International Journal of Art & Design Education

Hunting for Monsters: Visual Arts Curriculum as Agonistic Inquiry (pages 19–31)

Volume 33.1   2014



This article explores the possibilities of placing curriculum design in close proximity with participatory contemporary art projects that potentially activate our capacities and willingness to re-vision the future of art education. In this curricular questing we have been drawn toward art that encompasses participatory forms – chiefly relational art and relational antagonism in art – en route to modes of lived-curriculum as agonistic inquiry. We start with an account of the historical present as engulfed in past curricular tensions with curriculum design experiencing an arrested development in its reliance on outdated, causal models of learning in order to assume greater certainty over learning. This produces an illusion of efficiency and comes with particular costs. The interaction between the distinct perspectives of curriculum-as-plan and curriculum-as-lived offers a number of theoretical opportunities for art educators to re-engage with curricula. Next, we explore the notion of an uncertain curriculum, drawing upon relational aesthetics and bricolage to highlight curriculum as a negotiated space, while offering a student art project example that illustrates a non-deterministic and participatory form. The authors suggest that while relational aesthetics and bricolage are helpful in the space between curriculum-as-plan and curriculum-as-lived, these are also limited. Further, we share examples and possibilities for reconsidering curriculum as inquiry, inspired by relational antagonism in contemporary art. Finally, we end with a plea for the necessity of monstrous curricular excesses and conflicts in perforating both our students' and our own current and historical borders of a field yet to come.