November 21: Kevin Tavin

Toward stupidity:
When visual culture runs up against itself
Time and Place: 10-12 in S1

Art education is driven in large part by what could be best described as a will to see. This can be understood in part as a supposed natural desire to see; to see things in particular ways, and to know things through specific practices of looking. The will to see is inherently self-justifying and tied tightly to the presupposition that the more we see, the more knowledge we gain. But what happens to the field when students don’t see? In this presentation, the promise of visual culture studies in art education is advanced and at the same time made problematic. Using concepts from psychoanalytic theory, an argument is made that art education is stained by the unconscious (when the world looks at you and not you at it) and thus by the forces of its own negation in stupidity.


Kevin Tavin, Professor of International Art Education and Senior Researcher at Aalto University, in Helsinki, Finland. He has a BFA from the Maryland Institute, College of Art, MEd from Towson University, and Ph.D. from Penn State. Tavin has taught K-12 and post-secondary courses since 1990. His research focuses on visual culture, critical pedagogy, cultural and curriculum studies, and psychoanalytic theory. His work has been published in national and international art and education journals and books, and presented as keynote and research papers across the globe. He is co-editor of the book, Stand(ing) up, for a Change: Voices of arts educators. Tavin has held the office of Commentary Editor for Studies in Art Education, Coordinator for the Caucus on Social Theory and Art Education, Director of the Western Region of the National Art Education Higher Education Division, and the World Council Regional Representative for North America for the International Society for Education through Art (InSEA).