International Journal of Art & Design Education

Studio Conversation: Approaches for a Postmodern Context

Volume 24.2   2005



This article is on the culture of conversation in the studio art classroom. What can be assumed as simple pedagogical acts, talking to one another, become increasingly complex in the context of postmodernism. Breakdowns in perceived truths, agreed-upon styles, and monoculturalism demand that conversation is looked at in a meta-sense – what is it? what skills, values and agendas do we bring to the process? This work includes reflections on a multiyear field study conducted in New York City studio classrooms. Exemplary professors of art, such as the ones studied, practise conversation through an awareness of their position/biases, being pluralistic and practising authenticity. A history of conversation in schools of art is included to demonstrate historical continuity of artists and art students in conversation. Finally, ways to invest in the act of conversation, such as bracketing the time and space for the act in the classroom, are suggested.