Myth Today and Together.

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Bennett, P. ; McDougall, Julian (2016)

This article presents a theoretical evaluation in practice, in the form of a project whereby Barthes’ collections of Mythologies (1973, 1979) were ‘reimagined’ by academics, teachers and students from (and for) the contemporary arts and media/culture landscape. Sections of the article rework extracts from two ‘bookending’ essays in a published collection, which, in this contribution, forms one strand of a broader research project and as such is placed in discursive and pedagogic conflict with the other data generated by the research. This ‘data’ is textual, generated by two participant groups – self-identified published ‘experts’ from the field of art, media and cultural studies, and groups of ‘inexpert’ student/teacher collaboration – both working to the same ‘brief’ but in different contexts. The ‘expert’ group responded to a conventional call for chapters, accepting the invitation to contribute to an orthodox scholarly ‘reader’. The group of ‘inexperts’ used a wikispace to respond collaboratively, blurring boundaries between teacher and student, author, myth and text. Our interpretation of the textual material produced by working, writing and myth-making in these ways identifies the dominant emerging discourses articulated by the data. In assessing these themes, we ask what is a myth today, in art’s ‘problematic relationship to knowledge’, what constitutes theory and who has the authority to impose theory on art as myth? Our tentative answers to these questions go beyond a ‘reimagining’ of Barthes’ intervention to lead us to propose some implications for values and practices in learning and teaching in arts, media and culture, closing in further on a ‘pedagogy of the inexpert’.
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