What are the pedagogical elements of a live-art practice and how might these be employed in secondary education to provide a valuable alternative tool for young people’s learning development?
What place/shape could live-art take as an alternative learning tool for young people’s development and what purpose could it serve that is not currently met by the art curriculum?
In what ways does a live-art practice become an agonistic tool for learning and experiencing a productive form of conflict, in a democratic education?
What are the challenges to its inclusion in the current secondary education system, which sees a crisis for art in education?
How may a consensus be negotiated between educational institution practice and a radical live art practice?
How does the practice remain radical when integrated to the curriculum and how does its radical stance need to be retained in order to provoke learning?
This research examines and tests the pedagogical elements of live art and their potential role for young people’s development in secondary education. It uses a methodology underpinned by a constructivist epistemology and educational framework, showing a radical position that promotes knowledge construction through the disruption of an established system. An investigation of past pedagogic projects beginning with Beuys’ teaching performances in the 1960s, highlights the tensions that this radical practice brings in an educational context. The crisis for art under the STEM curriculum (Science-Technology- Engineering-Maths, excluding the arts) transpires repeatedly through contemporary educationalists’ discourse. Moreover, a focus on attainments generates counterproductive anxiety for students, and for teachers who are driven ‘to teach to the test’. These issues, demonstrating a need for change, motivated the integration of live art as an agonistic tool that offers alternative modes for teaching and learning.
An overview of the rise of social art from the 1960s onwards presents the artistic context in which the radical stance of live art has developed, thus offering insights into the role that criticality, resistance and disruption play in this research, and how it may impact the wider educational context.
In this research study, live-art methodologies become embedded in an action-research investigation, working with young people in schools, as a democratic and self-reflexive form of enquiry. A thematic and interpretive analysis unpicks the findings and limitations of this research. It reveals elements that contributed to young people’s development, including critical thinking strategies based on agonism, as a diffractive methodology that produces a pedagogy of affect. The presentation of practice in performance reveals the role of the artwork as an ‘epistemic object’ that promotes reflexivity. It demonstrated how immersion in the system allowed for this practice to become embedded in a school and college, as an open-ended artistic Manifesto that re-interprets the curriculum.