29 SES 11, Spaces and processes of learning through the arts
Why is explicit art in our globalized, rapidly changing world still so relevant? Which learning and educational processes arise in dealing with artworks? Can dealing with works of art be seen as an adequate way of providing learners with the skills and capacities to live and act under the current uncertain social conditions? Following the thesis of the conference we propose that since future conditions can hardly be predicted in the current era of risk, in consequence educational processes also become uncertain. In our perspective, it is precisely the way of dealing with uncertainty that needs to be learned. Hence, we assume that education as well as educational research processes under today's social conditions require both the strengthening of the subject as well as learning to deal with openness and ambiguity. Due to complex problems, the plurality of lifestyles and the loss of timeless standards, we are required to adopt our own attitudes and to make self-determined decisions. Dealing with the resisting and the unexpected has great value for the formation of the self (see Bube, 2017: 16). Art as well as aesthetic approaches can become a model for doing so. In art, we encounter our realities of life in a different way than usual, alleged self-evident things can be broken down, and perceptions of reality can be undermined. At the same time new possibilities of perception, of thinking and acting can arise. In order to open up such approaches to art and to enable and to grasp aesthetic experiences as well, phenomenological approaches (see e. g. Waldenfels, 2000; Van Manen, 1990; Friesen, 2017) in particular have been proven useful.
As little empirical research has been carried out on the effects of art on educational processes so far, there is an urgent need for further analysis. We would like to empirically examine the theoretical assumptions and provide evidence-based knowledge. The main intention of the presented research project is to merge perception-oriented reception of art (cf. Bube, 2017) with vignette research (cf. Agostini, 2016) in order to provoke aesthetic experiences and gather empirically based insights into the abundance, complexity and dynamics of experience with works of art. In a phenomenological oriented research project on aesthetic experiences at the University of Hannover (Germany) and the University of Vienna (Austria) in 2018/19, the following question has been posed: What role do aesthetic processes play in dealing with our current realities in life and how can these be made tangible?
In order to answer the overall research question, an art mediation concept has been practiced and explored in a course with students from different study programs in winter term 2018 at the University of Hannover. The basis of the concept 'Nah am Werk' (cf. Bube, 2017) is to initiate educational processes in the form of a responsive answer to works and in exchange with others. By understanding a work of art as a special form of dealing with reality, original art work – starting from and tied back to its specific appearance in the alternation of individual reception and exchange in the group – is illuminated in many ways. Therefore, the works of art are not introduced as evidence of art-historical concepts, but are perceived as phenomena, where experience and meaning are gained. Looking at individual works in their specific form-content relationships, the focus is always on the specific individual perception. The concept deals with the affects, attracts or repeals of the art work and asks how they are dealt with on an individual level. Consequently, effects are described, associations are named, questions are developed, thoughts are shared, and different points of view are justified.
The abundance, complexity and dynamism of experience in and with works of art require a research tool for educational research that does justice to the variation of perspectives, the admission of openness and the renunciation of preconceived meanings. In order to exemplarily describe the possibilities of self-knowledge and world-knowledge in practical work with the concept 'Nah am Werk' and to methodically open up the aesthetic experiences and learning processes, the vignette (cf. Schratz et al., 2012; Baur & Peterlini, 2016; Agostini, 2016) as a both aesthetically authored and phenomenologically founded survey instrument gains importance. Both in dealing with the works of art and in the exemplary condensation of educational events in the vignettes – following the phenomenological procedure – what reveals itself, is traced back to how it reveals itself. Accordingly, the sensual experience and its reflection forms the common basis. Since aesthetic processes of experience and education are not completely retrievable and cannot be generalized, they require individually oriented research methods for visualization and scientific analysis. The processes of cognition and formation of works of art are initiated by the experience of being touched, irritated or astonished. Vignettes take these condensed moments of lived experience as a starting point. They are a phenomenological analysis method analogous to the ambiguity of art. Through the pedagogical-phenomenological oriented reading they allow for a multi-layered interpretation of the situation. "Language speaks the phenomenon rather than of it" (Van Manen, 1990: 13). With this sentence Van Manen refers to the particular challenge in writing vignettes. Vignettes are based on the phenomenological method of "exemplary description" (Lippitz, 1987) and are "short, concise narratives that capture (school) moments of experience" (Schratz et al., 2012: 34) Furthermore, the experience-laden narratives want to express the general meaning in a concrete individual case in an exemplary way. As part of the art mediation concept 'Nah am Werk' (see Bube, 2017), they pick up selected, special moments of experience in different situations in the museum and highlight the peculiarity of this situation for the individual in the interaction with the artwork and/or the group. Vignettes are based on actual events, as they are visibly embodied in the experience of vignette writers on the basis of physical articulations. Thus, those memorable moments of experience as a co-experiencing experience (see Beekman, 1987) of the students are transformed into the narrative text type of the vignette, in which the vignette writers themselves made the experience.
Initial results show that dealing with artworks enables experiences that lead to the formation of a general open mindedness to the unknown other. In the confrontation with works of art numerous sensual exercises can undertaken and reflected. These can initiate a professionalized (pedagogical) perception, countering false uniqueness ideals. Hence, when dealing with works of art, perceptions acquire a particular certainty, even if they are not always clear to grasp. Furthermore, vignettes as narrations of these bodily-aesthetic experiences are especially capable of training the gaze, in the sense of the development of a sensitive perception of the foreign, Other and not least of one's own preconceptions, but also in the sense of a fundamental capacity for experiencing extraordinary standards. On the one hand, this sensitivity to perception can be illustrated by means of vignettes, on the other hand, practiced in the execution of experience, in the (repeated) reading and writing of vignettes it can be solidified in the form of an ethical-moral attitude. As a consequence, vignettes are not only used as survey instruments of aesthetic experience processes, but can also be used as impetus for a research-oriented approach of the students to pedagogical fields of practice. The results are relevant for all European educational systems in order to form a reflexive and critical positioning regarding the potential of art and aesthetic approaches within the contexts of contemporaneity. They can be utilized for pedagogical professional development and the improvement of school programmes in Europe. Moreover, dealing with art work as well as phenomenological oriented vignettes can provide new narratives that take the European perspective with respect to the concepts of difference and the Other.
- Agostini, E. (2016). Lernen im Spannungsfeld von Finden und Erfinden. Zur schöpferischen Genese von Sinn im Vollzug der Erfahrung. Paderborn [u. a.]: Ferdinand Schöningh. - Baur, S. & Peterlini, H. K. (Eds.). (2016). An der Seite des Lernens. Erfahrungsprotokolle aus dem Unterricht an Südtiroler Schulen – ein Forschungsbericht. Innsbruck, Wien, Bozen: StudienVerlag. - Beekman, T. (1987). Hand in Hand mit Sascha: Über Glühwürmchen, Grandma Millie und andere Raumgeschichten. Im Anhang: teilnehmende Erfahrung. In W. Lippitz & K. Meyer-Drawe (Eds.), Kind und Welt. Phänomenologische Studien zur Pädagogik (pp. 211-252, 2nd ed.). Frankfurt am Main: Athenäum. - Bube, A. (2017). Alltagsgegenständliche Kunst und ihr Erkenntnis- und Wirkungspotenzial. Reflexionsprozesse und konkrete Erfahrung. Reihe LitFilm – Beiträge zur Medienästhetik. Edited by Dagmar von Hoff, Bd. 11. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang. - Friesen, N. (2017). The pedagogical relation past and present: experience, subjectivity and failure. The Journal of Curriculum Studies 49(6), 743-756. - Lippitz, W. (1987). Phänomenologie als Methode? Zur Geschichte und Aktualität des phänomenologischen Denkens in der Pädagogik. In W. Lippitz & K. Meyer-Drawe (Eds.), Kind und Welt. Phänomenologische Studien zur Pädagogik (pp. 101-130, 2nd ed.). Frankfurt am Main: Athenäum. - Schratz, M., Schwarz, J. F. & Westfall-Greiter, T. (2012). Lernen als bildende Erfahrung. Vignetten in der Praxisforschung. Innsbruck, Wien, Bozen: StudienVerlag. - Van Manen, M. (1990). Researching Lived Experience: Human Science for an Action Sensitive Pedagogy. Albany: State University of New York Press. - Waldenfels, B. (2006). Grundmotive einer Phänomenologie des Fremden. Suhrkamp: Frankfurt am Main.
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