Art and Critical Education

Building on its work in the fields of arts and education, the Evens Foundation has initiated an inquiry to explore pedagogies that use art and artistic strategies to create spaces open to questioning, difference, conflicting views, and thinking together.

We tend to consider aesthetic experiences as especially complete because of the unique manners in which they engage emotions and intellect. Aesthetic experiences thus offer a productive space for questioning and shaping individual and collective perceptions, representations and attitudes.

Often praised for its educational potential, art has continuously been used and misused as a normative tool, balancing its emancipating and disciplining functions.

This project aims to identify and experiment with arts-based pedagogies that engage with sensitive and complex questions, exploring commitments, beliefs, values and abstract concepts through aesthetic encounters, philosophical inquiries, and reflections on lived experiences.

Art allows us to explore the human condition by creating the necessary distance for (self-)identification and (self-)reflection. In times when manipulative and hateful messages reinforce prejudice, polarize opinions and divide society into enemy groups, this kind of distance is crucial. In that sense art is a powerful way to break through filter bubbles, voice difference and engage in dialogue. Such an approach has the potential to transcend the moralising dimension that often surrounds work on divisive issues.

With this project we wish to underline the need to create collective spaces that allow questions to be raised first, without attempting to answer them or to promote a message. We also want to reaffirm artistic experience not only entertaining but as potentially transformative.

Ultimately, the project seeks to support the development of innovative models of arts-based learning that enable teachers and students to engage in difficult ethical discussions – through aesthetic encounter.

The project is in the development process, and you can read about its different phases:
The Budapest Seminar, a space for collective reflexion
The Travelling School, a peer residency for art educators

Building on its work in the fields of arts and education, the Evens Foundation has initiated an inquiry to explore pedagogies that use art and artistic strategies to create spaces open to questioning, difference, conflicting views, and thinking together.

We tend to consider aesthetic experiences as especially complete because of the unique manners in which they engage emotions and intellect. Aesthetic experiences thus offer a productive space for questioning and shaping individual and collective perceptions, representations and attitudes.

Often praised for its educational potential, art has continuously been used and misused as a normative tool, balancing its emancipating and disciplining functions.

This project aims to identify and experiment with arts-based pedagogies that engage with sensitive and complex questions, exploring commitments, beliefs, values and abstract concepts through aesthetic encounters, philosophical inquiries, and reflections on lived experiences.

Art allows us to explore the human condition by creating the necessary distance for (self-)identification and (self-)reflection. In times when manipulative and hateful messages reinforce prejudice, polarize opinions and divide society into enemy groups, this kind of distance is crucial. In that sense art is a powerful way to break through filter bubbles, voice difference and engage in dialogue. Such an approach has the potential to transcend the moralising dimension that often surrounds work on divisive issues.

With this project we wish to underline the need to create collective spaces that allow questions to be raised first, without attempting to answer them or to promote a message. We also want to reaffirm artistic experience not only entertaining but as potentially transformative.

Ultimately, the project seeks to support the development of innovative models of arts-based learning that enable teachers and students to engage in difficult ethical discussions – through aesthetic encounter.

The project is in the development process, and you can read about its different phases:
The Budapest Seminar, a space for collective reflexion
The Travelling School, a peer residency for art educators