Institutional Deflection in Dutch Art Education and the Heterotopology of Safer Spaces
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This thesis proposes that (the creation of) safe(r) spaces holds radical pedagogical potential. Analysing the circumstances of safer spaces and what they tell us about normative, western art education, this thesis considers how dominant notions of pedagogical value are being queered in a safer space. Building on theories of Queer pedagogy, Critical pedagogy (as put forth by Paulo Freire), heterotopias (as put forth by Michel Foucault), critical reflection and action or praxis (as put forth by Paulo Freire) and institutional whiteness (as put forth by Sara Ahmed), this thesis testifies to the subversive pedagogical potential of safer spaces and honours BIPOC students addressing oppressive normativities within an educational institution. This thesis focuses on two case studies of student-based safer spaces and their efforts to reflect on, critique and change their institutional surroundings, as well as the institutional response to these spaces. The research analysis involves two close-readings of interviews with organisers of safer spaces within the School of Arts in Utrecht, and illuminates how BIPOC organisers and participants have had to deal with institutional whiteness, institutional racism and institutional deflection by teachers and staff members as representatives of the institution. In conclusion, this thesis holds space for (BIPOC) students and their embodied knowledges - voices that are systematically oppressed - and can be considered an effort towards more research concerning institutional whiteness or the effects of institutional whiteness on (art) education, as well as the broader spectrum of (the potential of) safer space.