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Learning bodies engaging with art: Staging aesthetic experiences in museum education

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How can we stimulate encounters between students and artworks that are both sensuous, meaningful and transformational? How can we involve students’ bodies in aesthetic experiences in art museums? Inspired by Richard Shusterman the article focuses on three dimensions of the aesthetic experience: the phenomenological, the semantic and the transformational. Together with Judith Butler’s concepts of performativity and performance, these notions are used to discuss the role of ‘the learning body’ in three case studies carried out in art museums over a ten-year period. The study sheds light on how the concept of aesthetic experience can be used for understanding the pedagogical value of encounters between young people and contemporary art. Another aim is to show how the body as locus for aesthetic experiences can challenge traditional understandings of the learning body and to discuss how to develop performative forms of art education that actively involves students’ bodies.
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Keywords: aesthetic experience; art education; contemporary art; learning body; museum education; performance

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: University of Agder, Norway

Publication date: June 1, 2016

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  • The International Journal of Education through Art is an English language journal that promotes relationships between art and education. The term 'art education' should be taken to include art, craft and design education. Each issue, published three times a year within a single volume, consists of peer-reviewed articles mainly in the form of research reports and critical essays, but may also include exhibition reviews and image-text features.

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