The Contemporary Catalyst: The Role of the Museum in the Professional Development of Art and Design Teachers

By Jean Dyson.

Published by The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper will focus on how museums of modern and contemporary art can support the interpretation of non-narrative art within the classroom. Through the understanding of contemporary critical theory it could be possible for art teachers to address many current issues with their pupils.

Often there is a lack of emphasis of contemporary analysis and critical art theory throughout the training of student teachers. Therefore, when teachers enter the art room frequently their practice is restricted to well-used traditional ideas. This results only in safe and predictable outcomes rather than artwork with a creative cutting edge.

Museums have traditionally run courses for teachers on how to use a museum visit to support pupils’ work but there seems to be a lack of opportunity for art teachers to develop their own understanding of contemporary art. Nevertheless, museums are in a unique position to provide a catalyst that could engage teachers in a critical art debate. Thus, allowing these practitioners to bring contemporary art issues into the classroom to support a reflective, creative and original production of art.

This study will theorise on how museums can help art teachers to develop a pedagogy based on the critical analysis of contemporary art practice.

Keywords: Art Pedagogy, Non-Narrative Art, Critical Debate, Contemporary Theory, Reflective Classroom Practice, Creative Analysis

The International Journal of the Inclusive Museum, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp.17-25. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 432.288KB).

Jean Dyson

Senior Lecturer, Art and Design, School of Education, Birmingham City University, Birmingham, West Midlands, UK

Jean Dyson is currently a senior lecturer in art and design at Birmingham City University, United Kingdom, where she trains art and design teachers on the Professional Graduate Certificate of Education (PGCE) course, for the secondary and post-compulsory sectors. She has an interest in museum education and has spent a considerable amount of time researching the archives of the Tate Modern, London, the Pompidou Centre, Paris and the Museum of Modern Art, New York. This research, at some of the world’s leading modern and contemporary art museums, is intended to establish the role that museum education has played in making these institutions so popular. The research asks three questions: How does museum education encourage visitors to interact with modern and contemporary art to gain an understanding of this work? What is the relationship between the artist and the educator in the interpretation of contemporary art? Finally, why have these institutions become so popular in recent years?

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