Herbert Read and the Fourth Industrial Revolution: A Visual Arts Curriculum Framework?

Rachel Sinquefield-Kangas, Oona Myllyntaus

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


A new challenge for art educators in the 21st century has emerged, given the volume of messages on social media conveying new types of exchanges of socio-culturally constructed imagery. Visual arts teachers need to teach methods of viewing and apply critical pedagogy, and address socio-cultural issues in particular. Further, we subscribe to the paradigm that big sociocultural ideas, which are interlinked to students’ worldviews and conception of self, should be taught in conjunction with visual literacy and critical thinking in order for students 1) to learn how to learn and 2) to express their ideas through visual media.

Within this premise, this book chapter describes a visual arts curriculum framework designed for the digital media era and draws parallel connections to Herbert Read’s theoretical Education Through Art (1943). The described curriculum design is intended to foster communication and collaboration as important skills for the early 21st century. Drawing from Read’s educational philosophy, we explain how this curriculum can encourage awareness of unacknowledged cultural influences shaping identities (Keel, 1969, p. 54).

We thus endorse the idea that visual arts education in the 21st century can encourage youth in developing both an awareness to how visual culture is constructed and visual literacy skills needed to express their own personalities. Today’s youth can use the new awareness and acquired skills to navigate through the influences of the outside world, i.e. social media.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationLearning through art : Lessons for the 21st Century?
EditorsGlen Coutts, Teresa Torres Eça
Number of pages16
Place of PublicationViseu, Portugal
PublisherInSEA, International Society for Education through Art
Publication date1 Jul 2019
ISBN (Electronic)978-989-20-7673-7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2019
MoE publication typeA3 Book chapter

Fields of Science

  • 516 Educational sciences
  • Curriculum
  • Herbert Read
  • Identity
  • Social media
  • Visual culture
  • 21st century art education
  • 4th industrial revolution

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