Creating Situations: Drifting as Critical Inquiry

Author: Jack Richardson (University of South Carolina in Columbia)

  • Creating Situations: Drifting as Critical Inquiry


    Creating Situations: Drifting as Critical Inquiry



The scope of art education is often conceived as a field of inquiry. However, the appeal to space as a guiding metaphor for delimiting the boundaries of aesthetic, educational, social and intellectual investigation is often a choice of convenience and is not subjected to critical interrogation. Often, this space is modernist in its conception and apparently provides a seemingly stable framework within which inquiry can occur: This paper will examine the possibilities of rethinking this presumption through a process of critical inquiry based on movement or drifting as its guiding metaphorical structure. The Situationist International, a radical group of artists active during the middle of the twentieth century, developed a form of social intervention that they called the derive, which translates literally as "drift." Through this activity, they sought to disrupt and critique the prevailing structures of the modem city through a disruption of its organizing principles. It is in the spirit of this experimental practice that this paper seeks to address two central questions: (a) By "mapping" the discipline of art education, do we potentially limit the range of movement within its parameters? (b) How might inquiry proceed if it were to adopt an attitude of drifting as opposed to one of static observation?

How to Cite:

Richardson, J., (2003) “Creating Situations: Drifting as Critical Inquiry”, Journal of Cultural Research in Art Education 21(1), 76-86. doi:

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Published on
01 Sep 2003
Peer Reviewed