International Journal of Art & Design Education

Investigating the Impact of Contrasting Paradigms of Knowledge on the Emancipatory Aims of Gallery Programmes for Young People

Volume 30.3   2011



Within an emerging philosophy of contemporary gallery education, new pedagogies are required to meet the demands of looking at art, with increasingly varied constituent groups. Strategies that aim to empower young learners come from an ideological framework in which knowledge is negotiated and local significances are produced conversationally by learners and facilitators. Tension exists between the ideological position and the role of the gallery as ‘expert’: this conflict creates ambivalence towards the learner. The discourse of the ‘expert’ and the discourse of ‘local negotiation’ employ different pedagogic strategies, creating tension in the ways in which knowledge is reproduced for the visitor and participant. This article explores interrogatory pilot work with young people at Tate Modern. I use a hermeneutical approach to explore the interpretive roles of facilitator and participant when language-based strategies are used to look at art. This research aims to construct a pedagogy that enables young people to learn about art in ways that take account of their situation as learners.