Aesthetic Literacy: Observable Phenomena And Pedagogical Applications For Mobile Lifelong Learning (MLLL)

Michael Sean Gallagher 1  and Pekka Ihanainen 2
  • 1 Hankuk University of Foreign Studies, Seoul, Republic of Korea
  • 2 HAAGA-HELIA University of Applies Sciences, Helsinki, Finland


This paper proposed a method for developing capacity for lifelong learning in open spaces, defined here as places without predefined learning structures or objectives, through the cultivation of aesthetic literacy. This discussion will be situated within fieldwork performed by the authors in Helsinki, Finland, and Tallinn, Estonia, in 2013. Based on the researchers’ experience in the field of teacher education and workshops they have conducted on mobile learning, the empirical context for this discussion focuses on data generated from the research methods of participatory observation (ethnography), autoethnography, reflective concept analysis and artistic subjectivity. These methods and the data generated as a result collect to produce insight into how aesthetic literacy sits within the cross-section of open space, mobile learning, and lifelong learning,

Aesthetic literacy, appropriated and broadened from its original focus as capacity for “reading” or making meaning from artistic material (discussed in Gale, 2005 as the “living of lyrical moments”), is positioned in this paper as a means of making meaning in open spaces through alignment and attunement. This paper presents pragmatic methods for pedagogically cultivating learning in open spaces through a focus on aesthetic literacy. The pedagogical advantages of such an approach and its applicability to lifelong learning, particularly lifelong learning activated through mobile technology (or mobile lifelong learning-mLLL), follows along with recommendations for further research. The applicability of such research is for teachers, learners, or researchers who are looking for methods for making use of open spaces for learning, or to cultivate learners who actively seek learning in the “rhythms of the everyday” (Lankshear & Knobel, 2011).

The aim of the article is to produce fresh insights into the academic discussion about the nature of open space, mobile learning and lifelong learning as seem from the point of view of aesthetic literacy, insights we believe have distinct pedagogical advantages for mLLL.

Focal Area: Informal arenas of learning – learning opportunities in daily life and the workplace; Learning process design, teaching methodologies

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