book into two sections. The first part, “Empowerment Through Inclusion,” provides legal and theoretical ammunition for changing education and attitudes to include students with different abilities. Chapter 1 provides the legal landscape of special education law to harvest for creating an inclusive art education environment. In a series of sidebars of pivotal court cases, we have designed this section to generate discussion questions to help for art teacher use special education law in the United States to create inclusive learning environments. Chapter 2 examines empowerment through difference, exploring the value of diversity, stereotypes associated with disabilities that are often advanced through visual culture imagery, and art education approaches for reclaiming what “disability” means. Chapter 3 concludes Part I as further preparation for maximizing inclusive experiences for all learners by providing guidance on how to work collaboratively with stakeholders (i.e., parents, art educators, students, special educators, instructional aides, etc.) and by offering inclusion strategies that utilize adaptive technologies, and knowledge of diversity from specific case studies.

The second section of the book, “Human Empowerment through the Arts (HEARTS): A Model for an Inclusive Class” beginning with Chapter 4, presents one model for a pre-service art education course in teaching in the inclusive art class as example of communitarian theory in practice. Through implementation of communitarian theory, we explore pre-service art educator learning experiences in working with students of all abilities, including those experiencing moderate to severe disabilities. In Chapter 5, we challenge standardized assessment techniques as ineffective for an authentic understanding of student learning in the inclusive, diverse communitarian art class. We offer strategies for meaningful assessment approaches as practiced in the HEARTS program, and conclude with a discussion of the usefulness of assessment data to further create inclusive education. Chapter 6 draws on previous chapters to highlight how to break through barriers that hinder an inclusive art learning environment. Inclusion practices can increase funding for art education, differentiate curricula, and create a sense of shared responsibility. We use HEARTS as one example of teachers preparing an accessible exhibition of student art, in which they consider both design and engagement aspects of access. In our HEARTS Epilogue, we look back to student and teachers reflections on their experience in the HEARTS program for aha moments of changes in attitudes toward teaching students experiencing different abilities, and look forward to changes in pre-service education.

Keifer-Boyd, K., & Kraft, L. M. (2003). Inclusion policy in practice. Art Education: The Journal of the National Art Education Association, 56(6), 46-53.


Keifer-Boyd, K. (2010). Visual culture and gender constructions. The International Journal of Arts Education, 8(1) 1-44 (In English 1-24, & Chinese 25-44] ISSN 1728-175X

Keifer-Boyd, K., & Maitland-Gholson, J. (2007). Engaging visual culture. Worchester, MA: Davis Publications.

Keifer-Boyd, K., Amburgy, P. M., & Knight, W. B. (2007). Unpacking privilege: Memory, culture, gender, race, and power in visual culture. Art Education: The Journal of the National Art Education Association, 60(3), 19-24.

Amburgy, P. M., Knight, W. B., & Keifer-Boyd, K. (2006). Revisioning the self-portrait and still-life as visual culture. In P. Duncum (Ed.), Visual culture in the art class: Case studies (pp. 73-80). Reston, VA: National Art Education Association.

Knight, W. B., Keifer-Boyd, K., & Amburgy, P. M. (2005). Visual culture explorations: Un/becoming art educators. Journal of Social Theory in Art Education, 25, 255-277.

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Karen T. Keifer-Boyd © 2012
Last updated 9/2/16
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