Featured Sessions & Scholars

The 2017 EE Symposium was held on June 17-18, 2017, at the UNT Environmental Education, Science & Technology Building, 1704 W. Mulberry St., Denton, TX 76201. View an introductor video here.

Education/Art/Politics, Remixed

What do we do with words we receive as mandate, and that expect us to be passive implementers? This workshop proposes to do art with them, to remix them into something that is meaningful and purposeful to participants. By remixing education policy, we issue an invitation for anyone to hack into mandates and transform them into possibilities. See how this protocal went here.

Daniel Friedrich

Daniel Friedrich is an Associate Professor of Curriculum at Teachers College, Columbia University. Prof. Friedrich has published extensively in the fields of Curriculum Studies, Teacher Education, and Comparative and International Education.

Jordan Corson is a doctoral student at Teachers College, Columbia University.

Stress (the) Test!

More often than not, tests induce states of stress resulting in testing anxiety and/or testing fatigue. For our protocol, we will inverse this logic and place stress of the test itself. We will do so by asking participants to hack into and tinker with testing materials and to take various tests which suspend the function of tests to evaluate, rank, or quantify outcomes. See how this protocal went here.

Dr. Tyson E. LewisDr. Tyson E. Lewis is an Associate Professor of Art Education at the University of North Texas. His research focuses on alternative educational logics beyond learning. Results of this research can be found in multiple articles as well as in two books, On Study: Giorgio Agamben and Educational Potentiality (New York: Routledge, 2015) and Inoperative Learning: A Radical Rethinking of Educational Potentiality (New York: Routledge, 2017).

Jared Opoien is a 2nd year PhD student in the Philosophy & Religion Department. His research interests are: Marxist/Post-Marxist Critical Theory, Ecology, Buddhism, and Phenomenology.

Jeff Gessas is a 3rd year PhD student at the Department of Philosophy & Religion at University of North Texas. His primary research interests are Environmental Justice, Decolonization, Indigenous Philosophy, and Critical Theory.

Making the Best Worst Decisions You Can, or How to Fail Brilliantly

Identify a socially, technologically, or economically “problematic situation” within or attached to a given educational setting. Then, proceed to suspend and violate all the implicit and explicit knowledge you’ve gained or constructed during your years of experience as an educator or educational administrator as you attempt to:

a) Frame/contextualize your understanding of the causal and correlational factors that are contributing to this problematic situation
b) Actually propose ways that have the potential to improve it.

Various types of visualized storytelling and diagramming will be used to map this dynamic, collaborative experience wherein assumption-driven decision-making, inappropriate behavior, single-mindedness, and myopically informed viewpoints will be championed. The end goal: to enlighten participants about how to effectively facilitate broadly informed, non-assumptive, inclusive decision-making by purposefully engaging in experiences that are antithetical/antipodal to this.

Michael R. GibsonMichael R. Gibson is a Full Professor in the Visual Communication Design program in the University of North Texas College of Visual Arts and Design. During his almost 25-year career as a university-level design educator, he has operated a design research agenda that has allowed him to work on collaborative, interdisciplinary projects that have involved issues of children’s health and well-being, urban and rural community revitalization, and the introduction of designerly approaches to thinking and knowing across the K–12 spectrum. Professor Gibson frames and formulates his projects from a human-centered design perspective, which entails beginning the design process by accounting for the actual behaviors, aspirations and needs of particular groups and individuals as they attempt to engage in specific activities. He believes strongly in facilitating immersive, inclusive processes that transpire in natural settings that serve as backdrops for dynamic conversations and interactions. Professor Gibson is a member of the national steering committee of the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA), Design Educators Community (DEC), is the producer and co-editor of its scholarly journal Dialectic, and has published and lectured widely.

Keith OwensKeith Owens is an Associate Professor of Communication Design and Design Research at the University of North Texas College of Visual Arts and Design. Owens also taught graphic design as a visiting instructor at Texas Tech University from 1990 until 1995. Between his two teaching appointments, Owens worked as a design firm owner, design director, and designer in Dallas, San Francisco and Houston. His is currently the Managing Editor for the AIGA’s scholarly journal of design education, Dialectic. Articles by Owens advocating for increased design responsibility have appeared in Design Principles & Practices, Design Philosophy Papers, Design Philosophy Politics and Visual Communications Quarterly. In 2007 and 2008, Owens travelled to Haiti as a design volunteer for Partners of the Americas and the Association Nationale des Transformateur de Fruits (ANATRAF). During both visits Owens worked with local farm cooperatives to create more effective ways to package and market their local products at home and abroad.

The Fable(s) of Cinema or Trying to Think What We See, Not to See What We Think

Participants will watch a very brief movie and collectively construct a joint “fable” of exactly 100 words. The exercise will be an attempt to think what we see rather than see what we think. A very brief movie will be shown. Write down three sentences, the first one starting with: “What we have seen in the movie is…" Make two rows of people sitting in front of each other. Read your sentence and discuss briefly (5 minutes all in). Everybody notes two words on a common writing pad. Then pairs change and we have one more round. We see the movie a second time. And have two more rounds. We close the exercise with a group discussion associating the words on the pad into the construction of a joint ‘fable’ of exactly 100 words. See how this protocal went here.

Jan MasscheleinJan Masschelein teaches philosophy of education and works at the Laboratory for Education and Society at the University of Leuven (Belgium). His principal interests are in educational theory and social philosophy, mapping and walking as critical research practices, and new global and European regimes of governing education. His research focuses explicitly on (re-)thinking the public role of schools and universities. He co-authored (with Maarten Simons) Globale Immunität. Ein kleine Kartographie des Europaischen Bildungsraum (2005); Jenseits der Exzellenz. Eine kleine Morphologie der Welt-Universität. (2010) and In defence of the school. A public issue. (2013, free downloadable: https://ppw.kuleuven.be/ecs/les). They co-edited The learning society from the perspective of governmentality (2007) and Rancière, Public Education and the Taming of Democracy. (2011).

Adopting a Concept

Hermeneutics – the idea that the world is ‘there’ for us to be interpreted – is highly overrated; and so is listening. What if education were about carrying the burden of what comes to us without reason?

Gert BiestaGert Biesta is Professor of Education & Director of Research, Brunel University, London, UK, and holds the NIVOZ Professorship for Education at the University of Humanistic Studies, the Netherlands. He writes about the theory of education, about education policy, and about the theory and philosophy of educational and social research. In 2017 he will publish two books: The Redisovery of Teaching (New York, Routledge) and Letting Art Teach (ArtEZ Press, the Netherlands).

Due to unforeseen circumstances Mr. Biesta will not be able to physically attend the EE Symposium. However, we are excited to say that he will still be participating by producing the session content.

(Dis)Empowering Powerpoint - The Art of Making an Educational Point

Summary of protocol: This experiment is about the now common practice of reducing teaching to going through Powerpoint presentations (that are not necessarily of one's own making). Participants will be invited to teach something on the basis of slides they you are not familiar with, to interrupt dominant pedagogical arrangements, but also to experience the gesture of pointing as an essential educational gesture. See how this protocal went here.

Joris VliegheJoris Vlieghe studied philosophy and art history, and obtained his PhD in educational sciences on an investigation into the public and educational meaning of corporeality. He currently teaches philosophy of education at Liverpool Hope University. His research focuses on how the growing presence of digital technologies alters existing school practices, and how this evolution goes together with new forms of subjectivity. He also investigates the shift from book-culture to screen-culture, and how this evolution affects our understanding of basic educational concepts. Joris is a Reader at the University of Roehampton.


Elizabeth De FreitasElizabeth De Freitas is a Professor in the Education and Social Research Institute at Manchester Metropolitan University, UK. Her research focuses on philosophical investigations of mathematics, science, and technology, pursuing the implications and applications of this work across the social sciences and humanities. She has published four books and over 50 chapters and articles on a range of topics. Her recent work examines the material practices and biosocial dimensions of STEM activity, both recreational and expert. She also writes extensnaively on social science research methodology, exploring alternative ways of engaging with digital and quantitative data, using speculative philosophy and fiction.

Ms. De Freitas will not be able to attend the EE Symposium due to unforeseen circumstances. The Diagramming/Gesturing Session is now cancelled. We apologize for any inconvenience and are happy to introduce two additional session leaders. Be sure to check out Sessions by Nathan Holbert and Juuso Tervo.

Unknowing (Beyond Familiar and Strange)

To "make the familiar strange" is a common adage among educational anthropologists who seek to use ethnography as a way of re-seeing phenomena and relationships that have become sedimented in the public imagination, such as education. Unknowing is an invitation to un-see, to notice from different postures, to consider materiality, context, and relationships from a variety of vantage points. See how this protocal went here.

Lalitha VasudevanLalitha Vasudevan is Associate Professor in the Communication, Media, and Learning Technologies Design Program at Teachers College, Columbia University. She has worked as a researcher, educator, and collaborator with adolescents in a variety of settings and she is interested in their engagements with literacies, technologies, and media. Prof. Vasudevan is co-editor of two volumes that explore intersections of youth, media, and education: Media, learning, and sites of possibility (2008, Peter Lang) and Arts, Media, and Justice: Multimodal explorations with youth (2013, Peter Lang) and she is currently writing a book about citizenship, education, multimodal play, and belonging in the lives of youth.

Odes on Measure

This protocol takes up the task usually devoted to lyric poets: that of, the question of address. What does it mean to address something or someone that is absent, inanimate, or only transcendentally present? What kind of voice does one use and what kind of skills does such address require?

Students, educators, and researchers in educational institutions are subjected to bulks of quantified data that measure their process, performance, and degree of excellence. In many countries, this data is being used as a central basis for funding, thus turning education and its research into a series of performances for various instruments of measurement. What if students, teachers, and researchers took that performance literarily? What does it mean to address instruments of measurement aside from mere responding to what they calculate?

The aim of this protocol is to experiment with the process of translating educational events into data. What kind of “data” emerges when we address instruments like KPI (key performance indicator) and what kind of archive of educational knowledge does this comprise?

Juuso Tervo Juuso Tervo works as a postdoctoral researcher and University-Wide Art Studies (UWAS) project manager at Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Helsinki, Finland. His research revolves around the politics and philosophy of art and education, currently focusing on historical and literary entwinements of life and learning in European modernity. He received his PhD from the Department of Arts Administration, Education and Policy at the Ohio State University in 2014 and was the recipient of Elliot Eisner Doctoral Research Award in Art Education in 2015.

STEM, For Girls!

As humans, we apply gender norms and expectations to objects, practices, tools, etc, often without even thinking. While gendered framing can be complex and empowering, more often than not they are overly simplistic and diminishing. Our perceptions of legitimate STEM practices are particularly problematic.

In this workshop we will encounter, and acknowledge our gendered framings of STEM through design. Rather than create for the complex and dynamic nature of gender, we will strive to be simplistic--to reduce identity and values to hues, binary stereotypes, and passing interests. For example, participants might articulate exactly how to design office products (calculators, staplers, pens) explicitly for young girls or to sew and craft manly works of electronic art.

By consciously confronting our perceptions and assumptions about gender, together we will explore who and what christens a practice as legitimately STEM and how our relationships to everyday objects, tools, and activities reify or interrupt these assumptions.

Nathan HolbertNathan Holbert is an Assistant Professor of Communication, Media, and Learning Technologies Design at Teachers College, Columbia University. His work, situated squarely in the constructionist tradition, involves the development and study of playful tools, environments, and activities that allow all children to leverage computational power as they build, test, tinker, and make sense of personally meaningful topics, phenomena, or questions. Nathan’s research is primarily concerned with how designed computationally-infused play spaces allow learners to construct new knowledge as well as how interactions in and with such spaces allow learners to develop new relationships with others and with themselves.

Please visit the 2017 Education as Experimentation Symposium page for date and location, parking directions, and other information.