Investigating "othering" in visual arts spaces of learning

Biscombe, Monique ; Conradie, Stephane ; Costandius, Elmarie ; Alexander, Neeske (2017)

CITATION: Biscombe, M., Conradie, S., Costandius, E. & Alexander, N. 2017. Investigating "othering" in visual arts spaces of learning. Education as Change, 21(1), doi:10.17159/1947-9417/2017/1070.

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In the political, social, cultural and economic context of South Africa, higher education spaces provide fertile ground for social research. This case study explored “othered” identities in the Department of Visual Arts of Stellenbosch University. Interviews with students and lecturers revealed interesting and controversial aspects in terms of their experiences in the Department of Visual Arts. Theoretical perspectives such as “othering”, symbolic racism, the racialised body and visual art theory were used to interpret these experiences. It was found that “othering” because of indirect racism and language or economic circumstances affects students’ creative expression. Causes of “othering” experiences should be investigated in order to promote necessary transformation within the visual arts and within higher education institutions.

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