Decolonizing art and design: Rethinking critical and contextual studies

Rina Arya

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The history of art, more accurately described as the history of western art, has been premised on a history of cultural imperialism that privileges certain tradi-tions and ideologies over others. The decline of the discipline within the academy in recent decades and replacement in many cases with the more critically evalua-tive and broader area of critical and contextual studies (CCS) has filled a function in art and design education but needs to be critically interrogated for its relevance and its pedagogical usefulness in thinking about the politicized discourse of art. Attempts have been made within the academy to decolonize the curriculum. Within the context of CCS this entails ensuring standardizing the approach to the subject but not the content, which would be neither desirable nor possible given the decentralized way in which CCS is staffed. A standardization of approach means the inculcation of critical reflexivity when considering structures of knowl-edge, which helps identify gaps in the curricula and ways of addressing these. Decolonizing is a process that needs to be continuous and reflexive in order to embed significant change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)55-60
Number of pages6
JournalArt and the Public Sphere
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2022


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