Masters thesis approved and finished

Masters thesis approved and finished

It’s been a long road, but finally, my masters thesis is approved and finished.

Over 10 years ago, I started taking classes in art history (konstvetenskap in Swedish). I’ve managed to keep it going even with a full-time job. And I did my bachelor in 2021 and since then, I’ve been working on the masters.

As soon as I was done with the bachelor, I started researching ideas for the master, and I quickly zeroed in on Hans-Georg Gadamer and his thoughts on the encounter with art as play. I won’t bore you with details, but it grabbed my interest.

So I’ve spent the last couple of years searching, reading, taking notes, thinking. And that was absolutely critical for me to finish. Just in the folder in Google Drive where I have saved everything that did not make it into the work with the thesis, I have 1841 files. And the entire thesis folder is around 37GB. For me, it’s been, in many ways, a massive project.

I think I have all the other credits necessary to actually get the degree, but for now, I am just happy to be done with the thesis.

And I’ll get back to you once it’s published in case you want to read it (it’s in Swedish though). For now, I can leave you with the abstract.

This thesis is based on Hans-Georg Gadamer’s thoughts on the encounter with art as play. Gadamer believed that when a person comes into contact with a work of art, the work of art reveals itself and invites to play. If the invitation is accepted, the play follows as a to-and-fro motion that can end in transformation into structure, which is the moment when truth emerges.

The subject area is art history, if you hadn’t guessed, or more correctly art criticism and art teaching.

The aim of the thesis is to contribute to the development of art education practice by planning and implementing an art education activity. The question that the thesis tries to answer is which traces of Gadamer’s play can be identified in an art educational activity.

To achieve the purpose of the thesis and answer the question, an art educational activity was planned and carried out with 16 participants at the Aguéli Museum in Sala, Sweden. Seven of the participants also volunteered for personal interviews about their experience.

The results indicate that several characteristics of Gadamer’s play can be found in the art education activity. It is possible to distinguish the prejudices of the participants, a to-and-fro motion in the form of shifting between parts and the whole, as well as the end of the game (transformation into structure).

In addition to the identified traces of Gadamer’s play, the thesis points out that it is clear that there were numerous plays going on during the activity, even if it was initially conceived as one. That has implications for and can be used to shape future art education practice.