Transgressive or Instrumental? A Paradigm for the Arts as Learning and Development

  • Tatiana Chemi
Part of the Palgrave Studies in Business, Arts and Humanities book series (PSBAH)


Contemporary practices that connect the arts with learning are widespread at all level of educational systems and in organisations, but they include very diverse approaches, multiple methods and background values. Regardless of explicit learning benefits, the arts/learning partnerships bring about a specific approach to learning, which is embodied, sensory and aesthetic and makes use of metaphors, mediation, meaning-making and sense-making. I will make the point that the arts establish an alternative learning environment, which is different from the formal educational systems by offering multiple approaches to learning in a place that is characterised by pluralism, diversity and hybridity. This chapter will be mostly conceptual, leaning on creativity studies with sociocultural system perspectives. As an empirical support, I will bring examples from two sets of qualitative studies: one on artistic creativity and the other on practices of arts-integration. My final point rests on the belief that the opposition of transgression and instrumentality is a deceiving perspective on the arts, against the background of the aesthetic plurality and hybridity.


Arts education Arts-integration Creativity Third space Learning 



The origin of this chapter is a paper submitted to the EGOS conference in Naples, Italy, 2016. I am grateful to the participants of the Sub-theme Transitional Spaces and Practices in Organizations. Questioning the Powers of Art and Design, for having contributed to the development of the essential concepts in the paper that led to the present reformulation.


  1. Barry, D., and S. Meisiek. 2010. Seeing More and Seeing Differently: Sensemaking, Mindfulness, and the Workarts. Organization Studies 31 (11): 1505–1530.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bhabha, H.K. 1994. The Location of Culture. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. Chemi, T. 2014a. The Art of Arts Integration. Aalborg: Aalborg University Press.Google Scholar
  4. Chemi, T. 2014b. The Artful Teacher: A Conceptual Model for Arts Integration in Schools. Studies in Art Education 56 (1): 370–383.Google Scholar
  5. Chemi, T. 2016. Distributed Problem-Solving: How Artists’ Participatory Strategies Can Inspire Creativity in Higher Education. In Handbook of Research on Creative Problem-Solving Skill Development in Higher Education, ed. C. Zhou, 139–157. Hershey: IGI Global Publishers. Google Scholar
  6. Chemi, T. 2017. New and different: student participation in artist-school partnerships. In Arts-based Methods in Education around the World, eds. X. Du & T. Chemi. River Publishers. Google Scholar
  7. Chemi, T., J.B. Jensen, and L. Hersted. 2015. Behind the Scenes of Artistic Creativity: Processes of Learning, Creating and Organising. Frankfurt am Main: Peter Lang.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Cropley, D.H., A. Cropley, J.C. Kaufman, and M.A. Runco (eds). 2010. The Dark Side of Creativity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  9. Csikszentmihalyi, M. 1996. Creativity. Flow and the Psychology of Discovery and Invention. New York: Harper Perennial.Google Scholar
  10. Csikszentmihalyi, M. 1999. Implications of a Systems Perspective for the Study of Creativity. In Handbook of Creativity, ed. R.J. Sternberg, 313–338. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Deasy, R.J. (ed.). 2002. Critical Links: Learning in the Arts and Student Academic and Social Development. Washington, DC: Arts Education Partnership.Google Scholar
  12. Dewey, J. 2005. Art as Experience. London: Perigee (I 1934).Google Scholar
  13. Feist, G.J. 2010. The Function of Personality in Creativity: The Nature of the Creative Personality. In The Cambridge Handbook of Creativity, eds. J.C. Kaufman, and R.J. Sternberg, 113–131. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  14. Fiske, E.B., (ed.). 1999. Champions of Change: The Impact of the Arts on Learning. Retrieved from
  15. Grey, D.R. 1952. Art in the Republic. Philosophy 27: 291–310.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Harrison, C., and P. Wood (eds.). 2003. Art in Theory, 1900–2000: An Anthology of Changing Ideas. Malden: Blackwell.Google Scholar
  17. Heinrich, F. 2016. On Participatory Art. Working paper. Presented at the Center for Cultural Psychology, 14 April 2016. Aalborg: Aalborg University.Google Scholar
  18. Hjortshøj, M. 2015. I det moderne børneteater synger man skolens læringsmål. Politiken, April 24.Google Scholar
  19. Hyland, T. 1993. Vocational Reconstruction and Dewey’s Instrumentalism. Oxford Review of Education 19 (1): 89–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Journal of Aesthetic Education. 2000. The Arts and Academic Achievement: What the Evidence Shows, 34(3/4):2–90.Google Scholar
  21. Motherwell, R., (ed.). 1951. The Dada Painters and Poets. New York: Wittenborn, Schultz. Google Scholar
  22. Nakamura, J., and M. Csikszentmihalyi. 2003. Creativity in Later Life. In Creativity and Development, eds. K. Sawyer et al., 186–217. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  23. Strati, A., and P. Guillet de Monthoux. 2002. Introduction: Organizing Aesthetics. Human Relations 55 (7): 755–766.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Taylor, S.S., and D. Ladkin. 2009. Understanding Arts-Based Methods in Managerial Development. Academy Of Management Learning And Education, March 2009, 8(1): 55–69.Google Scholar
  25. Varkøy, Ø. 2015. Bildung: Between Cultural Heritage and The Unknown, Instrumentalism and Existence. In The Routledge International Handbook of the Arts and Education, eds. M. Fleming, L. Bresler, and J. O’Toole, 19–29. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  26. Wakeford, M. 2004. A Short Look at a Long Past. In Putting the Arts in the Picture: Reframing Education in the 21st Century, eds. N. Rabkin and R. Redmond, 81–106. Chicago, IL: Columbia College Chicago.Google Scholar
  27. Winner, E., T.R. Goldstein, and S. Vincent-Lancrin. 2013. Art for Art’s Sake? The Impact of Arts Education. OECD Publishing.Google Scholar
  28. Wolf, M. 2000. The Third Space in Postcolonial Representation. In Changing the Terms: Translating in the Postcolonial Era, eds. S. Simon and P. St-Pierre, 127–145. University of Ottawa Press/Les Presses de l’Université d’Ottawa.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Learning and PhilosophyAalborg UniversityAalborgDenmark

Personalised recommendations