Charles Garoian, professor of art education, took a novel approach when he was invited to guest edit a recent issue of the research journal, Qualitative Inquiry (20:6, 2015). He used the opportunity to facilitate a critical conversation among ten scholars, all of whom were invited to consider how their research interests connected with or otherwise teased apart the content of his text, The Prosthetic Pedagogy of Art, published in 2013 by SUNY Press. Contributing authors included SoVA faculty member, Kim Powell, Chris Schulte, and Tina Thompson.
Although the word ‘prosthesis’ typically refers to a device that substitutes for something missing and serves an additive or assistive function, as Charles explains, when applied to teaching art, the concept of prosthesis suggests something different. Providing support for art learning is not seen as remedial action, but rather it opens up a multitude of possibilities—an expansion and extension of a learning space that interconnects with the ideas of others in a continuous, interactive loop.
It was the premise that ‘prosthetic pedagogy’ is a generative process of questioning and discussion that prompted Charles to invite colleagues to contribute to the special issue of QI where his text was the topic of debate. He reminds us that irrespective of where encounters with ideas take place, be it between the covers of an academic journal, across the annals of contemporary art criticism, within the walls of a public gallery, or around the digital space of social media, engaging with creative impulse and critical insight continually opens up new ways of thinking about personal and public issues.