The challenge to implement inter-disciplinarity and to define methods of cultural/class/racial/age/gender diversification in art schools is ongoing.  The readings included here circulate notions of a situated and contextualized student self through ideas of critical thinking pedagogy, liberatory politics in design, and relational practices throughout cultural research and production.


“So often art educators use digital technology and computers (added to studio art production and theory) as an expression of vocational training instead of trying to understand contemporary reality as being syncretic, an understanding which leads students to question their own identity and their relationship to others, and to ask questions dealing with media ecology and the phenomenology of culture, time, and space. Art education as a very risky business, as it tests the limits of language, perception and self, seeking new methodologies and new metaphors, and situating the artist/student outside the comfort zone of cultural and social norms.” (Brad Buckley and John Conomos, eds. Rethinking the Contemporary Art School: The Artist, the PhD and the Academy [NSCAD University Press, 2009], 114–115).



Alexenberg, Mel. Educating Artists for the Future. Bristol, U.K., Chicago, Ill.: Intellect, 2008.

“A culturally diverse range of art educators focus on teaching their students to create artworks that explore the complex balance between cultural pride and global awareness. They demonstrate how the dynamic interplay between digital, biological, and cultural systems calls for alternative pedagogical strategies that encourage student-centered, self-regulated, participatory, interactive, and immersive learning. Educating Artists for the Future charts the diaphanous boundaries between art, science, technology, and culture that are reshaping art education.” (abridged abstract)



Bronet, Frances, and John Schumacher. “Design in Movement: The Prospects of Interdisciplinary Design.” Journal of Architectural Education (1984-) 53, no. 2 (November 1, 1999): 97-109.

“Design in movement allows us to experience, through our bodies, in a way that challenges our deeply ingrained visual culture. If we design in this visual culture without being able to call the culture into question, we do not take advantage of the full range of design’s liberative potential: it is one thing to design so as to refuse any single authoritative reading in space, but another to discover an alternative to reading itself. We are investigating how design in movement can motivate new ways of liberative building and inhabiting that challenge the hegemony of design in space.” (abridged abstract)



Buckley, Brad, John Conomos. “Rethinking the Contemporary Art School : The Artist, the PhD and the Academy”. Halifax: NSCAD University Press, 2009.

This book offers an international conversation on the (re)positioning of the art school in light of such questions as:

“What is the appropriate terminal degree in art?”

“How does an art school situate itself in relation to major universities?”

“What are some of the strategies of transdisciplinary curriculum?”

“What is the relevance of an art school’s region?”



“Generative contexts attract many different kinds of people and their different kinds of energy. Not everyone comes with the same history. Class, gender, culture, race, traditions, belief systems, even nutritional histories are always at the practitioner’s back and shape the content of every interaction. The fact that some people have more knowledge or information or appear to have more or are able to present themselves as having more should not distract from the responsibility of having to live with and address those who do not display the same bounty.” (Raqs Media Collective, “How to be an Artist by Night” in Steven H. Madoff, ed. Art School : Propositions for the 21st Century [Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press, 2009], 24).



Belluigi, Zoe Dina. “Intentionality in a Creative Art Curriculum.” The Journal of Aesthetic Education 45, no. 1 (2011): 18-36.

“The writer examines approaches to intentionality and interpretation in a fine art studio practice curriculum and the effects of imbalance in this relationship on students’ learning experiences. If approached as a critical tool, intentionality can be used to empower student artists in their quest for meaning making. When balanced with interpretations of “multiple voices” from lecturers and peers, this approach to value judgments may enable an opening of “self” to “other,” a relevant concern in terms of the politics of representation and difference in societies that confront similar challenges to postapartheid South Africa.” (Full Abstract)



Hooks, Bell. Teaching Critical Thinking : Practical Wisdom. New York: Routledge, 2010.

“Addressing questions of race, gender, and class in this work, hooks discusses the complex balance that allows us to teach, value, and learn from works written by racist and sexist authors. Highlighting the importance of reading, she insists on the primacy of free speech, a democratic education of literacy. Throughout these essays, she celebrates the transformative power of critical thinking.”–Publisher description.


Mencke, Paul D. “Responding to Critical Pedagogy: Marginalized Students and the College Classroom”. ProQuest LLC. 789 East Eisenhower Parkway, P.O. Box 1346, Ann Arbor, MI 48106. Tel: 800-521-0600

“This study analyzes marginalized student response to critical pedagogy. A University 101 course, designed to assist in retention, was instructed over a fifteen-week semester at a large land-grant university. The course was exclusively reserved for students eligible for the TRiO federal programs; TRiO aims to assist in retaining low-income, first-generation, or students with a disability.” (abridged abstract)



O’Donoghue, Donal. “Has the Art College Entry Portfolio Outlived its Usefulness as a Method of Selecting Students in an Age of Relational, Collective and Collaborative Art Practice?” International Journal of Education & the Arts 12, no. 3 (March 29, 2011): 1-27.

The main inquiry of this article is simply stated in its title.  Although based on the context of Irish higher education, the longitudinal studies and practical speculations of this text should prove useful for any art academy interested in responding to the increasing presence of post-studio, post-object and social practices in contemporary art.