Psycho classrooms: teaching as a work of art

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Taking its title from Psycho Buildings (2008), an exhibition of architectural sculptures at the Haywood Gallery, London (UK), this paper explores the complex relationship between pedagogy and space. Specifically, it aims to re/conceptualise teaching and learning as 'aesthetic encounters', paying attention to the haptic, experiential and participatory aspects of spatialised pedagogic practice. Drawing on examples taken from pedagogic art, a field of practice hitherto neglected within critical pedagogy, it is argued that the design, construction and critique of teaching and learning spaces needs to engage with the aesthetic distribution of what can be seen, said, and experienced by teachers and learners. These ideas are explored through one example of a psycho classroom, The Reinvention Centre at Westwood at the University of Warwick (UK). It is suggested that as spaces of creative dissensus and ruin, psycho classrooms can work to disrupt and reconfigure the distribution of the sensible (Ranciere 2004) and as such represent spaces of potentiality.

Keywords: Ranciere; The Reinvention Centre at Westwood; aesthetics; classrooms; critical pedagogy; pedagogic art

Document Type: Research Article


Affiliations: Department of Sociology, University of Warwick, Coventry, UK

Publication date: February 1, 2011

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