Vous êtes sur la page 1sur 16

Strategies for Inclusion: Bringing Co-Constructive Discourse into Programs for Gallery and Museum Education

By Teresa M. Tipton February 2006 SUMMARY: Collaborations between schools and art museums/galleries for cultural education require new forms of discourse if they are to be relevant to a contemporary context for arts education. While educational programs for museums/galleries, in general, have tended towards the delivery of predominately didactic information to visitors, relying on factual and interpretive information given in written and oral texts to accompany visual encounters, is changing. Progressively, programs are situating learning in the context of the viewer constructing their own knowledge from experiencing. This approach may include correlative experiential workshops, classroom materials, and/or corresponding school visits by artists, curators, docents, and/or educators/researchers. However, in order to find relevancy to today's contemporary art viewer, interrelationships between the context (codes) of the viewer and museums/galleries, must be built upon the development of new educational strategies for both decoding and encoding contemporary art experiences. Dialogic communication strategies, as tools to develop 'new discourses', facilitate giving voice to a diversity of viewpoints from which new ways of perceiving and hence interacting with, the contents and spaces of museums and galleries, can be found. This paper presents an overview of existing museum education programs and the background case for co-constructing knowledge through dialogic strategies. Following its theoretical background is a case study for new practice based on the collaboration between Charles University and the Rudolfinum Gallery, Prague, Czech Republic OVERVIEW OF ART MUSEUM AND GALLERY EDUCATION PROGRAMS: Around the world can be found varieties of museum and gallery education programs, approaches, and levels of design. Globally, museum and gallery education programs are in transitional stages between historical and pedagogical practices from schooling systems and art history practices that evolved in mainly industrialized, Westernized countries or were appropriated into others, giving them a particular emphasis and embedded value-system. While many art museums around the world may have stated interests in education, the remarks in this text will focus on programs that exist mainly in the U.S.A., Europe, and Australia. This is not to say that museum and gallery education programs don't exist elsewhere or that those in Japan, China, South Africa, India, aren't worthy of mention, but because of a lack of published information about them, they will be largely outside the scope of these comments. This paper also differentiates between programs geared for visitors per se and emphasizes whose stated and actual purposes are geared specifically towards education.

Public museums and galleries as keepers of place and space, worldwide, require various forms of legislative and economic participation in order to viably procure, maintain, and present collections, commissions, and exhibitions. Over the last thirty years in the United States, during which time more than half of all American art museums were founded (American Association of Museums [AAM], 1994 as quoted by Ebitz, 2005, p. 150), art museums have come under increased pressure to demonstrate a new public role to a growing number of stakeholders. "Visitors are looking for an entertaining way to learn and expect to receive value for their admissions and sales dollars. Foundations and government granting agencies expect evidence that their funding is put to good use in the form of measurable outcomes. Museums are expected to hold themselves publicly accountable for maintaining specific standards of performance, and increasingly, to undergo a regular, formal review by the Accreditation Program of the American Association of Museums." (Ebitz, 2005, p. 151) While outside the U.S.A., the content of museum exhibitions and education programs may not come under the same level of public scrutiny or attack, (i.e. nudity, religion, violence, sexual preference), museums and galleries elsewhere in the world face similar educational challenges adapting programs to audience values. Unpredictable market forces increasingly move museum and gallery exhibitions into the realm of marketable, popular commerce and compete with other leisure-time activities. Methods that separate viewers as consumers and place exhibitions into the context of commodities which must be purchased for viewing, is found in the manner in which museum and gallery education programs are presented to learners. Pre-determined, expert-driven criteria and materials for consumption by viewers, even when presented in non-sequential, informal ways, dominate the school to museum and gallery market. At the heart of such programs is still the need to elucidate the content of exhibitions and collections. Given that school field trips to museums may not be more than once a year, school-age children have limited interaction with museum and gallery collections unless family and personal interests provide otherwise. Regardless of the development of postmodern theory, constructivist pedagogy, and museum literacy in scholarly literature, predominantly modernistic school-based programs in museums and galleries in the U.S. and Europe persist. Given that the majority of museum educators hold degrees in art history (Mayer 1999/Summer 2005), and that "...many art museum educators still receive graduate training in art history or museum studies, and learn about education through scattered courses, workshops, reading, and experience, (Ebitz, 2005, p. 156), this is not surprising. And yet, since the 1980's, the influence of diversity dialogues on developing new art histories, has changed the emphasis, professionalism, and content of museum and gallery education programs (Mayer, 2005). The influence of semiotics, critical theory, feminism, multiculturalism, cultural sociology, linguistics, film theory, and new research methodologies adapted from the social sciences, has opened the possibility of postmodern discourses from multiple points of view to influence pedagogical practices in all educational realms, not just museums and galleries.

COLLABORATIVE POTENTIAL The encouragement for collaboration, cited by the 1992 AAM's publication of Excellence and Equity: Education and the Public Dimension of Museums, is an institution-wide necessity. (Ebitz, 2005, p. 157). The AAM defines diversity as "inclusion, valuing, respecting, and appreciating the differences in ethnicity, gender, national origin, disabilities, age, religion, and/or sexual orientation." (AAM Information Center Fact Sheet, 2004). As populations age and diversify, collaborations to reach institutional, social, educational, and political objectives are essential. Art museum visitors in general tend to be well-educated, affluent and caucasian (2001 MIA Visitor Survey). Gallery and museum programs serving at-risk youth in metropolitican communities in the U.S.A., hard hit with budgetary restraints, are at risk themselves, as the ARTREACH program by the Albright-Knox Art Gallery which recently ended, demonstrated (http://www.albrightknox.org/education/artreach.html) Given the built-in economic limitations for viewing museum and gallery collections, and persisting social and cultural patterns marginalizing the making, selecting, displaying, and viewing of art, we have yet to see a comprehensive model of effective inclusion to emerge in educational practice. Yet, current trends bridging theory with practice through experiential modes of learning and co-constructive museum/gallery education practices, provide potent models for inclusion across both sides of the Atlantic. In a recent meeting through the Institute for Learning Innovation in the U.S.A. to examine the future of museums through learning research in the last decade, the concept of museums as learning laboratories emerged. (Dierking, Falk, and Ellenbogen, 2005, p. 246). Ironically, learning laboratories as part of University run teacher education programs have been prey to funding cuts over the last thirty years. Such a role would fill a welcome niche and fulfill the need for more museum/gallery visitor as learner research. The University of Melbourne's The Ian Potter Museum of Art, where research, education programs, publications, and social and cultural events contribute to the cultural and intellectual life of the community, offers a potential model for other University/Museum collaborations (from http://www.art-museum.unimelb.edu.au/). Carol Henry's survey of higher education in the U.S.A. cited that the most common use of museums in art education pre-service classes were field trips, gallery assignments, and the use of museum-generated materials. One third of her respondents indicated they spent one class period or less on the topic (Henry, 2004, p. 38). This can be found with the Irish Museum of Modern Art's partnerships with schools and colleges. (http://www.modernart.ie.en/nav_10.htm). Given the numbers of unserved schools and students, the role of museums and galleries in art education for primary and secondary students is relatively unexplored in mainstream public school practice. Given that British pupils in secondary schools perceive a lack of relevance in some arts provision (National Foundation for Educational [NFER] Study, 2000 p. 10), collaborations for learnercentered experiences is a step forward in remedying this. While some museum and gallery education programs collaborate with University students and pre-service educators, without experiences with museums in pre-service education programs, art educators are less likely to integrate their use into their educational practice.

This is where the collaborative potential for research and educational expertise of the teaching universities to inform and assist museum and gallery personnel, has its greatest potential contribution. As Etitz goes on to say, "We have yet to see the full potential, both pedagogical and political, of alliances ...between art museum educators and art educators." (2005, p. 157) TRENDS AND FINDINGS According to Wetterlund & Sayre's 2003 Art Museum Education Program Survey of U.S.A. museums, group tours, along with family days and lectures, are the in-house programs most offered by education departments (MIA, p. 3). Museum and gallery education programs generally offer some combination of the following: theme-based experiences with audio, self-guided and school tours; informal gallery educational opportunities with hands-on activities for children, video or computer learning stations; community outreach programs, docent-led programs, after-school programs, lectures and seminars, classroom resources, and artist-in-residencies or other exhibition-related activities, and on-line activities via the Internet. Supported by interactive, digital and Internet technologies, wealthier museums and galleries may additionally offer virtual or multi-media options on the Web or in situ. 31% of surveyed museums offered on-line education programs and nearly all had museum Web sites. (p. 9) In addition, many museums offer libraries or reading rooms for access to information for art specialists and researchers, students and museum or gallery members. Lectures are the most commonly offered type of public program at art museums, followed by professional development classes for teachers (p. 6). 49% of the reporting art museums offer specialized tours for blind, hearing impairments and developmental disabilities (p. 3). All of the museums surveyed partnered with primary and secondary schools. 65% partnered with Universities (p. 7). Sydney, Australia's Museum of Contemporary Art offers on-line activities for children. In its recent exhibition, 'Interesting Times': Focus on Contemporary Australian Art,' children are invited to look at Aboriginal artwork and relate to it through a series of questions and drawing activities (http://www.mca.com.au) that can be downloaded for family visits as well. The Seattle Art Museum in Washington, U.S.A. offers online games, lessons, multimedia and in-depth information about works of art (http://www.seatleartmuseum.org) and plans collaborative cultural education projects for schools with state, country and city supported public grants for in-school education programs. Exceptional models of art museum education program exist in the U.S.A. in major metropolitan areas such as Seattle, Washington; Cinncinati, Ohio; New York City; New York; Los Angeles, California and Chicago, Illinois. In Europe, diverse contemporary art gallery and museum education programs can be found in London, England; Rotterdam, Netherlands; Copenhagen, Denmark; Stockholm, Sweden; Rovaniemi, Finland; Stuttgart, Germany and Prague, Czech Republic. Within the content of these experiences is a semi-active viewer, who engages with pre-set and/or discovery modes or 'clue-seeking' query from guides. Some programs also offer

the possibility of mimic pre-set and/or follow-up art experiences based on museum/gallery space and exhibition experiences. Learner-centered practice based on discovery and imagination, focused on young viewers at the primary level, and engaging critical thinking about the works of art themselves at the secondary level, underlie such programs. MoMA's educational program in New York, for instance, has focused on the singular query, "What do you see?" when presenting museum works to young visitors. But the question itself focuses their experience into visuality within a didactic model of query, not unlike a typical public school classroom. The Guggenheim Museum's Curriculum On-line begins a more extensive querying process with the same question. (http://www.guggenheim.org/artscurriculum/lessons//movpics_calle.php) Embedded in the USA programs, are outcomes and standards reflecting discipline-based art education (DBAE) philosophy and National Visual Art Standards (NVAS). From the NVAS standards, the AAM identified in its education programs these aims: developing informed acquaintance with works of art; relating art knowledge within and across the arts disciplines; communicating proficiently in the visual arts; and presenting basic analyses of works of art (NAEA, 1994, p. 14). In contrast, cultural education policy in Europe (into which art education is embedded), focuses on these competencies: recognizing and understanding one's own cultural values and assumptions; embracing and understanding cultural diversity; encouraging a historical perspective by relating contemporary values to the processes and events that have shaped them; and enabling young people to understand the evolutionary nature of culture and process (Mason, 2002 citing the National Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education, 1999) As was expressed in "A Must or A-Muse," in Utrect, Netherlands, there is also the persistent eighteenth century ideal embedded in European cultural policy of "...'cultural sensibility' ...the awakening of a curiosity regarding the arts and our cultural inheritance, the development of taste and a sense of quality." (van de Ploeg, R. A Must or a Muse, 2002 , p. 26) School collaborations with art museum education programs are dominated by missions and goals that reflect such positions in both the U.S.A. and Europe. Practice may not easily alter because of new theory, as Mayer points out (March 2005, p. 17), but enculturation as a goal of cultural education policy and programs, is slowly being replaced by empowerment. "With the deconstruction of all talk about the object, the authenticity and primacy of the object are replaced by the authenticity and primacy of the individual's response, conditioned by the context of his or her own social or cultural group." (Ebitz, p. 152). Yet, as existing museum and school partnerships tend to extend missions of public and private funding agencies and public school curricular objectives, their form and content may still tend towards instrumentalism. With the move away from traditional displays of art objects to identic and dialogic experiences of art (Alexenberg, 2004 in Smith-Shank, p. 126) museum, gallery and art professionals must use non-traditional pedagogical practices to position viewers inside new art. Presentational forms that reference themselves and not their signification may not be easily accessible to viewers. Contextual to any educational program is the conditioning and pre-set that learners come into the museum and gallery space with. Core educational practices in traditional schools generally dichotomize learning and the loci of control into hierarchical systems of externalized authority. Knowledge based on

verifiable validity constructs exists as a canonical code to which the individual must demonstrate facility and experience with. Within these fixed knowledge systems however, we find that the experience of our learners outside of school systems is nonlinear, fluid, and multiliterate. Objects and curatorial texts or expert-based query alone are no longer sufficient, where systems of interaction and codes of representation between self, other, art, and text, may be invisibly mediated. Today, a major theme of museum and gallery education programs is the idea of the 'constructivst museum,' using the concept of learner-situated strategies for creating programs with visitors (Mayer, March 2005). Situating mean-making into the context of the learner from constructivist pedagogy is one of the most important changes influencing art museum education practice today. Its socio-cultural origins in the work of Russian pyschologist, Lev Vygotsky (Vygotsky, 1978), have been explored by Horton and Freire (1991), Dewey (1934/1938), Piaget (1968), Halliday (1993), Harding (1995), Shor (1987), and others who laid the foundation for constructivism to take hold as pedagogical practice. Postmodern art pedagogies through dialogic methods, attempt to open a space for a renegotiation and reconstruction of previously assumed duality constructs. "With a semiotically informed new art history, the meaning of artworks is dynamic, ever changing as each interpreter reads them according to his or her ideological context." (Mayer, 2005). Using perceptual, cognitive, critical, and linguistic discourse in the context of one's own experience and responses, are new approaches to developing understanding from contemporary art museum and gallery experiences. LEARNER-CENTERED DISCOURSE: THE CALL FOR SEMIOTIC C0-CONSTRUCTIVISM The shift to "...a learner-centered model in which the learner is engaged in a personal and social process of discovery and meaning making, (Ebitz, p. 152) forms the basis of the current transitional state in museum/gallery education. But alone, it is not sufficient to help museum and gallery visitors make the necessary perceptual and conceptual shifts to work with postmodern materials. Postmodern art requires that museum/gallery educators must reposition exhibitions of objects, images, and performances into a new context for co-constructing learning. Discourse, as an exchange of meanings in interpersonal contexts of one kind or another, (Halliday, 1978, p. 2) opens the space of museum and gallery education programs for new content, meaning, and knowledge. What is missing in current museum/gallery education discourse on this topic is the understanding that constructivism is a co-creative process. Learners are not left alone solely on their own meaning-making quest, but interact in a process of guided meaningmaking with peers, facilitators, and professionals who possess varying levels of expertise, experience, and knowledge. Engaging together with multiple modes of inquiry, speaking, thinking, and knowing, provides the seminal ground for meaning-making and new knowledge to emerge. Vygotsky's 'zone of promixal development,' which proposes that

learning awakens a variety of internal developmental processes that are able to operate only when interacting with people in the environment and in cooperation with one's peers (Vygotsky, 1978, p. 90), provides the theoretical underpinnings for discourse as a coconstructive process. Bakhtin's dialogic looking (1981) as well as his idea of 'intertexuality,' replace both passive lecture-mode and didactic interaction of the viewer with language-based theories of learning. Gallery and museum educators can no long assume the imposition of structure onto and into viewers, solely by the experience of objects or encounters and their related texts. The outcome of dialogic methods is not strict understanding per se, as is the goal of modernist educational practices, but on the quality of the interaction as a primary tool of meaningmaking. Thus, the individual viewer becomes a part of a dialogic process that transcends the didactic nature of modernist pedagogies. In addition to the content inside museums/galleries, there are assumed messages about who museum collections are for, as well as how and under what circumstances they are viewed. There are assumptions about the ideas embodied by language used in information panels, educational materials, and curatorial texts, (when they are used). There are assumptions in the inclusions of work presented, as well as their exclusions. There are assumptions about the significance of the viewing experiences and their contexts for presentation. Such assumptions equally encode into the viewers, the cultural, social, economic and historical significance of the objects contained there, which by their social and cultural (con)texts, embody a political stance as well. "A sign, then, is not a thing but, as we have said, an event that takes place in a historically and socially specific situation. Sign-events occur in specific circumstances and according to a finite number of culturally valid, conventional, yet not unalterable rules, which semiotics calls codes. The selection of those rules and their combination leads to specific interpretive behavior. That behavior is socially framed, and any semiotic view that is to be socially relevant will have to deal with this framing, precisely on the basis of the fundamental polysemy of signs and the subsequent possibility of dissemination. In the end, there is no way around considerations of power, inside and outside the academy." (Bal & Bryson, 1991, p. 207-8) Semiotics argues that meanings are always determined in specific sites in a historical and material world. We also share Addison's view (1999) of meaning generation being an active and dynamic process, built upon the interaction between the work and the person observing it. 'Pictures' can thus be viewed as texts whose meaning is construed in the course of perceiving, i.e. 'reading'. The concept of context is used as a way to help locate ourselves within our positionalities (Bal & Bryson, p. 180). Meaning is thus inextricably linked to (con)text, not only that in which the work of art was created but that in which it is viewed. "Semiotic analysis of visual art does not set out in the first place to produce interpretations of works of art, but rather to investigate how works of art are

intelligible to those who view them, the processes by which viewers make sense of what they see. (Bal & Bryson, 1991, p. 184). MAKING THE CASE FOR DIALOGIC METHODS: THE TRANSCOGNITIVE POWER OF DISCOURSE Knowledge is a way of conceptualizing representations of artifacts. However, representations are best understood, not as stable entities in the mind, but as a process of mediating meaning. Well's distinction of representation into three levels is useful for our discussion (Wells, 1999, p. 67). Primary artifacts transform part of the environment into objects and processes. Secondary artifacts refer to the realm involving the skills used in the production of primary artifacts, such as instructions for making or using something. Tertiary artifacts deal with imaginary activity based on the formal properties of representations without concern for their direct applicability. Tertiary processes may be the embodiment of imaginary artifacts and the creative interplay of ideas. What makes something a representational artifact is the intention for how it is used, not the artifact itself. Discourse assumes a process by which meaning is constructed and identified with from primary, secondary and tertiary artifacts through talk, text, and inquiry, allowing for spoken and written discourse to be synthesized reflectively and critically. We can dialogue about written (and visual), spoken, experiential, and conceptual representations from their physical to their abstract levels, freeing the connotation of realism from fixed ideas of 'representational' art into a wider field of multidimensional structures. Representation as a multi-modal form of knowing, tends to be obscured by the current semantic emphasis on 'textual' interpretations. 'Intertextuality' tends to be misused conceptually when assumptions are made that literal texts are mediators of equivalency to non-text events. For instance, reading the lyrics of a song is not the same as listening to it. And yet, both may be considered 'text' in today's vernacular. Representations can be textual or non-textual, non-verbal or verbal, intellectual, kinesthetic, or perceptual. Representations are ways of knowing that 'in'-form us a literal formative process from the inside out, evoked from the outside-in, as we make meaning of our encounters with all aspects of our visual world. All of these 'texts' or ways of knowing, serve as discourses that can be simultaneously constructed and deconstructed according to the individual needs of the viewers, giving significance to the character and process of viewing in equality to that of the artifacts. Using Wells' idea that artifacts are not necessarily physical objects and are not necessarily their representations but how they are used, opens the space for multiple levels of meaning to emerge in the discourse of artifacts of any kind, whether they exist inside gallery and museum spaces or outside of them. What we find in school-age audiences, is the need to connect the museum/gallery experience to personal codes of reference. Instead of bringing the museum contents to the viewer, dialogic communication brings the viewer to the contents of the museum. Most museums as well as art professionals, choose to (con)textualize their interpretations from

a traditional, formalistic focus, unlike school-age children, whose use of iconographic elements from their experiential subcultures, are projected into the content of their visual encounters. Their codes of reference, in large part, do not contain those used by museum, gallery and art professionals. Successful collaborations between education and museums and galleries, therefore, must be built upon bringing these neo-narratives into discourse. "What we see, hear, and emotionally experience, become us. Therefore, to better understand identity, we must better understand the icons, the exemplars, the literary signifiers, and shaping stories that together become the symbolic systems through which we construct and reconfigure the alternating convergences of our self-knowledge and our knowledge of our inhabited worlds. Identities then may be viewed as semiotic creations, expanded by each ensuing reinterpretion. Identities are signs." (Rollings, Jr. in Smith-Shank, p. 73) Paulo Freire calls this a 'gnosiological cycle' where knowing follows in two separate phases: one when knowledge is produced and one when it is known (Shor and Freire, 1987, p. 7-8) As Freire explains, What happens generally is that we dichotomize these moments; we make them separate. Knowledge is produced in a place far from the students, who are asked only to memorize what the teacher says. Consequently, we reduce the act of knowing the existing knowledge into a mere transference of the existing knowledge. (p.8). This is what happens in traditional museum and gallery education programs when students are given factual and (con)textual information about art and artists with the focus on 'talking the tour' presentations of guides. Dialogic communication, on the other hand, engages personal, social, cultural and psychological spaces. The power of spoken discourse to reveal the potency of postmodern exhibitions lies in the fact of its interactivity, its diverse interfaces with others and the symbolic coding that is developed, deconstructed, and restructured so that it ultimately transcends prior knowledge and reinvents new knowledge and experience from their interplay. "All knowledge, all learning, all identity, is re/cognition. Re/cognition is the processing of thought by revisiting knowledge structures even after they have been carved into a narrative form in consciousness: to re/cognize has the ultimate effect of disrupting previous forms. Re/cognition shaves away at the integrity and fixity of our existing knowledge frames. Discourse spins knowledge structures from mind to mind as in a workshop lathe. And in that discursive and transcognitive action upon knowledge structures, cognitions reinterpretive tools are called upon to run across the contours of that knowledge, reshaping knowledge to fit new narrative parameters required for growth." (Rollings, Jr., 2004, in Smith-Shank, p. 75). Dialogic art breaks down the duality between object/subject and viewer...bringing "ways of seeing, feeling and thinking within relationships - not a series of isolated phenomena, but instead, an instantaneously integrating and transmuting of single elements into a coherent whole." (Alexenberg in Smith-Shank, p. 128). Moving beyond dichotomies into

an integrated pedagogical approach, is a challenge for all educators. Positioning the viewer from the 'text of their lives' into the text of an exhibition, (Mayer, 2005) is only another vantage point for engaging learners. Rather, our pedagogical challenge in the postmodern context is engaging viewers with all aspects of this blended space in order to be enriched by an expanded sense of one's own meaning-making. In the same manner, dialogic communication provides a vehicle for revealing one's own values, thought patterns and constructs, while providing a tool for engaging with the values, thoughts, and opinions of others with respect. Dialogic listening, reflecting, querying, and searching are non-textual modes of knowing that are brought to bear on the inter-textual debate of cognition and understanding. As Goodman notes, "Talking does not make the world or even pictures, but talking and pictures participate in making each other and the world as we know them." (1976, p. 88-9) It is this coding and decoding process that provides the rich, generative material for new discourses. It is in the realm of translation between and across sign, text, and coding systems, that dialogic methods in art museum education, take on rich potency. GALLERY RUDOLFINUM: A CASE FOR NEW PRACTICE The Rudolfinum Gallery is one of the first institutions in Czech Republic to establish links with schools. The state gallery is one of few venues that exhibit professional contemporary art in Prague and the only one with an educational program. Through its collaboration with the Teaching Faculty at Charles University's Arts Education Department, in 1998, the Rudolfinum Gallery began 'The Open Dialog Club.' The program is available for all schools interested in the gallery's educational program, educational department services and accompanying events. Members have access to repeat free entry to exhibitions and accompanying events, invitations to exhibition openings and information packs about the exhibitions. Additionally, the Club offers meetings between teachers, gallery lectors and educational specialists. Since its inception, the Gallery has conducted 15 educational programs with over 8,000 participants. What distinguishes the Gallery's education program from other museum and gallery education programs, is its on-going research base, conjunctive with art educators, scholars, students, and teachers from Charles University. From this partnership, was the initiation and use of innovative, interactive classroom teaching materials utilizing the concept of 'discoursive layers' for students and teachers alike to experience, reflect and enjoy contemporary art from new vantage points of meaning. Coding and expectations conditioned from video and interactive multimedia games, shopping, friendships, television, arcades, sports, music, movie stars, and other aspects of popular culture, predominate the frames of reference of school-age children. Educational programs at the Rudolfinum engage the use of these coding systems as the starting point of meaningmaking, not from the traditional curatorial assumption of fact-based learning and fixed interpretations for educating viewers. Teachers as researchers and research practitioners in the field, collaborate with museum and gallery practitioners to develop and implement meaningful programs that engage the

viewer in a multisensory, multimodal experiencing. Exhibition worksheets serve as tools for building the capacity for interacting with visual experiences, events and performances in new ways. Audiences that have been generally underserved or neglected, such as differently-abled viewers, are included in the discourse of meaning-making. Using new discourse from such audiences, in turn, can help museum/gallery curators in the planning and execution of future exhibitions, as well as to call into query, the very assumptions that guide the selection and thematic content of future expositions. Using the on-going involvement of University master's level students working towards teaching certifications, doctoral students engaged in their own research, and classroom teachers, allows for Art education and curatorial professionals to collaborate in the development of reflective practitioners and action research, using educational materials produced in conjunction with various exhibitions. The program uses the concept of 'empirical spectator' the "... actual, living, and breathing viewers" (Bal & Bryson, p. 185), who enter into a work of art as a relationship from their own personal experience. 'Spectators' read visual codes in their own way. By virtue of the preponderance of linguistic codes conditioned by our educational systems, language is connected to the reception of all imagery. The language that visual codes formulate, simultaneously formulates our knowing, our construction of the world. Our holographic minds project our imagined knowing of what we are perceiving into the pictorial encounter, both receiving and interpreting it simultaneously. The encounter thus becomes a social semiotic between the world and language. "Pictorial representation ties into the net of the linguistic system, which arises from the simulacrum of the represented thing by a pictorial code, but, by superseding it, it decomposes it at the same time." (Kristeva, 1999). In contemporary art, this experience is broadly mediated with and by the artifacts of popular culture, Internet surfing, video games, movies, television, and advertising. Using Roland Barth's position that semiotics describes the logic according to which meanings are engendered but not their interpretations (Bal & Bryson, p. 184), materials and activities for exhibitions are situated non-linearly according to the interests of both teachers and students. To counter-balance the seeming conflict over whether museums and galleries educate from the point of view of the artifact or the viewer, The Rudolfinum's educational program allows for both. A guiding facilitator, whether curator, teacher, researcher, or docent, utilizes a variety of tools to work with the needs of learners. Independent, group, and individualized activities co-exist as a menu from which students may select their own interests and motivations. This parallel pedagogy allows for a 'multi-tasking' participant: one who is able to listen to guided instruction or information, but who can engage at their own level of interest with selections from gallery activity sheets. There may be individual tasks given to perform before or after, outside of the gallery space after the exhibition. A facilitator may theatrically assume the characteristics of a photograph. Differently-abled students may be led to 'dance' their feelings instead of speaking them. A guide may engage a group in 'clue-seeking' query with reproductions of the exhibition in a classroom setting. Students may be given worksheets to randomly select from in self-directed learning. The guiding

facilitator uses the flexibility of creativity to not adhere to strict menus or elicit them and students are given the freedom to explore in ways that connect to and enhance their own learning processes. Additionally, exhibit materials offer different kinds of discourse than those produced solely by museums and art historians. For instance, packets of materials produced for a Nan Golding exhibit (2001) played with the contrast between Public and Private space by two sets of materials an information pack for teachers and a private Diary for the viewer. Inside teacher and student packets were texts from art experts, philosophers, medical and scientific tracks, poetry, personal narratives. Included in both were also texts representing social points of view such as subculture values, the use of drugs, AIDS, friendship, love, death, and hope. Artistic and archetypal concepts from the exhibit such as eye, mirror, bed, journey, love/sex, death/sex, death/love, water and color, were used as 'page tokens' for the student Diary. The Diary served as a Private space for students to record ideas and impressions that teachers were not allowed to read. This gave students personal power in a space in which they are normally powerless. (Fulkova, 2004). Two weeks before the visit of their school to the exhibition, teachers are given a packet of materials that including the workbook for students, includes instructions to teachers for working with the material, and a personal educational approach that deals with teachers as professionals. Ideas for incorporating the exhibition into the country's educational framework is provided in a thematic plan with goals and competencies. Additional reading material based on educational approaches, is provided explaining what the authors and artists are doing. In this way, different discourses examine what is shown in the photographs from one first hand experience in life to another's. In all of these critical approaches to provide a wide variety of 'frames' was the unifying theme of how we make sense and meaning of the visual environment today. Whereas high school students are able to read the way images are constructed, they interpret them from the point of view of their own experiences and not in the language used by curators (Fulkova, 2004). Exploring the concept of identity, students are encouraged to give voice to their own thoughts and ideas about encounters with artifacts. In pre-viewing experiences in schools, students are asked to consider, "How is our unique personality constructed? What are we about? The distance between intimacy and anonymity in urban space is played with in a creative way in the exhibition's educational program, not referencing the images directly with scholarly text, but creatively playing with their concepts. As students explore questions in relation to the exhibition, they bring out the material of the images without direct transmission from a guide, yet are still guided in a process of self-discovery, connectivity, and meaning-making. After going home, students are asked to write down the stories of people they saw in the exhibitions or their characteristics. In this way, the materials used in the exhibition and in the conceptualization of ideas can be used independently or conjunctively with exhibitions. When dealing with images of

women, the implied construction of images have embedded values and gender roles, as well as mass media stereotypes and socio-cultural expectations and meanings. Students are asked to consider gaze in two ways: how we understand ourselves by how we see ourselves inside and how "I see 'me' through the eyes of the 'other.' " Whereas until recently only girls had the sense of being 'gazed' upon by others, the question to both girls and boys are 'Who are your spectators?" They are then asked to examine ways in which we adjust ourselves to invisible gazes. This opens the discussion of male and female agency. In a follow-up art activity, students are asked to select images of males and females and to decide how to use them: such as developing them fictional characters; as new stories, plays, or cartoons; by performing them as video or as a series of photographs. Asked at the end of the workbook what students looked for in exhibitions and what they looked for at a shopping center, their answers were similar (Fulkova in private conversation, 2006). And yet, persisting amongst the comments across cultures and ages was the idea that photographs and images in exhibitions should somehow show the world in a nice way, an internalized and yet nearly unknown epistemological state of redemption. Regardless of the differences in thinking, values, or perceptions, students are encouraged to observe, respect, and accept each others' comments and opinions. The last statement in the workbook to students requests, "Our attitudes leave each other as friends." CONCLUSIONS The implications are that institutional education in the cultural realm must become a discursive space in which the voices of all those who share in creating pictures and their meanings are heard (Fulkova, 2004). Contemporary discourse does not belong just to professional critics and institutions, but by communication of the empirical spectators whose voice is nowhere recorded and taken into consideration when the history of art is written (Fulkova, 2001). If curatorial text was treated as an artifact, it does not need to be devalued or discredited in a vernacular war of opposing theorists and positions. Looked at in the same way as we would any other artifact in museums/galleries, provides it and us with the means to critically examine as we would any utterance of speech, both the formation of its language and its construed meaning. What is missing in the contemporary discourse on museum/gallery education is the understanding that the construction of knowledge in the Vygotskian sense of its sociocultural positionality, is a co-constructive process. Requiring the mediation between information, experience, and understanding in a process of discovery, requires sensitizing facilitative guidance. To achieve this, museums, galleries and schools need to share in the co-generation of spaces for critical thinking and active forms of cultural exchanges in all their heterogeneity. Moving curriculum into a plurality of perspectives and positions, it is

important to enable young people to understand the signifying systems of which they may not be familiar, but which operate and perhaps dominate in their lives. Teachers need, therefore, to complement pupil's 'clue-seeking' with appropriate guided, contextual information. Educators need to develop methods that allow for multiple perspectives and for the use of personal experience while also enabling people to validate the views they hold without correcting them from another perceived position of authority. Building on the opinions and perceptions of students to explore, refine, question, and investigate is a complex process which needs experience and time. Context cannot presume to be a 'given', or it becomes another fixed opinion of a fictitious 'reality'. Dialogic and semiotic practice cannot be used to oversimplify this complexity with set interpretations that students are guided to reveal. To take advantage of the gallery and museum space as a teaching space, it must be free from the limiting constraints of solely measurable outcomes. To benefit from it as a social space, opinions must be valued but also can be challenged so that one's life experiences may in-form and fuel dialogue. From this rich web will emerge a new space for creatively thinking, learning, reflecting, and knowing ourselves and others in new ways.

Bibliography Addison, N. (1999) Who's afraid of signs and significations? Defending semiotics in the Secondary Art and Design Curriculum. Journal of Art and Design Education 18(1), 3339. Alexenber, M. (2004) Semiotic Redefinition of Art in a Digital Age. In Smith-Shank, (ed). Semiotics and visual culture: Sights, signs, and significance. Reston, VA: National Art Education Association. American Association of Museums. 2004. Information Center Fact Sheet: Developing a Diversity Plan. Downloaded November 17, 2005 from http://www.aam-us.org A Must or A-Muse Conference Results - Arts and Culture in Education: Policy and Practice in Europe (2002). Cultuurnetwek Nederland, Utrecht, Nederlands. Bakhtin, M. (1981). The dialogic imagination: Four essays by M.M. Bakhtin (M. Holquist, Ed.; C. Emerson & M. Holquist, Trans.) Austin, Tx: University of Texas Press. Bal, M. and Bryson, N. (June 1991) Semiotics and Art History. The Art Bulletin, 123(2), 174-208.

Billings, L. and Fitzerald, J. (Winter, 2002) Dialogic Discussion and the Paideia Seminar. American Educational Research Journal 39(4) 907-41. Bush, K. Reality Check: Recent developments in British photography and video. London, England: The British Council. Dierking, L., Falk, J., and Ellenbogen, K. Forum. (July, 2005) Curator, 48(3) 246-8. Ebitz, D. Qualifications and the Professional Preparation and Development of Art Museum Educators. Studies in Art Education , 46(2), 150-169 Freire, P. and Horton, M. (1991). We make the road by walking. Fulkova, M. (2001) Empirical spectator: I.N.R.I. teaching programme. Rudolfinum Revue [2] 24-25. Fulkova, M., Straker, A., and Jaros. M. (February, 2004). The Empirical Spectator and Gallery Education. International Journal of Art and Design Education 23 (1), 4-15. Galeria Rudolfinum (2002) Education Programme. Downloaded August 1, 2002 from http://www.galerierudolfinum.cz/english/FRSO1.html Goodman, N. (1976). Languages of art: An approach to a theory of symbols. Indianapolis, IN: Hackett Publishing Co. Inc. Guggenheim Museum Curriculum Online. Downloaded November 17, 2005 from: http://www.guggenheim.org/artscurriculum/lessons) Halliday, M. (1978) Language as social semiotic: The social interpretation of language and meaning. London, England: Arnold. Henry, C. (2004) The Art Museum and the University in Preservice Education. Art Education, 57(1), 35-40. The Ian Potter Museum of Art The University of Melbourne. Downloaded November 17, 2005 from http://www.art-museum.unimelb.edu.au/ The Irish Museum of Modern Art. From "Education and Community." Downloaded November 17, 2005 from http://www.modernart.ie./en/nav_10.htm Kristeva, J. (1996). Intertextuality and literary interpretation. Ross Guberman (Ed). Julia Kristeva, Interviews. New York, New York: Columbia University Press. Mayer, M. (Summer 2005) A Postmodern Puzzle: Rewriting the place of the visitor in art museum education. Studies in Art Education, 46(4), 356-68.

Mayer, M. (March 2005). Bridging the Theory-Practice Divide in Contemporary Art Museum Education. Art Education 58(2), 13-17. Minneapolis Institute of Arts 2001 Visitor Survey. Downloaded November 17, 2005 from http://www.mia.org) Museum of Contemporary Art. "Kids Adventure Trail." Downloaded November 17, 2005 from http://www.mca.com.auNational Advisory Committee on Creative and Cultural Education (1999). All Our Futures: Creativity Culture and Education. Sudbury, Suffolk: DfEE publications. The National Foundation for Education Research. (2000). Arts education in secondary schools: Effects and effectiveness. The NFER study: summary and commentary. Compiled by Rick Rogers. London, England: Royal Society for the encouragement of the Arts (RSA). The National Visual Arts Standards. (1994). National Art Education Association. Reston, VA: National Art Education Association. Olson, G. and Hirsh, E. (Eds.) Starting from marginalized lives: A conversation with Sandra Harding. p. 3-42. Women writing culture. Albany, New York: State University of New York Press. The Seattle Art Museum: Education Resources. Downloaded November 17, 2005 from http:// (http://www.seatleartmuseum.org/Learn/default.asp Shor, I. & Freire, P. (1987) Pedagogy for liberation: Dialogues on transforming education Westport, CT: Bergin & Garvey. Rollings, Jr. J. (2004) Text, Image, and Bodily Semiotics: Repositioning African American Identity. In Smith-Shank, (ed). Semiotics and Visual Culture: Sights, Signs, and Significance. Reston, VA: National Art Education Association. Stewart, R. (1997) Constructing Neo-narratives: A pluralistic approach to research. Journal of Art and Design Education 16(3), 223-229. Vygotsky, L. (1978) Mind in society: The development of higher psychological processes. [Cole, M, John-Steiner, V. Scribner, S. and Souberman, E. (Eds)]. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. Wetterlund, K. and Sayre, S. (2003). 2003 Art Museum Education Programs Survey. Downloaded November 17, 2005 from: http://www.museum-ed.org/