The Pedagogy of Installation: Engaging a Public with Distasteful Learning

Monday, 16 July 2018: 18:00
Oral Presentation
Maureen MICHAEL, University of Stirling, United Kingdom
With my use of photographs and collages my research work overlaps with the work of artists; and with my use of exhibition strategies it overlaps with that of curators. Underpinning all of my research work is a desire to offer people something to learn - through the beauty/visual appeal of that work, especially where the 'something' is difficult and distasteful. Projects created withiin this research are made pedagogically, aesthetically and with a learning public in mind. Such an approach seems to speak easily to insititutional discourses of impact and public engagement bu I suspect that beauty and distasteful truths are too tricky to measure to ever hold intrinsic value for these discourses.

Room for Ridiculous Things is a project-in-progress that began with an artist's studio installed in a faculty meeting room. In the 'studio' I created drawings and collages, covering the walls and floor with my efforts and inviting the faculty to wander in, ask questions or leave comments. The ongoing project aims to teach something of a personal distasteful learning of dementia: to reframe the learning of a dengenerative neurological disease and the long-term care of those affected. The emotional aesthetic (the 'why') of the project is inextricable from the construction of its pedagogy.

In this presentation I explore primarily what exactly Room for Ridiculous Things is teaching and how. In particular I share the artistic, curatorial and pedagogic techniques I use to produce an affective response and facilitate public engagement with distasteful truths in (my) learning of dementia. My intention is to explore connections between project, pedagogy and public when art is co-opted sociologically: what is the art/visual teaching and how is it doing that; what is being marginalised or rejected and what are the effects?