Image: Anna Marie Sigmond Gudmundsdottir: Part of Painting in G building University of Agder (2020).
Being Human Today
This PhD course will address questions about being human today and discuss current challenges within art, mental health, and education from ethical, political, and practical perspectives. An aesthetic angle and the art context will be the point of departure.
The course will thematize how existing norms within our practices and academic disciplines can be disrupted and propose other alternatives and possibilities which incorporate both aesthetic and democratic concerns.
Education, mental health, and the arts all share a concern for human beings and how they live their lives. Living one’s life, and living it well, has always been a challenge – life never simply happens – but what the challenges are, differs from time to time and from location to location. The phrase ‘the trouble with being human today’, from Zygmunt Bauman, seems to capture that living one’s life is a challenge, even more so if, in living one’s life, one tries to be human and that ‘our’ present ‘conditions’ may make this into a particular ‘trouble.’
This PhD course will address questions about being human and discuss current challenges within art, mental health, and education from a range of perspectives and research fields, with the art context as a point of departure.
The course will engage with interdisciplinary concerns on how both within education and mental health, and even within the arts field, there is a strong pressure to think of being human and societal challenges as a technical problem that in some way can be ‘fixed’ by powerful, research-based interventions. Do we run the risk of turning students and clients and people in general into objects – things to be acted upon, rather than human beings to be acted with?
In this research seminar we welcome PHD candidates from the fields of education, mental health and arts, that have a concern for current challenges within these fields, that are eager to disrupt and challenge the existing norms within our practices and that will try to propose other alternatives and possibilities. We also welcome PhD candidates who share our interest in opening for interdisciplinary perspectives and who are curious about experimenting with forms of practice both in education and research. The aim is that the course itself will be an example of an unorthodox way of doing education and research collaboration.
The course will be related to the launch of a new book Being Human Today: Art, Education and Mental Health in Conversation https://www.intellectbooks.com/being-human-today edited by Gert Biesta, Lisbet Skregelid and Tore Dag Bøe. Gert Biesta, Professor of Educational Theory and Pedagogy, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, will be a key lecturer during the course.
This year’s course unit will be taught as a three day course program and include writing an essay. The teaching and studying methods will consist of a combination of lectures, group work and presentations based on the lecture topics and the candidates’ own ongoing research work. Location for the course will be at Kunsthallen downtown Kristiansand. The course will relate to the solo exhibition by the Norwegian artist Anna Gudmundsdottir. Here we ask: What might happen to interdisciplinary discussions on contemporary societal challenges when they are explored and debated within an art context?
Associate Professor Sigurd Tenningen, Faculty of Humanities and Education
Professor Tore Dag Bøe, Faculty of Health and Sport Sciences
How to apply
You apply by sending a one pager about your motivation to join the course to PhD advisor Clare Hildebrandt: email@example.com . Attach documentation that you have been admitted to a PhD program or that you have relevant competence.
Extended deadline is now 1st March 2024.
We seek candidates from all three disciplines and will try to balance the number of participants from each field equally.