University of Bedfordshire
Supervised by Professor Uvanney Maylor, University of Bedfordshire (Director of Institute for Research in Education) and Alice Walton, Convener, Schools and Teachers at Tate.
October 2016 –

Photograph of participants in a workshop in Tate Exchange at Tate Modern, sitting in a circle on the floor

A workshop as part of Schools and Teachers Summer School, Tate Modern, 2019
Photo: Matt Greenwood

This project is funded by the AHRC and was born out of the realisation by Tate’s Schools and Teachers Team (STT) (a majority white staff team) that it was mainly engaging with white, women art-teachers who attended its programmes. The STT is situated in the Learning department and is tasked with engaging and supporting teachers and students from the formal education sector to engage with the collection and exhibitions at Tate.

The research question – In what ways does art in the museum context provide a safe space to ask difficult questions around culture and race? – draws on the STT’s previous work and was developed through their discussions with Professor Maylor as part of developing this collaborative PhD. My starting point in exploring this question is: for whom is Tate a ‘safe’ space and why? This work seeks to explore what a ‘safe’ space looks like for art teachers and whether this be achieved within Tate. As a part of Tate’s infrastructure, can the STT be a starting point for Tate to be seen as a ‘safer’ space to discuss issues of race and culture?

The questions that have so far been raised will act as provocations to explore these disruptions by expanding Tate as a ‘frontier’, a concept proposed by Dr Viv Golding (Learning at the Museum Frontier, 2016). I will be using embodied and experiential learning, taking inspiration from pedagogies used in Theatre of the Oppressed, action learning, as well as framing the research through the lens of critical race theory.