Transcultural Aesthetic Practices in the Classroom: Sounds, Spaces, Bodies

Research output: Contributions to collected editions/worksChapter


In this article, we investigate transcultural aesthetic practices in the classroom from the perspectives of theatre studies and sound studies in order to explore processes of cultural transformation that challenge Eurocentric binary constructions of cultural heritage and ethnic identity. This will be done through a close analysis of a particular situation in the classroom of a secondary school in a medium-sized city in Germany in which we conducted ethnographic field research. Concretely, we explore the reading of a literary text by a student, its reception by his fellow students and the further interaction between the students and the teacher, as a complex performance or mis-en-scène, in which objects, sounds and bodies become productive in negotiating culture, ethnicity, gender and age. In addition, and as an extension to the field note and its analysis, we show pictures drawn by our colleague Janna Wieland. The pictures were partly taken during a field visit (the drawing of the classroom), partly in response to v. Bernstorff’s descriptions. Being trained as a cultural anthropologist with a focus on the sociology of space, Wieland uses drawing as an analytical tool. The drawings are considered to have, in interplay with the text, their own signification in description and analysis (Wieland in Ethnographic writing. E&E Publishing, pp. 77–98, 2018). In our work with Wieland’s drawings, we don’t understand them as illustrative; differences and entanglements are allowed—omissions, alienations, breaks, lines or spatial perspectives. Thusly, the visual enables other forms of encounter, experience and knowledge, because seeing and showing function differently than saying and describing (Huffschmid in Risse im Raum. Erinnerung, Gewalt und städtisches Leben in Lateinamerika. Springer, 2015). In the analysis, we focus on the emergent spaces of transcultural encounter, of negotiations of difference and moments of conviviality. Emphasizing the value of shared aesthetic experiences—through narratives, sounds and bodily movement—we interpret this particular case study as an example of convivial learning and cultural transformation that is transferable to other situations and contexts in arts education and in other environments of aesthetic formation and education.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationCultural Sustainability and Arts Education : International Perspectives on the Aesthetics of Transformation
EditorsBenjamin Jörissen, Lisa Unterberg, Tanja Klepacki
Number of pages12
PublisherSpringer Singapore
Publication date02.02.2023
ISBN (Print)978-981-19-3914-3
ISBN (Electronic)978-981-19-3915-0
Publication statusPublished - 02.02.2023