Performing Cultural Diplomacy: The Art School as Future Incubator

    • Nice November 2018
    • Presentation speakers
      • Portia Ungley, Cambridge University, UK


    Critical Thinking is often cited as “top ten” in creating graduates who will help make the world a better place, create a brighter future in the face of global warming and increasingly politics (World Economic Forum 2016). However, like many educational buzzwords, it has too little actual currency, too little substance, too many words. In this paper, I will explore ways in which teaching critical thinking to final level undergraduates and taught masters students can deconceptualise and actuate this learning goal within the context of the Art School (Freire 1968). Furthermore I will show how the destabilisation of power offers a moment of cross cultural integration between staff and students, art and STEM, those who believe in the power of education and those who decry experts (Foucault 1976). These ideas are now new but the environment in which they exist is – art is the ultimate diplomatic tool, relying on skills both learned and intrinsic, and this paper will show where it is misused within UK HE documentation, how culture is used as a big stick (instead of a carrot) and how the STEAM agenda offers a path to the next work revolution.