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Julia Rocha Pinto – Universidade Estadual Paulista - UNESP

This article intends on making a reflection on the contribution of Lev. S. Vygostky to the practice of education in art museums. In the field of educational actions taken in these spaces, the terminology mediation has been adopted in substitution to the terms guided tour and monitoring, seeking to define a change in the posture of the education towards the public.
According to Vygotsky’s theory, the learning process is a social action where the individuals formulate their knowledge through their interaction with the field and with others, in a constant relation between individual and collective factors, of the subject and the context. This way, the mediation is an intervention process of an element in an object-subject relationship.
Based on this vision, the terminology mediation has been used to designate the practice of a non-formal study. The educational exercise in expositions proposes for there to be a dialog relationship between educator/mediator, the art piece, and the public.

Keywords: art education, cultural mediation, Lev S. Vygotsky

Today, in Brazil, the educational work realized in many museums has adopted a reflexive stance, in which the educator is known as mediator between the public and the art work. But where this concept of mediation came from? It is appropriate to describe all the educational actions on the non-formal field? Does every museum´s educator is also a cultural mediator? This text seeks to understand these issues, discussing the art education done in museums.
Museums are places of education. The own definition of the International Committee of Museums puts the educational role of these institutions defining that the museum is “a permanent institution, without profit purposes, in service of the society and for its own development, open to the public, which acquires, conserve, research and exhibit for study purposes, education and leisure, material and immaterial testimonials of the people and their environment.
In many institutions, the education realized in museums is known as cultural mediation, and inside this conception the museum´s educator, the mediator, is understood by the one that is present in the triangulation between the public and the exposed object. In this triangle does not exist a vortex with more strength or more potential, but a dialectical relationship between those subjects involved by the educational action.
This understanding of the mediation does not stuck the visit to a cultural place into an action that pretend gain information or know details from the exposed objects, but sure as a opening source to the dialogical reading and interpretation of the artwork. Martins and Picosque refer to the educational practice saying that “the mediating is, therefore, provide places to the work´s rebuild”. The rebuilding is in the multiplicity of readings that may arise from the viewers, the public and the mediator, as well by the conversation between these individuals.
The cultural mediation also seeks to make the role of educating the public that visits these places, searching the visitor´s autonomy and opening spaces of reflection. According to Coutinho (2007, p. 56) the “direction of the cultural mediation is founded above the desire of replace to the public and share with them a common cultural heritage, or, in other words, artistic, architectural, historical, etc. Also created in the desire of access the culture for all.
Thus, the cultural mediator is the figure that opens to the public the possibility of ask inside the museum. Wonder about its own visual repertoire, about the figure of the educator in that place, about the chosen objects, about the form, the color, the plot, the context; “the function of the ask is to create the thinking and stimulate associations and interpretations”, as says Barbosa (2009, p. 20).
In this concept of cultural mediation the educator´s role is in the place of that one who observes his students and the tracks left by they along their way as powerful cores of expression. The educator should create actions that stimulates the ideas of the students, giving conditions and time for them to follow their path. (BARBIERI, 2009, p. 139)
However, the position of the cultural mediator does not always follow this profile of being questioner, interpretative and reflective. Previously called as guide or monitor, the museum´s educator was that one which used to offer information and details.
The changes in the nomenclature´s form of the educator in the museums are extremely related to a change in his posture as a professional. The responsibilities and the task of the responsible for the education inside the museums has been transformed when the exposed content was able to require a reflection beyond that one obtained through the pure view or the listing of information that was almost cataloging.
At the beginning of the educator´s procedure in the museum spaces this professional was known as guide. To be a guide it was just required to know and memorize most of the information about a particular work or theme. He was the one who guided, passing information e detailing , but the term “guided visit assumes the public´s blindness and the complete ignorance”, according to Barbosa. (2008, p. 31)
From the moment in the work of some museums the professional was not be able to determine so many borders to the viewer, but sure commanding it through the place, the function has changed into monitoring. The monitor was the one who grants explanations, that one who used to act the famous “banking education” of Paulo Freire, which often annihilated the interpretation´s multiple possibilities of the artworks.
Thus, the monitor was the professional who used to determine the route in the visit, the viewings and the perceptions. However, this is also a limited term for Barbosa (2008, p. 30), who believes that “(...) monitor is that who helps a teacher in the class room or that object that conveys the image generated in HDs, when we talk about computers. Stuck to the word, creates a meaning of carrier and lack of autonomy and own power.”
Due to a new meaning in the field of non-formal education, some educational sections come to understand that the museum´s educator needs to dislocate and alternate your own position in front of the public. So it adopts the term mediator, that one who make relations, dialogue, pull from the viewer your own contextualization from that artwork.
The use of the term mediation to designate the relationship between art and the public was adopted for the art museums from the theories of Lev Semenovitch Vygotsky and from the social-constructivism, as puts Barbosa, p. 13:
On the 20th century, the education´s concept as knowledge was to be minimized to gives place to the ideas of the social-constructivism, which gives to the educator the role of mediating the relations from the pupils to the world that they should earn by the cognition. The art have a huge importance in the mediation between human beans and the world, pointing an outstanding role to the art/education: to be the mediation between art and the public.
Inside the perspective of the human development, the relationship between the subjects and the medias was largely studied by the social-historic psychology; whose concepts get started with the premise that the psychological events are made simultaneously while the individuals interact socially.
Vygotsky asks himself what´s the relationship of the learning with the physical and social environments (1998, p. 25) and analyze the formation´s way of the children, searching the relations that involves the thought and language. According his theory, every relationship of the individual with the world is made through technical tools and by the language – which brings within itself consolidated concepts from the original culture of the subject. “The true way of the thought´s development does not come from the individual to the socialized, but from the social to the individual.” (1998, p. 24)
For the author, the build process of the learning is it a social practice where the individuals set up your knowledge in the interaction with the field and with the others, with a constant relationship between the individual and collective ways. And the learning processes and the children´s development are accompanied by the speech. The speech it´s the mediator in the cognitive development. “The language´s role in the perception it´s surprising, considering the opposite tendencies in the nature of the visual perception processes and of the language.” (1998, p. 43). The speech becomes a tool for the learning.
So, it can be seen that the language it´s the major mediator of the subject with your environment (2009, p. 398), and that the mediation happens by instruments. The mediation it´s a intervention process of an element in a object-subject relationship, and the use of signs leads the human beings to a specific structure of behavior that stands out of the development and creates new forms of psychological processes.
Synthesizing, according to Vygotsky, the mediation it´s a property of the human cognition, which refers to the assimilation of activities e social, cultural and historic behaviors; and, by your turn, includes the use of tools and signs inside a social context. The mediation, in the specific situation of the expositive places, between the public and the artwork, it´s realized not just by the tools, as well by the relationship with another individuals that constitutes a context full of other meanings and influencing the build process of the own thought and awareness.

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BARBOSA, Ana Mae. Mediação cultural é social. In: BARBOSA, Ana Mae; COUTINHO, Rejane Galvão (orgs.). Arte/educação como mediação cultural e social. São Paulo: Editora UNESP, 2009.
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________________. Pensamento e Linguagem. São Paulo: Martins Fontes, 2007.

Line of discussion: Art museums and educational relationships