The Role Of Cultural Studies In Contemporary Art Education


Information technologies have defined a new role of cultural studies in the formation of modern art. Unity of scientific and artistic methods of cognition of global processes becomes a necessary basis for the artist's profession. The purpose of the study is to identify the possibilities of cultural studies in the formation of a professional artist. The discovery of a new understanding of the phenomenon of "artist", in demand by modern culture, as well as the inclusion of immanently artistic and meta-artistic aspects of the profession. Structural-analytical and comparative methods of analysis of the concepts "art" and "science" allow us to determine the similarities and differences of scientific and artistic types of consciousness. The application of these methods makes it possible to discover hermeneutic codes for the formation of a new type of professionalism in art. Modern art education should be aimed at the formation of a new type of artist who has a set of the following qualities: artistic erudition, knowledge of the history of art, possession of artistic "craft" and equipment with new media technologies, heuristic thinking, open ability to understand the actual goals and objectives of the profession. It can be concluded that a radical change in the artistic picture of the world, which was influenced by multimedia technologies, increases the role of cultural studies in art education. Cultural studies contribute to the development of communicative qualities of a student at an art institution and are a fundamental moment in the path of his professional self-determination.

Keywords: Artscienceprofessional artistcultural studies


The transformation of the artistic picture of the world in the modern information environment has acquired unprecedented scale. The changes touched upon the basics of understanding art and creativity. The artistic work in its traditional interpretation becomes the arena of radical artistic and nonartistic experiments. Digital technologies are changing the value orientations of art perception. The Internet network "makes you to rush between millions of possibilities, evoking the thirst to try everything, to make it all in time" (Starkovich, 2018).

The audit also touched the profession of musician, writer, actor, Director, painter, architect, designer. The expansion of the time and geographical limits of artistic experience, the discovery of unlimited technical and creative opportunities, the overcoming of cultural (aesthetic, moral, religious, political) barriers have all fundamentally changed the guidelines for art education. The deep shock in the space of art determined the need to find answers to the questions: What should a modern artist be? What is the artist's mission in culture? What is the purpose of art education? How to combine fundamental and applied spheres of art education? What are the possibilities of art education in the formation of personality, which combines the gift of proficiency in the language of art and the ability to adequately assess the current events of the world?

Professional art education traditionally includes a complex of special, general professional and general humanitarian knowledge. In this complex, new significance is acquired by cultural studies, which contribute to the development of the artist's erudition, open mindedness, the ability to formulate aesthetic concepts and positions

Problem Statement

Science of culture, which together with the information and educational function, perform an important worldview function, contribute to the disclosure of the scale and scope of the artist's profession. It is important to define the concept of "culture" in the context of justification of this role. In the increasing abundance of definitions of culture, we would like to draw attention to its understanding as a "space of life" (Prazdnikov, 2014). Studying culture as a "living space" gives the artist the opportunity to represent the entire vertical of artistic experience (in all its genre and style diversity). At the same time, the coverage of the whole plurality of traditions affects the formation of reasoned value attitudes, holistic worldview, and types of behavior.

Equally important in the interpretation of culture is the concept of "boundary". This concept focuses on the dialectic of closeness and openness, isolation and dialogue, the creation of order and its destruction. Yu. Lotman (2004) understood culture primarily as a "fenced-off" sphere in the context of the opposition "culture – non-culture". It opens the definition of culture not only as an information space – but also as a space in which there are clear boundaries of acceptable and unacceptable, the limits of acceptable and unacceptable, the difference between original and copy. The conceptual capacity of this definition lies in the possibility of reaching the formation of the author’s own position of an artistically gifted person. Already at the status of a student, the artist must understand how powerful is art, to which he is involved to, and what responsibility to life he bears for his creativity.

The logic of the need for cultural knowledge for the student of an art university is extremely simple and obvious: without talking about culture, no special art subject is complete. In the study of various problems of history and theory of art, there was always the inevitability of plunging into the general dialogical space of cultural meanings of problems.

Discipline that is able to give the beginning artist a holistic integrated knowledge and take on the role of metamethodology becomes necessary. This feature of cultural studies is noted in the studies of a number of Russian scientists (Khrenov, 2017; Ikonnikova, 2018; Mosolova, 2015), according to which the culturological approach is metadisciplinary. Integrative property of cultural studies opens up productive ways to solve the "eternal" problem of the relationship between the general professional (associated with the mastering of the space of artistic culture in its synchronic and diachronic dimensions) and the "workshop " (reflecting the direct training of a specialist and determining its technical equipment) aspects of the artist's formation.

Research Questions

The new role of the artist in culture requires from him not only possession of the craft of the profession, but also understanding of the general world processes and current cultural events. Understanding the experience of history allows us to affirm that artistic skill and the ability to reflect on art are the fundamental features of the scale of the artist's personality. We know the names of outstanding masters —the creators of genius works, which became simultaneously the authors of fundamental theoretical works: Leonardo da Vinci, I. Goethe, I. Hoffmann, R. Wagner, I. Stravinsky, A. Schoenberg, Сh. Jenks, K. Schtokhausen, S. Dali and others left invaluable reflections on artistic experience.

The necessary basis for the formation of the professional artist's personality is the combination of artistic practice and reflection on art. The knowledge of the unity of the scientific and artistic types of creativity is inseparable from the understanding of the inclusion of this problem in the context of the great theme "art and science". This context allows us to understand the highest meaning of creativity – "creation of new cultural meanings that expand the semantic space of culture and sociality" (Smirnova, 2015).

Purpose of the Study

  • the identification of cultural studies in the process of forming a professional artist, which is included in the open communication space;

  • the discovery of a new understanding of the phenomenon of "artist", demanded by modern culture, as well as incorporating the immanently artistic and meta-artistic aspects of the profession.

Research Methods

The structural-analytical and comparative methods of the analysis of the concepts "art" and "science" make it possible to determine the similarities and differences of the scientific and artistic types of consciousness. As a result of the application of these methods, hermeneutic codes for the formation of a new type of professionalism in art have been discovered.

The study of the role of cultural studies in art education involves an integrated approach that includes various scientific methods. The structural-analytical and comparative methods of the analysis of the concepts "art" and "science" make it possible to determine the similarities and differences of the scientific and artistic types of consciousness. The historical method is necessary for understanding the logic of development of the artistically-practical and a reflective-theoretical aspect of the artist’s thinking. As a result of the application of these methods, hermeneutic codes of formation of a new type of professionalism in art have been discovered.


The question of the relationship between art and science can probably be classified as inexhaustible question. "Two eyes of human culture" (Lotman, 1998) reflect fundamentally different images of the world, types of thinking and understanding of life, permeate literally all spheres of human existence.

Science is a system of rationally substantiated and logically verified knowledge of the world, which are based on the search for objective laws and regularities. The commonality of art and science is cognitive activity, heuristic orientation of thinking. Like a science, art creates a multifaceted and multiple knowledge of the world, it cannot exist and develop without contact with science.

Forecasting is a characteristic feature that makes art and science related. Foresight is an important component of scientific activity, which is necessary for a scientist, when "an object or any of its properties is not given in experience, not manifest" (Pirozhkova, 2015). Scientific research necessarily involves the design of the behavior of variety systems, it allows the scientist to determine the "sequence of states as a single process of development" (Gorokhov, 2015). For the artist the ability of foresight is significant not only in the genres of science fiction. Art is capable of predicting future events and phenomena, ahead of scientific discoveries, theories and concepts in metaphorical language. Certainly, the predictions in art and science have fundamental differences. For the artist, prediction is inseparable from fantasy, fiction, and mysticism. The aim of the scientist is the rationale for the forecasts. However, the foundation of the projective aspect of scientific and artistic activity is unified. It's intuition. This "Holy gift" (as per A. Einstein) allows scientists and creator equally to see clearly the future, to overtake logical calculations and proofs, to obtain an integral image of knowledge — "at once", without the preliminary work of consciousness.

The mutual connection between art and science is also manifested in the direct dependence of the development of artistic experience on the state of scientific progress. For example, today it is difficult to imagine a musical and sound space outside the influence of multimedia technologies that have radically changed the artistic picture of the world. The development of technical and system means has led to progress in composer's creativity, storage and reproduction of sound information, its mass availability.

It is obvious that there are common features inherent in both scientific and artistic creativity. Inspiration, "insight", intuitive penetration into the essence of the problem, irreducibility of this search to the logic of the thinking process all this is a super task for the scientist and artist in equal measure.

The outstanding physicist A. Michelson evidenced the combination of aesthetic experience and analytical discursive thinking. In the famous report "Analysis of forms," he noted: "this topic requires the researcher to combine the analytical mind of the scientist, the aesthetic perception of the artist and the figurative language of the poet". Symptomatic was the completion of his report: "Art will require a chair at the banquet of science" (Jaffe, 1960).

These judgments testify to the indissoluble connection between art and science. Moreover, fantasy and poetic imagination, metaphorical and animistic thinking, which are so important for both artistic and scientific consciousness, often coexist in the community.

However, the problem of connection between the two types of thinking has a downside, as together with the obvious relationship and interdependence, the fundamental differences between science and art are no less significant.

First of all, the object of knowledge is different: in science, these are the objective laws of the existence of the world, both in its entirety and its individual phenomena (the person is in this series); in art, the object of comprehension – the world in all its diversity for the artist makes sense only through the prism of human experience, understanding, evaluation. According to Hegel's definition "humanized" world appears in art – a world that is endowed with the presence of personal knowledge in it. Russian researchers differently interpreted Hegel’s idea: Bakhtin (1986) saw a dialogue in the art, a meeting of consciousnesses, Kagan (1997) substantiated the focus in the art of value knowledge. The idea of the distinction between an object in artistic and scientific knowledge has become a textbook in aesthetics.

The modes of cognition are different. In science, the cognitive "tool" is a concept – an abstract, impersonal formula that fixes general, typologically stable knowledge, excludes everything incidental and fleeting. The key to comprehending the world in art is the artistic image as an entity that has a sensual-subjective character, associative, metaphorical, symbolic, paradoxical, and anthropomorphic.

The difference between science and art is associated with their different attitude toward experiment: science uses it as an experimental (capable of repeated repetition) confirmation of a scientific hypothesis. In art the experiment is the creation of a work of art. Artistic experience, with its setting on individuality and originality, does not allow for a second nature. It is characteristic that at the stage of aesthetic autonomization of art romanticists, the notions of "epigonism" and "plagiarism", which are considered synonymous with vulgarity formulate, as negative.

Different sides of truth open to the artist and scientist. If in science the truth is the correspondence of subjective understanding to the objective state of the world, in art it is revealed as "becoming being", M. Heidegger (2008) in this touch to the "unfolding" truth of being sees the highest meaning of artistic experience, and he deems "a shock to the authenticity of the work of art". Other emotions, according to the philosopher, are not significant. The role of fiction, which is necessary in art and completely unacceptable in science, is principal and different. The science requires reliability and logical justification.

The scientific theory, which represents objective knowledge and is associated with the unification of information, must have the same meaning for everyone. Subjective bias, personal knowledge are "embedded" in the structure of the work of art, which is perceived in a fundamentally different way, individually. Moreover, the inexhaustibility of meaning is one of the most important criteria of artistic quality. Fundamental differences are also connected with different ways of coding information in the language of art and the language of science. In this regard, the "watershed" is the idea of the adequacy of translation: in scientific theories it is necessary, but for the artistic texts is fundamentally impossible.

The qualities that confirm the "intransigence" of the boundaries of scientific and artistic types of thinking can also be attributed to a different understanding of the idea of progress (recognition of the continuous progression of science and the lack of such in art), "absolute authorship" in art (the irreplaceability of the artist's personality, each work of art – revelation) and the "inevitability" of discoveries in science (which confirms its cumulative nature).

The identity and difference of the two ways of understanding the world gives a powerful impetus to the development of thinking. In this sense, the humanities acquire special significance. Philosophy, history, cultural studies, ethics, religious studies, psychology, aesthetics – turning to the study of the complex and multidimensional spiritual life of society and the individual – absorb the characteristic features of scientific and artistic types of knowledge, often overcoming their opposition. Due to the direct appeal to the fundamental problems of being and the continuing "problem", the humanities awaken the worldview of human activity and are the most important form of self-knowledge.

Humanities focus their own creative forces, which reflect the coincidence of processes in science and art. The deep foundations of their relationship go back to the sources of knowledge about the world, to the natural creative activity of man in his quest for truth. Humanities are close to the boundaries of artistic thinking and resort to metaphors, symbols, images, when they fix problems that aren’t always verbalized. At the same time, the top achievements of art confirm that the original connection between science and art is in the nature of artistic consciousness. Dostoevsky (1996) at the age of 17 reflected on the meaning of writing and wrote in a letter to his brother: "Philosophy should not be considered a simple mathematical problem, where the unknown — is nature <...> philosophy is the same poetry, only its highest degree!". In this early statement of the writer is the understanding of a single ideological Foundation, a difficult way of understanding the truth, in which the inseparable and fused unity of science and art is revealed. The counter movement of artistic practice and reflection becomes a necessary attribute in contemporary art. The researcher of D. Shostakovich’s creativity writes about the composer: "Musically thinking philosopher and philosophically thinking musician went in one direction" (Levaya, 2013). The conceptual artist Joseph Kosuth (2001) formulates his credo: "To be an artist means to ask about the nature of art". In the given examples the special role of a holistic knowledge of culture, which is designed to investigate the most complicated problems of the meaning human existence, to determine the basis of moral, philosophical, aesthetic and religious ideas of the world is expressed. It highlights the special role of holistic knowledge about culture, designed to investigate the most complex problems of the meaning of human existence, to determine the basis of moral, philosophical, aesthetic, religious ideas about the world.

The science of culture is important for the formation of the consciousness of a person of any specialty, because they influence his life position and contribute to the disclosure of personal potential in the final analysis. For a person who chooses the profession of an artist - a writer, musician, architect, painter, actor or director, knowledge about culture is vital. And this need is primarily related to the understanding of the powerful resources of art in the impact on the individual, society, and culture in general. The influence on the emotions, feelings, intellects of many people are in the power of the artist. Creative practice and reflection on art are invariably interfaced in his profession. From the way he represents his role and mission in the world, how "intelligently" he formulates his philosophy – in the final analysis, "health" (in such terms Dostoevsky) of the personality, society and culture is depend.

The problem field of cultural studies covers three blocks of fundamental themes. The first is focused on defining the basic concepts of science. The second is devoted to the study of historical models of culture. The third one analyzes the current trends of modern culture. Structural mobility and semantic openness of cultural studies allows us to focus on art, which is understood as "the universal metaphor of being" (Sidneva, 2014), "the study of life" (Lotman, 1998), a barometer that is fixing the key processes of culture. Kagan writes about the ability of art to be its "mirror": "Culture looks in this mirror and improves depending on what it sees in it" (Kagan, 1997). The most important meaning of cultural studies for art education is contained in these definitions.


Modern art education should be aimed at the formation of the artist, who has a set of the following qualities:

  • possession of artistic "craft" (competent knowledge of the language of art) and the provision of new media technologies;

  • heuristic orientation of thinking;

  • artistic erudition, involving awareness in the history of art;

  • open ability to understand the actual tasks of the "artist" profession.

Artistic creativity is more than profession. The artist's activity combines professional skills, involvement in the continuum of cultural history and vocation. Vocation, understood as "intimate and personal program of existence in the world, the experience of creativity as destiny" (Prazdnikov, 2014), is the basis for the formation of the artist. Awareness of the vital tasks facing art is the basic condition of the value of artistic creativity. In this sense, cultural studies are a fundamental moment on the path of professional and personal self-determination.


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Sidneva, T. (2019). The Role Of Cultural Studies In Contemporary Art Education. In Z. Bekirogullari, M. Y. Minas, & R. X. Thambusamy (Eds.), ICEEPSY 2018: Education and Educational Psychology, vol 53. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 740-747). Future Academy.