The curriculum in focus: module descriptions
Below is a brief overview of the modules that are taught at present. Please note that the curriculum may change in response to current issues and practices within the field of art education. Rather than being fixed or canonical, the modules within our course are tailored to meet the challenging demands of a constantly changing cultural and educational environment.
Practice and Research Seminar (Trimesters 1 – 2 – 3)
The Practice and Research Seminar (PRS) is a central module offered in the first year of the course. Its main emphasis is on the student’s development and positioningas a practitioner/educator in the broad field of arts education. PRS entails developing skills, experience and knowledge about critical reading, writing and research methods as well as practical experimentation with pedagogical approaches. Sessions are composed of tutorials, group discussions, workshops and exercises. The overall goal is to complete a preparatory research trajectory in the first year, which allows students to:
- develop an integral perspective on what it means to do practice-based research;
- write a research proposal for their graduation project.
At the Master of Education in Art we believe that practice and research are completely interconnected. A research-oriented, practice-based MEiA requires experimenting with art/design education and adjacent experimental fields, as well as learning how to apply research and writing skills. This seminar thus has two strands: firstly, developing a growing body of practice-based research and secondly, developing critical reading, writing and research skills. It is important to discuss and explore ways in which educational practices can be informed by theoretical investigation (and close observation) and vice versa. Throughout the year, various individual and collective exercises are designed to set up a dialogue between all participants in the course, in which experience and knowledge about every aspect of doing research can be shared. Not only does this offer new approaches to the students’ questions, it also contributes to creating common ground for communicating ideas and knowledge between people working in a widely dispersed professional field. The approach to this PRS module is based on the close interrelation and overlapping of these two strands. Hence, it has one team of course tutors who are closely in touch with each other.
In the first year, the programme offers three thematic seminars that explore and discuss themes and topicalities relevant to the field of art and design education. The goal of these seminars is to develop an understanding of research and teaching practice in relation to a broader artistic, educational, pedagogical and theoretical context. The students are encouraged to relate the contents of these seminars to their own evolving research and positioning.
Contemporary Issues in Art and Design Education Seminar (Trimester 1)
Discussions about art education are constantly in flux and are much related to developments in other sectors—artistic as well as societal. This seminar taps into recent debates by exploring a central contemporary thematic/discussion in art education, allowing students to explore it from their own angles and professional backgrounds.
The latest edition of the seminar, called Learning with Others, focused on the topical issue of how the current ecological crisis raises questions for education in the future. How do educational practices take into account the perspectives of others, both human and non-human? How might educational practices in art academies, primary/secondary schools, museums, and communities relate to environments and contexts outside their institutional frameworks, thinking from a multi-scalar, multi-species, interwoven perspective? While this topic might sound abstract, students will find out that it is closer to their own contexts and practices than they originally had thought. It might mean challenging the prevailing idea of learning spaces, such as traditional classrooms, workshops and studios. It could entail addressing disciplinary divisions and specializations and reaching out to other bodies of knowledge. It might mean promoting embodied, artistic, experiential, and more open and vulnerable approaches to learning. Through observation, documentation, and note-taking, students will be engaged in a collective research process and collaborate in creating a shared glossary. This seminar questions disciplinary divisions in art education and foregrounds an interdisciplinary, collaborative way of working and studying.
Pedagogies of Study Seminar (Trimester 2)
The underlying ‘philosophy’ of this seminar is to encourage students to investigate different educational and pedagogical theories and insights in areas adjacent to their specific discipline, educational field and research theme. The seminar revolves around exploring the following question: How can we study together? The returning focus of the seminar will be the tension between the institutional setting of education and the transformative possibilities of the pedagogical encounter.
Through frameworks such as study, critical pedagogy and decoloniality, this seminar pays attention to how education can in certain fundamental ways be at odds with learning and unlearning, thinking critically and relating to each other. Pedagogies of Study will engage this meta-level of education by foregrounding conceptualization, experience and collaboration. The seminar offers frameworks around which the students come together and partake in collective study in both improvisational and situated ways. The ultimate aim is to increase the ability of participants to understand and act within their various artistic, pedagogical and professional contexts. The key issue is that students know how to position themselves and be politically well aware of the multiple situations in which they operate.
Making Things Public Seminar (Trimester 3)
This seminar deals with the public dimension of art education outside the institutional environment of the school or academy and discusses the latest developments in this field. This includes educational strategies and programmes in museums and galleries (from regular educational programmes to the public outreach projects of museums with a community-arts-like character) and those adopted by artists/designers who develop projects that are affiliated with educational or pedagogic strategies.
What is ‘the public’ or ‘publicness’ and how is it approached by artists, museums and art educators? How does one make things ‘public’ within these contexts? The notion of publicness has changed over time, as has the response to it by contemporary artistic/design practice. The museum or gallery setting no longer dictates how publics are conceived or how artists/designers should engage with them. Within and outside of arts institutions, new experimental strategies and media are constantly being explored, and the notion of participation seems to play a more central role than ever before. But how do we deconstruct the notions of participation, collaboration, inclusion or collective practices and what are the consequences of ‘making things public’?
Stimulating dialogue and exchange between theory, research and practice in art education, this seminar presents examples from different art institutions, artists and arts educators and discusses art education as a critical practice. How do various arts educators conceive of their publics? How can educational projects and programmes be developed in different settings? Which skills and tools are needed to work with different audiences? Using the student’s own educational projects as a departure point, this seminar aims to help students conceptualize different approaches for different publics and to develop and test strategies for their educational projects through a final assignment.
Graduation Project Seminar (Trimester 4)
The Graduation Project Seminar supports students during the early phase of their graduate research. It consists of a series of thematic workshops with course tutors and guests. These are meant to provide students with significant insights into the feasibility and potential of their graduation project. This seminar examines the various positions students may occupy as a researcher in art education. This process of positioning themselves as a practitioner is different from the first year, in that it dives deeper and takes into account their current role as researcher and practitioner at the same time. We will work with the different roles that students ‘embody’: researcher, observer, art educator, artist/designer and/or initiator of change. Students are invited to reflect on their own particular way of thinking and working. The specific challenges of practice-based research are also examined: What does it mean to document and observe pedagogical experimentation through different media and source materials? How can we deal productively with the gaps between our intentions and our actions? What strategies help us get the most out of the institutional realities we face during our research? There are two main assignments connected with this seminar: a pilot study and peer observation exchange.
Graduation Project (Trimesters 5 and 6)
The last two trimesters of the course are set aside for individual research and the implementation of the student’s graduation project. Students have regular tutorials with their supervisors and are engaged in peer-feedback groups. In Trimester 5, the course organizes a moment of collective exchange with peers, supervisors and external critics. Trimester 6 is geared toward the finalization and (public) presentation of the graduation project.