STRAND B: Activating Art Education


  • Jason E. Bowman, Valand Academy, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
  • Mark O’Kelly, National College of Art and Design, Dublin, Ireland
  • Carla Repice, Bard Graduate Centre, & The City College of New York, US

Art education at its best, actively promotes a learning culture – which recognises, values and celebrates transformation and social relevance in all new forms of artistic and pedagogical practices.

Paradigm shifts in contemporary art practice have evolved new cultures of engagement that propose alternative future worlds and imagine alternative environments in response to difficult, critical and precarious human situations. Progressive forms of artistic collectivised practices and strategies are currently fostered that eschew individualism in order to address global and local challenges. Art is reaching towards more interdisciplinary, intersectional and geo-political perspectives to address the contemporary issues that foreground our futures.

In contrast – contemporary forms of art education often remain predicated on the persistence or adaptations of precedents established within its own and closely-related disciplinary frameworks. Particular endurances include: the studio as a space of production and teaching; canonical frameworks of art history that are biased to white, Euro-centric narrations; the prevalence for particularised forms of tutoring that warrant the individualism still expected of the dominant art systems into which students are anticipated to ‘emerge’ after graduation.

Activating art education seeks to embrace the widest community of future engagement and seeks to explore new ways to enable greater diversity of syllabi, inclusivity, collaboration, flexibility in ways of learning and in the purposing of art education itself. We welcome proposals which address art education as a futurity with an extended societal role, that recognises the complexities and opportunities of paradigm shifting; to realise potentialities to re-imagine art education and to re-purpose its capacities in light of recent societal, artistic, political and environmental realities in ways that are future-oriented in their world-making potential.  

What challenges must we consider as we conceive of a regime of responsiveness to new paradigms in art’s production, its circulation and reception and theorisation? What burgeoning  imaginaries may provide the routes toward futuritives in art education?

  • How may collaborative and collective forms of research and production gain traction in educational cultures that are still largely predicated on individualism and studio-based practices?
  • What should the impact be of new and ongoing social and environmental justice movements on the teaching of art and aesthetics, exhibitionary practices, and of theoretical discourses?
  • How may the continued capitalisation, corporatisation, and bureaucratisation of art’s public institutions and of art education itself be addressed?
  • How is formal art education to address the developing role of galleries and museums in expanding their own models of education via their public programmes and respond to new curatorial impulses within socially-engaged and participatory forms of practice?
  • What do the demands for recognition of LGBT+ peoples; indigenous knowledges; racial politics and for histories of exclusion to be addressed mean to art education environments, structures and curricula?
  • What are the implications, when thinking through the futurity of inclusivity and intersectionality, for the recruitment of students, and employment of staff and the management of Fine Art education?
  • How is art education to respond to educational paradigms in other disciplines in order to have parity in inter-disciplinary relations?

Keywords: radical imagination, social transformation, critical art education, radical pedagogy.