Convenor: Jason Bowman, University of Gothenburg, Sweden & Andris Teikmanis, Latvian Academy of Arts, Latvia

According to Jacques Rancière during the last two centuries we have lived under the aesthetic regime of arts; our European history and artistic experiences were previously quite diverse in terms of production, distribution and control of sensibilities. The correlation between political and aesthetic regimes marked boundaries of acceptable, tolerable and defined aesthetic norms and artistic values that were extended from Avant-garde to Stalinist Socialistic Realism and from the Neo-Romantic subjective elitism of Late Modernism to Postmodern deconstruction and New Media anonymity. The contradictory dimensions of aesthetic and political interrelations preconditioned different educational practices and, although for the last twenty-five years we are living in a united Europe, the miscellaneous diversity of the European art education landscape remains.

The Bologna Process, the blurring of lines between art academies and universities and the rise of research based artistic studies appeared like forces driving toward the reduction of differences. However, the main source of diversity of art education was not determined by external influences but internal historical paradigms embedded into educational processes. In the same way that James Elkins [2001] has identified that our art education is rooted in the four historical models of art academies: French academy, German Romantic art academy, Bauhaus and Post-war Art Schools, we should recognize Rancière’s three regimes of art that cohabit throughout different stages of art education. The ethical regime of images, the representative regime of art and the aesthetic regime of art co-occur in educational space as different types of teaching, training and study strategies implemented by teachers and accepted by students. They manifest in diverse modes of production and the distribution of sensible experiences, preserving the means of control and power.

Comprehending the interaction between aesthetic and political practices inside educational processes is liberalising and, at the same time, demanding of responsibility. Are the contradictory roles of craftsman and artist still influencing our educational tactics and delimiting aesthetic zones between practices and discourses? How do different aesthetic values, which are promoted by educators, institutions and traditions, stimulate, provide or control and suppress sensible experiences of students during art training? Should the social and economic engagement of art schools be addressed by the politicization of aesthetics to avoid another aesthetization of politics?

The conveners are interested in receiving all forms presentation for this strand, papers, case studies, projects, performances or workshops.


Keywords: Aesthetics, Politics, Sensible and Power