Reaching for the arts in unexpected places: public pedagogy in the gardens

Author: Ligia Pelosi, Victoria University

Edition: Volume 55, Number 3, November 2015

Summary:  What constitutes public pedagogy? The term is broad and can be applied in so many situations and settings to the learning that occurs outside of formal schooling. In this article, the author explores how a community event – a painting competition held in a Melbourne suburb’s botanic gardens – constitutes public pedagogy. The event centres on appreciation of the gardens, and on fostering the arts in the community. Local schools and residents have shown their appreciation
of the competition through increased participation over the past five years. However, there is much learning that is unexpected and far less tangible, which flourishes beneath the surface of the event. Capturing a collective memory of the suburb is one aspect of such learning that is historically significant. The author argues that the event can also be seen as activist in a political sense, through the way it has restored the arts to the community in a way that education in a neo-liberal climate is currently unable to do.

Keywords: Arts, curriculum, community, public pedagogy

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This article is part of AJAL, Volume 55_3. The entire volume is available in .pdf for purchase here.

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