International Conference Aesthetics of Transformation: Arts Education Research and the Challenge of Cultural Sustainability

05/02/2018 to 05/05/2018
Nuremberg, Germany

Call for Proposals closed. 


Culture only persists through lived practice. It exists within iterative practices which
pass on – and by doing so, inevitably reinterpret and recontextualize – cultural forms,
semantics, and values. Arts, taken as a particular realm of aesthetic expression by
culturally situated means, are thus important agents, shaping the tensional relation
between tradition and heritage on the one hand and the multiple challenges of cultural
transformation on the other: Through the discoursive practices of arts, cultures
aesthetically reflect and become critically aware of themselves. Through the
participation in aesthetic discourses and practices, people thus may participate in
such deliberative aesthetic transformative practices. This is where arts education,
cultural education and aesthetic education intersect.

In an ever changing world
- facing huge, and more often than not hegemonial, transformative forces such as
globalization, digitalization, mediatization, economization and
- experiencing overwhelming, disruptive complexities as well as regressive reactions
against those on a global scale,
- while at the same time being challenged with the need for change towards
sustainable models and modes of living,
the necessity of change and learning processes on not only political, but more so on
the level of inherited cultural practices, is evident. Accordingly, cultural sustainability
can no longer be regarded as a process of fixation and determination of cultural norms
and ways of living (against change), but has to be understood as an idea of generating
cultural tradition by shaping the transformative moments of culture in a selfdetermined

This perspective – understanding arts as a agent for non/anti-hegemonial practices of
transformation, and arts, cultural and aesthetic education as an agent for the
empowerment towards participation in such processes – may thus foster and sharpen
our understanding of the potential role of arts education (and arts education research)
for sustainable development. The resulting question: „How may and does arts
education contribute to cultural sustainability?“
differs vastly from sub-complex,
utilitarian and functionalistic questions of how arts (education) may serve the
purposes of pre-defined sustainability goals. It aims towards the multiple aesthetics
of transformation in arts (and likewise in less institutionalized forms of aesthetic
practice), the inherent connexion of education and transformation, and finally the
intersection of both.

Contributions focus on, but are not limited to, the following topics:
- aesthetic/artistic conceptions, articulations, stagings reflecting upon/articulating the
tensions between cultural traditions and cultural transformations and their (actual,
potential, policy-related etc.) role in arts education
- transformative effects of less institutionalized (old or new) aesthetic practices and
their relation to sustainability/cultural sustainability
- impact of particular transformational dynamics on arts, culture, (arts) education, and
cultural sustainability
- aesthetics of (performative) educational practices and processes and their
(shaping/fostering/inhibiting) relation to cultural sustainability and transformation
- shaping strategies, hegemonial and/or antihegemonial logics in policy-making and
civil society related to transformational dynamics and arts education
- research methodologies for arts education research in transformative cultures (i.e.,
transmigration societies, postdigital cultures).

The conference will be organized by the Chair of Pedagogy with a focus on Culture
and Aesthttic Education at Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nuremberg with
the collaboration of the UNESCO Chair for Cultural Education, the Academy of School
Theatre and performative Education and the UNITWIN Arts Education research for
Cultural Diversity and Sustainable Development.

Dr. Lisa Unterberg


ENO Germany