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Challenging Norms through Intersectional Perscetives, Artistic Exploration, and Norm-critical Pedagogy

Chapter in book
Authors Beatrice Persson
Anna Carlson
Published in Art-Based Education: An Ethics and Politics of Relation
Pages 149-164
ISBN 978-91-980618-6-4
Publisher HDK - Academy of Design and Crafts, University of Gothenburg
Place of publication Gothenburg
Publication year 2018
Published at School of Design and Crafts
Pages 149-164
Language en
Keywords Intersectionality, intercultural perspective, norm critical pedagogy, painful position, artistic exploration
Subject categories Social Work, Cultural Studies, Art History, Visual Arts, Arts, Philosophy, Ethics and Religion, Pedagogical Work, Gender Studies


This paper originates from a university course at the Art Teacher program in Gothenburg, where we challenge norms through intersectional analyze and norm critical pedagogy in focusing on the processes where norms create and maintain hierarchical difference. For us this means that we challenge the students through proposing the question: what does it mean to be human today? Exposing them to contemporary art, postcolonial theory and interculturality in close encounter with the unknown. In workshops, artistic explorations, theoretical discussions and essay writing we force students to identify and analyze the connection between art and life. This is a conscious course of actions in trying to situate students in a painful position. A painful position is where the normal and safe begins to crack, when the protection of oneself becomes a hindrance, revealing one’s prejudices. In the painful position we are exposed to our self, forced to become aware of one’s actions of maintaining power structures and traditions. In order to convince students to come to rest in the painful position we try to create a climate for communication where different voices are allowed to speak and be heard, and various lived experiences can exist without judgement. This is a space for communication that is explorative, where contradictions are advocated, creating opportunities to rethink, evaluate and come to terms with strategies for negotiation.

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