International Journal of Art & Design Education

Perpetual Beginnings: The Role of Phenomenological Hermeneutics in Art Education

Volume 19.3   2000



This paper reflects on the role of phenomenological hermeneutics as part of art history and theory programmes in art education. Though initially confined to Philosophy, this branch of hermeneutics can be utilised in Art Education also, as concepts explored here such as the appropriation of knowledge, interpretation, reading and understanding offer an effective tool to investigate the strength and potential of subjectivity, metaphoricity and embodiment in art practice. This paper begins with a reflection on the most effective space where theory teaching can take place and offers the concept of the hermeneutical space, where teaching is inclusive and supportive of self determined contributions to processes of theoretical reflection on art practice. A mutual learning experience is fostered in this environment, where teacher and student respect each other’s readings. Finally, I put forward suggestions as to how this can be realised in an actual teaching situation by relating my own experience.