Beginning with concept: Deconstructing the complexity of 'culture' through art in design education

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The notion of 'culture' has long been recognized as an inherent component of both art and design education. What remains uncharted territory are ways by which educators can assess a student's understanding of the complexity behind the produc-tion of 'culture'. Contextualizing current pedagogical approaches within anthropo-logical and interdisciplinary theoretical paradigms sheds light on the limitations of present undertakings. Static and stereotypical interpretations of 'culture' fail to account for the complex, multi-dimensional, hybrid, dynamic, intertwining, and ever-changing facets of 'culture' that characterize border crossings and moderniza-tion processes. This paper posits that concepts, an artistic synthesis of knowledge, can be the medium through which students can unravel the myth of 'culture' and expose its dynamic and changing nature, the tensions and contradictions involved, as well as the multiple ways of belonging. Marking the beginning of the design proc-ess, concepts that speak of 'culture' can propel a new era in infusing designs with social justice.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-39
Number of pages17
JournalInternational Journal of Education Through Art
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2014


  • Concept development
  • Culture
  • Design education
  • Interdisciplinary


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