ERG SES C 01, Museums and Art in Education
Art interpretation in museums (ways of experiencing and communicating art) is a widely researched concept in Western museums. While earlier studies centred principally on visitors’ processes of learning in art museums (e. g. Lachapelle 1999; Hooper-Greenhill, 1999; Hooper-Greenhill and Moussouri 2001; Hooper-Greenhill et al. 2001; Lachapelle 2007), new studies and discourses take a more holistic approach by examining also curatorial practices to communicating art in museums (e.g. Fritsch 2011, Whitehead 2012). Interpretation as museological practice (labels, panels, guided tours, guide books, audiovisulas etc.) is about co-construction of visitor experience of art. Whitehead (2012) argues, that art museum interpretation should be taken seriously, as it is a means of producing discourses of art, amongst them peopleʼ engagement with art (how should we experience and know about art). Interpretation is an educational activity and museums educational institutions, for artworks and other museum object require interpretation. Hein (2011), reading John Deweyʼ Democracy and Education, proposes that, in democratic societies, education is not only the primary public responsibility of museums, but also that museums should practice »progressive« education – in his view, museum education should go beyond knowledge transfer or emphasis on personal meaning making, and should recognize that the purpose of education is to improve society. My doctoral thesis in the subject of art museum interpretation is culturally specific, as it is based on postsocialist models of art and museum education, museology and art history. By placing art museums in an educational field (to use Pierre Bourdieuʼs term) it is trying to answer the following question: how should interpretive resources be made to work to be understandable to visitors (especially non-professionals who do not have art historical approach to experiencing art)? I problematise the relationship between the visitor interpretive experiences and curatorial interpretive practices from the perspective of knowledge construction and consumption. I suggest that the concept of interpretation, when studied from a postsocialist point of view, should be approached from differing theoretical perspectives within institutional, experiential and disciplinary contexts. Despite the European and national policy initiatives in arts and cultural education (e.g. Arts and Cultural Education at School in Europe, EACEA 2009; The White Paper on Education, The Institute of Education 2011, Slovenia; The National Programme for Culture 2012–2015, The Ministry of Culture, Slovenia), where museum collections and heritage sites are considered to play a significant role in promoting democracy, in Slovenia there has been so far no empirical research done into interpretation as an educational activity and the social relevance of museums and galleries, which makes my study the first of this sort and complementary to the research into museum pedagagoy done so far (Tavčar 2009). The study was conducted in a public art museum – a national museum of modern art.
Arts and Cultural Education at School in Europe (2009). Brussels: EACEA. Bela knjiga o vzgoji in izobraževanju v Republiki Sloveniji [The White Paper on Education in the Republic of Slovenia] (2011). Ljubljana: Zavod RS za šolstvo. Flick, U. (2009). An introduction to qualitative research. London: SAGE. Fritsch, J. (ed.) (2011). Museum Gallery Interpretation and Material Culture. London, New York: Routledge. Hein, E. G. (2012).Why Museum Educators? In: Ž. Jelavić( with R. Brezinšek and M. Škarić) (eds.), Old Questions, New Answers: Quality Criteria for Museum Education: Proceedings of the ICOM CECA’ Conference, Zagreb, September 16–21, 2011 (pp. 27–32). Zagreb: ICOM Croatia. Hooper-Greenhill, E., Moussouri, T., Hawthorne, E., Riley, R. (2001). Making Meaning in Art Museums 1: Visitors' Interpretive Strategies at Wolverhampton Art Gallery. Leicester: RCMG/University of Leicester. Hooper-Greenhill, E., Moussouri, T. (2001). Making Meaning in Art Museums 2: Visitors' Interpretive Strategies at Nottingham Castle Museum and Art Gallery. Leicester: RCMG/University of Leicester. Lachapelle, R. (1999). Comparing the Aesthetic Responses of Expert and Non-Expert Viewers. Canadian Review of Art Education, 26, 1, 6-21. Lachapelle, R. (2007). Non-Expert Adults’ Art-Viewing Experiences: Conjugating Substance with Struggle. In: P. Villeneuve (ed.), Art Museum Education in the 21st Century (pp. 123-128). Reston (VA): National Art Education Association. Nacionalni program za kulturo 2012–2015 [National Programme for Culture 2012–2015]. Ljubljana: Ministrstvo za kulturo. Tavčar, L. (2009). Homo spectator. Uvod v muzejsko pedagogiko. [Homo Spectator: An Introduction to Museum Pedagogy]. Ljubljana: Pedagoški inštitut. Vogrinc, J. (2008). Pomen triangulacije za zagotavljanje kakovosti znanstvenih spoznanj kvalitativnega raziskovanja [The importance of triangulation for ensuring the quality of scientific findings of the qualitative research], Sodobna pedagogika, 59, 5, 108–122. Whitehead C. (2012). Interpreting Art in Museums and Galleries. London, New York: Routledge.
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