Art ± Education: The Paradox of the Ventriloquist’s Soliloquy


  • John Baldacchino University of Dundee



Art, Education, Immanence, Paradox, Ventriloquism, Approximation, Indirect pedagogy, Prosthetic pedagogy, Unlearning.


When we speak of art education, are we trying to make sense of somethingby means of something else, just as a ventriloquist speaks with the mouth ofa dummy to make us believe that he is having a dialogue with someone elsewhen in effect he is speaking to himself? This paper discusses how art educationcould only flourish as an act of approximation as it rejects the incrementaland constructivist assumptions that have turned art and educationinto transactional instruments. Discussing art and education’s immanentrelationship, this paper argues that art education is only necessary by forceof the accidents that characterise it. Four scenarios, here identified in whatthe author calls the paradox of the ventriloquist’s soliloquy in art education,illustrate this argument. In discussing how this comes about, this papermakes reference to Herner Saeverot’s concept of indirect pedagogy andCharles Garoian’s prosthetic pedagogy.


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Author Biography

John Baldacchino, University of Dundee

John Baldacchino is Chair of Arts Education at the University of Dundee. His work focuses on art, philosophy and education. He is the author of Post- Marxist Marxism (1996), Easels of Utopia (1998), Avant-Nostalgia (2002); Education Beyond Education (2009); Makings of the Sea (2010); Art’s Way Out (2012), Mediter­ranean Art Education (with R. Vella, 2013), Democracy Without Confession (with K. Wain, 2013), John Dewey (2013), and My Teaching, My Philosophy: Kenneth Wain (with S. Galea and D. Mercieca, 2014). He is currently editing volume 1 of the Wiley-Blackwell’s Encyclopedia of Art & Design Education: Histories & Philosophies, and writing two new books, on Giambattista Vico and on Ivan Illich.