Art Term

Educational turn

A theme that emerged in the mid-1990s, educational turn refers to collaborative or research-based art where the impetus is on the process rather than an object-based artwork

Joseph Beuys
Free International University. Discussion with Beuys - Fondazione per la Rinascita dell’Agricoltura (1978)
ARTIST ROOMS Tate and National Galleries of Scotland

Much of the focus is on finding new methodologies for creating art outside the existing traditional educational and institutional structures. Questions are raised about authorship, exhibition display, audience participation and collaboration.

The idea was inspired by the radical organisations of the 1960s that aimed to revolutionise educational and museum practice, like Joseph Beuys’s Free International University in Düsseldorf and the AntiUniversity in London, a short lived experiment set up in 1968 promoting self-organised education and communal living.

A contemporary example of educational turn is the Useful Art Association, set up by the artist Tania Bruguera.