Conceptualising Visual Learning as an Embodied and Performative Pedagogy for all Classrooms

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Kathryn Grushka


The challenge for arts educators is to find language and conceptual framings for visual art education that resonate with the transformative and literacy aims of mainstream education and position visual learning as essential. The unique value of visual knowing is now an imperative in our ocularcentric culture where new technologies, consumerism and unprecedented mobility impacts on all students in the twenty first century. Visual creative adaptability and its culturally located critical and generative understandings draw from our sense-rich world of human experience. Grounded in the theories of communicative knowing (Habermas,1976), becoming as the experience of performing self (Deleuze, 2001, 2004), experience and creativity as personal agency (Semetsky, 2003) and informed by socio-cultural inquiry, visuality and art practice as research (Sullivan, 2005) the research connects explicitly to socio-cultural values. This paper presents a conceptual model of Visual Embodied and Performative Pedagogy as a renewed language for visual arts education. It is grounded in material embodied practices, socio-cultural learning and identities understanding as they emerge in an ethico-aesthetic learning space that contributes to participatory democracy.

The paper argues that the embodied and performative visual experience is central to personal socio-cultural inquiry and subjectivity insights. The paper will foreground the theoretical arguments for Visual Embodied and Performative Pedagogy of self with empirical Australian visual education research, between 2004-2007 (Dinham, Grushka, MacCallum, Brown, Wright, & Pasco, 2007; Grushka, 2009). It centers the significance of images in society and the need for all students to develop visual communicative competencies. The benefits of socially embedded and embodied visual inquiry are argued. In so doing it calls into question the illustrative and often secondary role afforded to visual communicative proficiency found in visual arts education and its related learning outcomes. It argues that it is an essential way of knowing for the mediation of ideas and feelings in the new image oriented society.

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GRUSHKA, Kathryn. Conceptualising Visual Learning as an Embodied and Performative Pedagogy for all Classrooms. Encounters in Theory and History of Education, [S.l.], v. 11, p. 13-23, nov. 2010. ISSN 2560-8371. Available at: <>. Date accessed: 29 june 2017.
visuality; visual communicative proficiency; embodied education; performative pedagogy; ethico-aesthetic learning
Part I Goal 1: Ensure that arts education is accessible as a fundamental and sustainable component of a high quality ...