Lisbet Skregelid

A notion relevant for the Pedagogy of imaginative dialogue project is ‘dissensus’, taken from the French Algerian philosopher Jacques Rancière. In his discussions about the aesthetic regime of art, Rancière (2009) is concerned about how the dissensual character of art breaks with familiar forms of representation and contributes to new ways of seeing, hearing and sensing. In The Emancipated Spectator he says about dissensus: “What `dissensus` means is an organization of the sensible where there is neither a reality concealed behind appearances nor single regime of presentation and interpretation of the given imposing its obviousness on all” (Rancière 2009: 48). He also notes that dissensus “is the demonstration (manifestation) of a gap in the sensible itself” (Rancière 2010: 38).I my upcoming book Dissens and sensibility: Why art matters, I argue that the way art can interrupt our everyday lives, question the sensible, cause sensibility, doubt and uncertainty and possibly enable us to disagree, is very relevant for education. “Pedagogy of dissensus” is an educational approach using the dissensual characteristics of art as an experimental and affective force, and thus blurring the boundaries between art and education. The approach employs strategies from the arts and deliberately attempts to create tensions that disrupt normal attitudes and behaviors.

When dissensus is inspiring education, the norms and regular ways of teaching are challenged, and possible disruptions of the expected are offered. Risk and uncertainty are welcomed. Equality and the unforeseen knowledge are emphasized. Pedagogy of dissensus might lead to resistance and also changes in perceptions and attitudes, changes and transformations in the subject (Skregelid, forthcoming)

I have developed this educational approach in different contexts, ranging from educational practice in the art museum (Skregelid 2020), educational practice within teacher education (Skregelid, 2021a, Skregelid 2021 b) and also artistic research (Skregelid 2021c).


There are many ways of putting the ideas of dissensus into action. In the second intensive week of PIMDI the students experimented with imaginative dialogues with each other and the art in Sørlandet Art Museum (now Kunstsilo). They first explored the exhibition in groups of students, then they developed workshops together with art-school pupils. We asked them to create experimental and explorative art educational workshops stressing affects, process and uncertainty, equality and non-hierarchical dimensions of teaching, thereby realizing pedagogy of dissensus.

PIMDI students working with pupils from the local cultural school Knuden at SKMU – Sørlandets Art Museum during the PIMDI intensive week in Kristiansand, Norway, April 2022. Photos: Helene Illeris

Relevance for the Pedagogy of imaginative dialogue (PIMDI)

Pedagogy of dissensus is relevant for PIMDI as it engages with how we discuss educational potential through making and artistic practices, and how education and art is blurred. The exploring of the topics of safety and transgression during the last intensive week in Holland touched upon the tensions inherent in the Pedagogy of dissensus approach. The uncertainty of how to act and the ambivalence felt by the participants taking part in the different propositions by the students is welcomed when pedagogy of dissensus guides the teaching.


Rancière, J. (2009). The Emancipated Spectator. Verso.

Rancière, J. (2010). Dissensus on Politics and Aesthetics. Continuum.

Skregelid, L. (2020a), ‘A call for dissensus in art education!’, International Journal of Education through Art, 16(2), 161–76. 

Skregelid, L. (2021a). Zoom in on Dry Joy—Dissensus, agonism and democracy in art education. Education Sciences, 11 (1), 28. 

Skregelid, L. (2021b). Encounters with the world through cultural schoolbag workshops for teacher students. Nordic Journal of Art and Research, 10(2). 

Skregelid, L. (2021c). Dissensuality and affect in education. International Journal of Art and Design Education, 40(4).  

Skregelid, L. (forthcoming). Dissens and sensibility: Why art matters. Intellect Books