The most interesting aspect of a book such as Art, Artists and Pedagogy is that you are never sure which direction the writing will turn, relying as it does on different interpretations of the arts, together with philosophical readings of Gert Biesta’s chapter or writings by Deleuze. In Chapter Thirteen of Art, Artists and Pedagogy by John Roder and Sean Sturm they examine both Biesta and Deleuze, playing with language and concepts in a way that draws the reader into an experience of dance, whilst asking seemingly obvious, and yet at the same time profound questions as to the role of otherness, grown-up-ness, suspension and interruption in the process.
Beginning with the reaction of early childhood teachers to ‘letting go’, Roder and Sturm, address otherness and the task of teachers to challenge and provoke. This is signified in the recognition of the other and the act of ‘grown-up-ness’ in making this acknowledgement. The task of the teacher becomes one of opening up spaces, where the student can engage their desire, which in turn requires the teacher to allow for a suspension in time. Roder and Sturm indicate how, just as Deleuze demands much of the reader, the student must engage in struggle to comprehend ways of being.
Using the reference to suspension, Roder and Sturm cite Deleuze’s seminars, where suspension was used to allow the thought of the lecture to dwell and so allow ideas to evolve. This concept is exemplified in an account of a teacher creating an interruption, an unsettling event, in children’s dance. This is played out through a sequence from a video featuring the dancer Adrian Smith, scripted as a storyboard for the reader to create their own suspension in following their text. In so doing the authors exemplify Biesta’s claim for the role of the teacher, in their account of the dancer’s interruption of children’s work.
Art, Artists and Pedagogy is published by Routledge