This is a book about adult education in the sphere of public museums and art galleries. It aims to enrich and expand dialogue and understanding amongst adult and community educators, curators, artists, directors, and cultural activists who work within and beyond the walls of these institutions. The various chapters take up the complex and interconnected pedagogics of subjectivity, identity, meaning making and interpretation, knowledge, authority, prescription, innovation, and creativity. The contributors are a combination of scholars, professors, graduate students, heritage and cultural adult educators, artists, curators and researchers from Canada, United States, Iceland, England, Scotland, Denmark, Portugal, Italy and Malta. Collectively, they challenge us to think about the dialectics of passivity and engagement, didactics and learning, gender neutrality and radicality, and neutrality and risk-taking amongst a collage of artworks and artefacts, poetry and installations, collections and exhibits, illusion and reality, curatorial practice and learning, argument and narrative, and struggle and possibility that define and shape modern day art and culture institutions. The chapters, set amongst the discursive politics of neoliberalism and patriarchy, racism and religious intolerance, institutional neutrality and tradition, capitalism and neo-colonialism, ecological devastation and social injustice, take up the spirit and ideals of the radical and feminist traditions of adult education and their emphases on cultural participation and knowledge democracy, agency and empowerment, justice and equity, intellectual growth and transformation, critical social and self reflection, activism and risk-taking, and a fundamental belief in the power of art, dialogue, reflection, ideological and social critique and imaginative learning.
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