Carl-Peter Buschkühle, Justus-Liebig-University Gießen/German; Raphael Vella, University of Malta, Valletta. (ENViL Theory Group)

Workshop at the InSEA conference 2018 in Helsinki.

Art Education and Social Interaction

Joseph Beuys’ notion of ‘social sculpture’ expanded our understanding of art to include political engagement and actions that aimed to transform society. In the last few decades, various international artists and artists’ groups have similarly encouraged collaborative practices that focus on process, social interaction and pedagogical projects rather than the production of commodified objects. Given the critical, experiential and community-driven organic nature of such practices, educational thinkers like Dewey and Freire have sometimes been referenced as sources of inspiration or theoretical frameworks while a variety of terms have been used to describe such developments: new-genre public art, dialogic aesthetics, relational aesthetics, socially engaged art and community art amongst others. How do these practices impact our understanding of art education and its aims? What can art education learn from practices that treat art as a process of exchange and dialogue?

Art Education and Ethics

Contemporary art crosses the borders of the kind of art which traditionally expresses the artist’s  individuality. Art as social intervention crosses borders towards the political domain; bio-art crosses borders not only towards the natural sciences but also raises questions of responsibility. For art and art education dealing with those developments the traditional problem of art and ethics appears in new contexts. Is art an ethical and political force? If so, does this force depend on the chosen themes or is there an ethical attitude in the production, reception, or participation of art? Is there a certain quality of artistic thinking that provides ethical impulses for cognition and acting? Working in this field – is art education an ethical education and what challenges would it face under such a demand?