Disruptions, Interventions and Liminalities: Reconfiguring the Art Seminar in Response to Daniel Buren’s The Function of the Studio (1979) as a Site to (Re)Articulate Creative Pedagogic Risk-Taking and Power Relations

  • Lee Campbell
Keywords: performance, art, peer observation, art pedagogy


Drawing upon the author’s experience of being a performance artist and working directly with an audience as a performer/protagonist, this paper questions ‘What are some of the links between performance (art), peer observation within teaching and exchange of power relation?’ By doing so, it makes an original contribution to new knowledge in art pedagogy around power dynamics in post-studio environments (Buren, 1979). A three-part framework is employed to address the question: Anticipation, Action and Analysis. Critical evaluation and personal reflection of one peer observed seminar entitled Performance and Collaboration delivered to a group of single honours first year undergraduate Fine Art students at Loughborough University (referred to as LU thereafter) in March 2015 employing a bricolage (Kincheloe, 2008) of digital, performance, fine art and collaboration methodologies functions as the vehicle to not only explore the question but to also describe Anticipation, Action and Analysis as both a structuring device to document events taking place during the seminar in written form. The paper can be read as a benchmark for critical engagement not only in its attempt to theorise, articulate and demonstrate the complicated nature of power relations of peer observation within the specified context with amplified acknowledgement of some of the [psychological] limitations of ‘being observed’, but also in its ability to evidence how those relations can be further complexified when disruption via planned moments of interruption is employed as a creative pedagogic tool within the art seminar environment to generate practice. The main outcomes of the seminar support and go beyond the aims of answering the question, defining links between performance (art), peer observation within teaching and exchange of power relation in respect to drawing together: 1) the effects of ‘being observed’; 2) performative pedagogy and inclusion; 3) the interplay between art in terms of the performative, pedagogic risk-taking and disruption.