This session explores material acts of thinking and learning in the art museum, questioning how art objects made specifically for learning can open up a creative and critical space for rich and subjective encounters. How can we make ideas manifest and take material form that correlates with a specific museum/institution?

Within an intentionally prosthetic pedagogy (Garoian 2013) touch is like flicking a switch to complete an electrical circuit potentially plugging into the agential matter of the museum. A circuit that is tuned into a new material experience held in the hand and felt in the body.

I will question how the enactment of educational research, through specifically formed pedagogical art objects (PAOs) can provide different engagements with the museum ingredients. An approach that runs in parallel, and in addition to, the historical, cultural, and factual knowledges embedded within the intuition’s collections and exhibits.

I will discuss how with pedagogical art objects in our hands, new modes of critical engagement in the art museum become possible through a tangible experience of touch. If held, grasped, and gripped, the matter of these objects considered in proximity to exhibited sculptures can potentially interrupt habitual perception and extend haptic potential.

This event will be followed by a wine reception.


Kimberley Foster is an artist and academic whose practice research explores embodied approaches to learning and interpretation in the art museum. She questions how a different material approach tethered to specifically tuned pedagogical art objects can engage previously unheard voices and extend the museum materialised experience. These objects are made to be physically encountered, acting as conduits between exhibit and audience, material provocations that push the museum visitor to find new material points of entry and a space for the subjective and autobiographical.


Foster, K. Pedagogical Art Objects and research participants. Tate Modern.