Harvard Educational Review
  1. Fall 2013 Issue »

    Responding to “Why the Arts Don’t Do Anything Toward a New Vision for Cultural Production in Education”

    John Abodeely, Ken Cole, Janna Graham, Ayanna N. Hudson, and Carmen Mörsch
    In the spring of 2013, the Harvard Educational Review (HER) published a special issue entitled Expanding Our Vision for the Arts in Education (Vol. 83, No. 1). Following a variety of forward-looking essays and arts learner reflections concerning the potential of the arts in education, the issue concluded with a provocative scholarly article, “Why the Arts Don’t Do Anything: Toward a New Vision for Cultural Production in Education,” written by Rubén A. ­Gaztambide-Fernández, an associate professor in the Department of Curriculum, Teaching, and Learning at the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education at the University of Toronto. In this piece, Gaztambide-Fernández makes the case that advocacy for arts education is trapped within a “rhetoric of effects” because the arts, as we conceive of them in educational environments today, rely too heavily on instrumental and intrinsic outcomes while only shallowly embodying a commitment to, or a consideration of, cultural practice. ­Gaztambide-Fernández further argues that what counts as “the arts” is based on traditional, Eurocentric, hierarchical notions of aesthetic experience. According to him, this discursive positioning of the arts within traditional Eurocentric power structures complicates arts teaching and learning for arts educators, especially those committed to issues of social justice. As an alternative, he suggests discursively repositioning the arts within a “rhetoric of cultural production,” positing that such a discursive shift would reconceptualize arts education as experiences that produce culture.

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    John Abodeely provides strategy consultation to senior leaders at social-sector organizations, borrowing innovations from for-profit management, systems thinking, and design thinking for efficiency and impact. At the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, he leads multiple complex, interdepartmental, and interorganizational ventures. Abodeely holds an MBA from Johns Hopkins University and a BA from Amherst College.

    Ken Cole, associate director of the National Guild for Community Arts Education, leads the production of national conferences and training institutes; research studies and grant-making programs; publications such as More Than the Sum of Its Parts: Collaboration and Sustainability in Arts Education (2012) and Engaging Adolescents: Building Youth Participation in the Arts (2011); and multifaceted initiatives that combine funding, training, and the documentation and dissemination of effective practices such as Partners in Arts Education and Creative Aging. He has held leadership positions at the Levine School of Music, GALA Choruses, and the Fairfax Symphony Orchestra, and worked as a professional violist for more than a decade.

    Janna Graham is a projects curator at the Serpentine Gallery in London, where she initiated the Centre for Possible Studies, a neigborhood-based research space. She has been an educator, researcher, and curator at institutions such as the Art Gallery of Ontario (Toronto), the Whitechapel Gallery (London), and Vanabbemuseum (Eindehoven) and is currently a doctoral candidate at Goldsmiths University.

    Ayanna N. Hudson is the director of arts education for the National Endowment for the Arts, where she presides over the grant portfolio devoted to arts education, works with national service organizations on policy initiatives, and serves as the spokesperson for arts education at the federal level.

    Carmen Mörsch has been trained as an artist, educator, and researcher. From 2003 to 2008 she was a professor in the department of cultural studies at Carl von Ossietzky University in Oldenburg, Germany. Since 2008 she has served as head of the Research Institute for Art Education at the University of Arts in Zurich, Switzerland.
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    Fall 2013 Issue

    Abstracts

    After Fisher v. University of Texas
    Implications for Education Research, Theory, and Practice
    From the Editors
    McIntosh as Synecdoche
    How Teacher Education’s Focus on White Privilege Undermines Antiracism
    Timothy J. Lensmire, Shannon K. McManimon, Jessica Dockter Tierney, Mary E. Lee-Nichols, Zachary A. Casey, Audrey Lensmire, and Bryan M. Davis
    Democracy under Fire
    Voter Confusion and Influences in Colorado’s Anti–Affirmative Action Initiative
    Amy N. Farley, Matthew N. Gaertner, and Michele S. Moses
    From Bureaucracy to Profession
    Remaking the Educational Sector for the Twenty-First Century
    Jal Mehta
    Dirt on My Record
    Rethinking Disciplinary Practices in an All-Black, All-Male Alternative Class
    Na’ilah Suad Nasir, kihana miraya ross, Maxine McKinney de Royston, Jarvis Givens, and Jalessa N. Bryant

    Book Notes

    Education, Justice, & Democracy
    Edited by Danielle Allen & Rob Reich

    Creating Innovators
    Tony Wagner (supplementary video material produced by Robert A. Compton)

    Inside the Black Box of Classroom Practice
    Larry Cuban

    Youth Held at the Border
    Lisa (Leigh) Patel