Volume 21 Number 4 February 5, 2020

Narrative Inquiry, Pedagogical Tact and the Gallery Educator

Jennifer Andersen
University of Melbourne, Australia

Marnee Watkins
University of Melbourne, Australia

Robert Brown
University of Melbourne, Australia

John Quay
University of Melbourne, Australia

Citation: Andersen, J., Watkins, M., Brown, R., & Quay, J. (2020). Narrative inquiry, pedagogical tact and the gallery educator. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 21(4). Retrieved from http://doi.org/10.26209/ijea21n4.


This paper responds to the need for a deeper understanding of gallery educator practice. Focusing on a significant encounter in a major city public gallery, it describes how narrative inquiry offers new insights into how experienced gallery educators shape school education sessions based on prior knowledge and experience, and in-the-moment observations and judgements. Responding to artworks, artists, gallery spaces, and students’ needs and interests, gallery educator practice is infused with ‘pedagogical tact’. Narrative inquiry makes this complex teaching visible and, in doing so, affords a valuable approach to professional learning.

Visual Abstract

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