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Leap into Action

Critical Performative Pedagogies in Art & Design Education

Edited By Lee Campbell

Leap into Action asks: "What happens when performative arts meet pedagogy?" and views performative teaching as building students’ understanding of complex ideas and concepts "through action." It provides the theoretical, philosophical, and conceptual terrain by setting forth the scholarly rationale as to what performative pedagogy is at this moment across Art & Design education. Contributions are made from individuals and groups across art and design disciplines who deploy innovative pedagogic approaches with an emphasis on performativity. To underline that Art & Design does not only happen within the institution, Leap into Action provides rich intertextual material that draws upon the experiences of practitioners. Leap into Action is intended to prompt new angles from which to examine one’s practice including and beyond pedagogy, mainly in terms of art, design and performance, and disciplines further afield. Whilst Leap into Action engages with performative pedagogies through disruptions, interruptions, tricksters, liminalities, affective bodies, sensory encounters, and technoparticipation, it calls into question what risk-taking means in an arts school context and the tension (even paradox) that exists between wanting to create a safe, welcoming, and inclusive environment and provoking students out of their comfort zones through experimental performative pedagogy and playfulness. Whilst engagement with performative strategies may be a ‘risky’ strategy, the rewards can be great. Enter the unknown, take a leap into action, and have fun.
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Chapter Twelve: Harnessing the Power of the White Cube: The Contemporary Art Gallery as a Liminal Space for Multisensory Learning


chapter twelve

Harnessing the Power of the White Cube: The Contemporary Art Gallery as a Liminal Space for Multisensory Learning

simon taylor


What do disruptions, interventions and liminalities look like in the context of the contemporary art gallery? How do we encounter art? Many artists and educators are no doubt aware of the long tradition of artists disrupting gallery space in the twentieth century, dating as far back as Marcel Duchamp’s 1,200 Bags of Coal suspended from the ceiling of the International Exhibition of Surrealism at the Galerie Beaux-Arts in Paris in 1938 and his subsequent Mile of String that obstructed visitors to the 1942 First Papers of Surrealism show in New York (O’Doherty, 1986). Within current practice, how are artists using this contested space? What evidence is there for provocations, disruptions and challenges to the viewer/participant, or even hostility to the audience?

This chapter explores examples from recent exhibitions and explores how contemporary work has ‘stepped outside the frame … and made the gallery space itself the primary material to be altered by art’ (O’Doherty, 1986: 10). In these examples, we experience the context as content, but this is combined with an acute sense of the emotional and psychological power of cultural objects when combined with new retellings of cultural history. This chapter explores how these approaches can be usefully translated into the classroom to provoke and challenge the learner and disrupt the status quo.


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