Beit Berl College (ISRAEL)
About this paper:
Appears in: ICERI2018 Proceedings
Publication year: 2018
Page: 50 (abstract only)
ISBN: 978-84-09-05948-5
ISSN: 2340-1095
doi: 10.21125/iceri.2018.0101
Conference name: 11th annual International Conference of Education, Research and Innovation
Dates: 12-14 November, 2018
Location: Seville, Spain
In the last decade art-educators strive to integrate critical pedagogy within the art classroom. Yet, growing empirical evidence show that these efforts often has resulted in art projects in which art teachers play an active role in the process of critical teaching, while the students remain passive listeners. In this common scenario, the teachers/artists become authoritarian moral guides of critical thinking and acting. The students, and the community, are often found to be indifferent or play along to satisfy the teachers'/artists aspirations. These responses indicate that the message of critical pedagogy – transforming the students' way of thinking and acting – mostly do not fulfill its emancipation goals.

This study investigates new art projects that wish to construct critical thinking and acting through the art. This type of projects replace the individual producer with a collaborative work; switch the finite work with an ongoing project; and transforms the passive learner to an engaged co-producer. The research delves into the pedagogical framework of two of these art projects. Qualitative methods, that included in-depth interviewing of the 4 of the projects' initiator and managers, were used in order to access understandings of the pedagogical concepts and methods used in the projects "everyday life". The projects – "Empty House" and "(Re)naming the Streets" – conducted in Israel in the last decade. The projects involved large groups of participants, and lasted from a few weeks to few months. Local Israeli Jewish and Arab-Palestinian artists led the projects. "Empty House" is a group of non-profit art-collective known for invading and activating abandoned and neglected spaces in Jerusalem. Around each site that is invaded, the group bring together volunteers that build an infrastructure that allows the transform of the place into an independent cultural hall. "(Re)naming the Streets" is a project led by the artist Wagih Sedawi located in a village in Wadi Ara, were the streets have no names. The absence of street names, and thus personal address, enables to control the residents' votes during elections. Naming the street by producing clay signs, and implementing them in the public sphere together with community members, disrupted this un-democratic system.

Analyzing the different ways the projects use the tools of critical pedagogy, expose how the new art projects avoid the prepackaged "critical" assumptions and praxis, thus turning the participants from passive carriers of critical thinking to agents that actively use criticism. Findings invite researchers to explore new avenues for understanding critical pedagogy and the ways to implement critical pedagogy during art education, in view of the growing need of critical thinking and acting in school/society.
Critical pedagogy, education through art, art projects.