Dialogue and democracy through museum education: A Review Essay

27 Feb 2018

A key attribute often proposed for arts education is openness to multiple meanings and perspectives. A point made by the late Elliot Eisner (2004), making and interpreting art cannot presume that there is one “correct” answer. Yet how art educators approach contextualized dialogue with students in ways that honors the meaning of art and art making as “multi- voiced” remains a daunting task. To contend with this complexity, Dialogue-Based Teaching: The Art Museum As a Learning Space provides an invaluable resource for arts educators. This well-designed book, replete with images in color, provides thick descriptions and useful interpretations of museum educators who offer workshops for primary, secondary, and tertiary students in seven different museums in Copenhagen, Denmark. The authors’ aim is to promote dialogue-based teaching that gives mutual life to different ideas, includes all students regardless of backgrounds and skills, and is varied in its form. Although its focus is on museum education, these insights are transferable to multiple arts educational settings including school classrooms.