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Karyn Sandlos, associate professor and head of art education at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, will deliver the 2024 Aralee Strange Lecture: “Learning from Loss: Pedagogies of Art, Creativity and Change.”

In the U.S., amid the catastrophic losses of the COVID-19 pandemic, a national conversation about learning loss has reinvigorated educational debates about the most efficient and engaging ways to convey missed curricular content. At the same time, educators are asked to be responsive to new and more challenging forms of student anxiety, disconnection and disengagement. This, too, is a loss, one that can’t be overcome by innovative teaching alone. We are all learning how to re-engage with learning.

In this lecture, Dr. Sandlos will explore what happens when artistic responses to loss are brought to thinking about education and the public sphere. How do the creative processes we find in art and aesthetic experience become a resource for learning to live with loss? Examples of artistic responses to loss will include visual artist Nick Cave’s Soundsuit Project and Mammalian Diving Reflex’s youth-driven performance piece “Walk With Me While I Remember You.” Case studies of contemporary artists and their practices will turn our attention to the human capacity for creative agency in transforming the pain of loss into a relation of meaning.

Sandlos is associate professor of art and education and founding head of the bachelor of fine arts in art education program in the School of Art & Art History at the University of Illinois Chicago. Her research explores the role of interiority in educational and aesthetic experience and the pedagogical work of dream life in the classroom and public sphere. A psychotherapist in training with the Chicago Institute for Psychoanalysis, Sandlos maintains a small clinical practice.

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