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The Artist-Led Pedagogic Process in the Contemporary Art Gallery: Developing a Meaning Making Framework

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Drawing on recent research which examined how selected artist educators perceive themselves as arts practitioners and analysed how these constructions inform their pedagogy, this article proposes a framework of meaning making in the art gallery. Art practice is defined as a process of conceptual and experiential enquiry which embraces inspiration, looking, questioning, making, reflective thinking and the building of meanings. The pedagogic process instigated in the gallery resembles art practice in that artists seek to ‘teach’ skills including questioning and critical reflection and promote experiential learning. Hence artist educators function as facilitators enabling learners to engage directly with art works (which are seen to embody the knowledge of the artist creator and contribute actively to the construction of meaning), whilst sharing their knowledge through dialogic exchange. The devised Meaning Making in the Gallery (MMG) framework encapsulates the pedagogic relation-ship between artist, learners and artworks in the gallery and proposes a model of creative teaching and learning which has potential application within cultural institutions and beyond.

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Trained as a painter and was an artist educator in galleries and formal education contexts for several years. She also worked as the education co-ordinator at Chisenhale Gallery in London.

Publication date: June 1, 2009


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