30 SES 14 B JS, Public Pedagogy and Sustainability Challenges Part 1
Joint Symposium NW 13 and NW 30 to be continued in 30 SES 16 B JS
The relationship between museums and societies as well as between museums and education have changed throughout the course of history. In recent years an increased interest for museums to contribute to public engagement and participation as well as to address sustainability issues in order to contribute to societal change and sustainable development is seen (Falk & Dierking, 2012). The International Council of Museums (ICOM) executive board has for example decided to re-define their present-day museum definition to better match present day sustainability challenges and complexities. Museums are often described as public pedagogical places that have great potential to promote social learning and visitors’ aesthetic experiences and interest in how to enhance and investigate visitors’ experiences of museums is given great attention within the museum discourse (Falk & Dierking, 2012). However, pedagogical research on the complex relationship between museum visitors’ experiences, curated space and object display within the context of museum education is less frequent (Piqueras et al, 2008). This paper explores museums as public pedagogy with a particular focus on the role of aesthetic experience in teaching and learning sustainability issues in museum education. The setting for this study is an educational programme connected to the exhibition A Right to Freedom – Martin Luther King, Jr at the Nobel Prize museum in Stockholm, Sweden. The exhibition includes photographs, objects, films, interviews and digital media to tell stories of Martin Luther King’s life and work and addresses complex ethical and political sustainability issues such as equality, racism, social injustice, peace and war as well as collaborative action and protest. A combination of John Dewey’s (1949/2008) transactional theory and his theory of aesthetic experience (1934/2005) and Louise Rosenblatt’s (2005) transactional reader-response theory is used as a theoretical frame for investigating the relation between curated space, object display and the museum visitors’ experiences. Acknowledging the role of aesthetics in meaning making, the study aims to clarify how the relation between how the exhibition and the educational programme invite students to experience the sustainability issues featured in the exhibition and the students’ responses to these issues. Through this case study, we hope to advance further knowledge of how museums are constituted as public pedagogical places for sustainability education and to add further understanding of the connections between aesthetical experience and learning and the ethical and political dimensions of sustainability issues.
Dewey, J. and Bentley, A. (1949/2008) “Knowing and the known” in Boydston J. A. ed, The later works, 1925-1953, Vol 16:1949-1952 Southern Illinois University Press, Carbondale IL 1–294. Dewey, John. (1934/2005). Art as Experience. Perigree Boooks, New York. Falk, J. H., & Dierking, L. D. (2012). The museum experience revisited. Retrieved from https://ebookcentral.proquest.com Piqueras, J., Karim M. Hamza, K.M., & Edvall, S. (2008). The Practical Epistemologies in the Museum, Journal of Museum Education, 33:2, 153-164. Rosenblatt, L. (2005). Making meaning with texts: selected essays Heinemann, Portsmouth, NH.
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