2011 TC Research
Teachers College, Columbia University
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John Baldacchino

Professional Background

Educational Background

University of Warwick, England, UK, (1991- 1994)

  • | Areas of Research: Aesthetics, Critical Theory, Political Philosophy, Modernism, Contemporary Art and Music.
  • | Dissertation Title: Post-Marxist Marxism: Questioning The Answer, Within The Difference Between Lukcs's and Adorno's Aesthetic Discourse.

University of Warwick, England, UK, (1993)

  • | Areas of Research: Aesthetics, Critical Theory, Mediterranean studies, Modernism, contemporary and inter-cultural music; theory of culture
  • | Dissertation Title: Culture and Aesthetic Identity: The case of the Maltese composer.

B.Ed. (Hons.)
University of Malta, Malta (1984-1989)

  • | Specialism: History of Art, Visual Arts (studio), Arts Education
  • | Thesis Title: Realist Futurism? Realism in Italian Futurism.


Scholarly Interests


Arts pedagogy | arts in education | pedagogical aesthetics | philosophy of education | radical philosophies and aesthetics in education | critical theory | education and the cultural-creative industries | visual methods in the arts | The Art & Design School


20th century and contemporary arts practices | critical & visual theory | new visual media and convergent languages in the arts | discourses and methods of the virtual | arts-based methodologies.


Philosophy of art and music | Mediterranean aesthetics | radical aesthetics in the wake of Modernity and ‘postmodernity’ | the politics of aesthetics | the cultural/creative industries | semiotics and visual hermeneutics.

Selected Publications


  • Baldacchino, J. Makings of the Sea: Journey, Doubt and Nostalgia | On Mediterranean Aesthetics vol 1 (Gorgias Press, 2010). (ISBN 978-1-59333-695-0; ISBN 978-1-61719-940-0)
  • Baldacchino, J. Education Beyond Education: Self and the imaginary in Maxine Greene’s philosophy (Peter Lang, 2008) (ISBN-10: 1433103567; ISBN-13: 978-1433103568)
  • Baldacchino, J. Avant-Nostalgia: An excuse to pause. Images by Jeremy Diggle. Unit for the Study of Philosophy in Art (USOPIA) Series, published under the auspices of the European League for the Institutes of the Arts (ELIA), Aberdeen 2002. (ISBN 1 901 085 708).
  • Baldacchino, J. Easels of Utopia: Art's Fact Returned. Ashgate, Aldershot 1998. (ISBN 1 84014 144 X).
  • Baldacchino, J. Post-Marxist Marxism: Questioning the Answer. Difference and Realism after Lukacs and Adorno, Avebury, Aldershot 1996. (ISBN 1 85972 438 8)


  • Baldacchino, J. Art’s Way Out: Exit Pedagogy and the Cultural Condition (Sense Publishers, in contract forthcoming 2010/11).
  • Baldacchino, J., Wain, Kenneth. Maltese Conversations: Democracy without Confession (with publishers, fortcoming 2011) 
  • Baldacchino, J. Composed Identities: Sound, Number and Desire | On Mediterranean Aesthetics vol 2 (Gorgias Press, in contract, forthcoming 2011).
  • Baldacchino, J. The Carob and the Olive: Land, Art and Polity  | On Mediterranean Aesthetics vol 3 (Gorgias Press, in contract, forthcoming 2012).


  • Diggle, J. Apoll8. Essay & Ed. by Baldacchino, J. (forthcoming 2010/11).
  • Baldacchino, J., Diggle, J. Moonwalks (forthcoming 2010/11).


  • Baldacchino, J. '"Relative Ignorance": Lingua and linguaggio in Gramsci’s concept of a formative aesthetic as a concern for power. In D. R. Cole, L.J. Graham (Eds.), The Power In/Of Language. A special Edition of Educational Philosophy & Theory. (2010). http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1469-5812.2009.00607.x/abstract
  • Baldacchino, J. 'What lies beyond the Bauhaus?: The political "logics" of college art pedagogy'. Australian Art Education, Vol. 32 N.1, 2009.
  • Baldacchino, J. 'Opening the picture: On the political responsibility of arts-based research: A review essay'. International Journal for Education and the Arts, 10 (Review 3), 2009.
  • Baldacchino, J. ‘The praxis of art’s deschooled practice’, International Journal of Art & Design Education vol. 27. no. 3, 2008.
  • Baldacchino, J. ‘“The Power To Develop Dispositions”: Revisiting John Dewey’s Democratic Claims For Education’. Article review. Journal of Philosophy of Education, Vol 42, Issue 1, 2008
  • Baldacchino, J. ‘Art after beauty: values before standards’, Analecta Husserliana vol. XCVII (Springer, Netherlands, 2008).
  • Baldacchino, J. ‘Between The Ironic And The Irenic: Is happiness "suspended» in contemporary art?’, Analecta Husserliana vol. XCVI (Springer, Netherlands, 2008).
  • Baldacchino, J. ‘The pedagogy of culture. Cultural Theory within the politics of a “third space”’, in interactive Discourse, Vol 1. No. 1, December 2007.
  • Baldacchino, J. Between illusions: Art's argument for "Weak" Reality', Analecta Husserliana, vol. LXXXVII, pp. 157-168 (Springer, Netherlands, 2005).
  • Baldacchino, J. 'Hope in groundlessness: Art's denial as pedagogy' in Journal of Maltese Educational Research, University of Malta, Vol. 3, Issue 1, June 2005.
  • Baldacchino, J. The covergent I': Empathy as an aesthetic category', Analecta Husserliana vol. LXXXIII, pp. 505-519. (Kluwer, Netherlands 2004).
  • Baldacchino, J. 'The Metaphysics of Childhood. Children in the art of Carra and De Chirico', in The John Darling Lectures 2002-3, Faculty of Education, University of Aberdeen, November 6, 2002.
  • Baldacchino, J. Contemporary Music and the Question of Aesthetic Identity', in Cynthia Tse Kimberlin, Akin Euba (eds.) Intercultural Music, Volume 3, (MRI Press, 2001).
  • Baldacchino, J. Art's Gaming Lost: within the make-belief of curricular certainty' in Curriculum Studies, vol. 2, no. 3, pp. 333-344. (1994)
  • Baldacchino, J. From African Pianism' to a New Commonwealth of Interculturalism. An Analytical Review of Akin Euba's Modern African Music and Joshua Uzoigwe's Akin Euba, An Introduction to the Life and Music of a Nigerian Composer', in Commonwealth Music, London 1994, vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 2-5.
  • Baldacchino, J. Cultural Refractions', The Musical Times, London, July 1992. pp. 355-6.
  • Baldacchino, J. Literacy: From Dominion to Liberation', The Teacher, Malta, May 1990, pp. 23-4.
  • Baldacchino, J. An Ethereal Flute from the Mediterranean', Pan, The Journal of the British Flute Society, London, March 1990. pp. 12-17.


  • Baldacchino, J. ‘Learning with art, outwith the school: Stumbling upon Adami’s lines, inside Serra’s sequence’ in Theoretical Perspectives on Comprehensive Education: The Way Forward. Hervé Varenne, Edmund W. Gordon, and Linda Lin (eds.). Lewiston, NY: (The Edwin Mellen Press, 2009). For online reference see: Comprehensive Education. Explorations, possibilities, challenges.
  • Baldacchino, J. ‘Salvaging what “we” never lost. Art, site and the virtual in the Maltese imaginary’ in Vella, Raphael (ed.) Cross-Currents: Critical Essays on Art and Culture in Malta, (Allied Publishers, Valletta 2008)
  • Baldacchino, J. ‘“Forms Of Life’: On being taken to task by art and education”, in Vella, Raphael (ed.) Art Education in Malta, (Valletta: Allied Publishers, 2007).
  • Baldacchino, J. 'ART(e) FACTUM: Maurizio Pellegrin: Doing fact(s), dialogando' in Rubbini, Alice (ed.) Writings on Maurizio Pellegrin 1980-2006, (Milano: SKIRA, Ed, 2006).
  • Baldacchino, J. 'On "a dog chasing its tail" Gramsci's challenge to the sociology of knowledge', in Gramsci and Education, Carmel Borg, Joseph A. Buttigieg, Peter Mayo (eds.), (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2002).
  • Baldacchino, J. 'Sapide di sale nostalgico: Note sull'estetica e la pedagogia del Mediterraneo', in Giovanni Pampanini (ed.), "Un Mare di Opportunita". Cultura e Educazione nel Mediterraneo del III Millenio (Armando Editore: Roma 2000).
  • Baldacchino, J. 'Imposing Freedom: The Cultural Game of Adult Education', in Godfrey Baldacchino, Peter Mayo (eds.) Beyond Schooling: Adult Learning in Malta (Mireva Publications, Malta 1997).


  • Baldacchino, J. Review of Charles R. Garoian & Yvonne M. Gaudelius Spectacle Pedagogy: Art, Politics, and Visual Culture (SUNY 2008). International Journal of Art & Design Education vol. 27. no. 3, 2008.
  • Baldacchino, J. Review of Richard Hickman, Why We Make Art And Why It Is Taught. Teachers College Record, June 10, 2008.
  • Baldacchino, J. Book Review of Melisa Cahnmann-Taylor & Richard Siegesmund (eds.) Arts-Based Research in Education: Foundations for Practice (Routledge 2008) in International Journal of Art & Design Education vol. 27. no. 2, 2008.
  • Baldacchino, J. Book Review of Charles Juwah (ed.) Interactions in Online Education: Implications for Theory and Practice. (Routledge 2006) in interactive Discourse Vol 1. No. 1, December 2007.
  • Baldacchino, J. Book Review of Katy Mcloed & Lin Holridge, (eds.), Thinking through Art: Reflections on art as research (Routledge 2006), in International Journal of Art & Design Education vol. 25 no. 3, 2006.

  • Baldacchino, J. ‘The Parable of Possibility’, Catalogue Essay in Richard Jochum: Intersections & Interstices, Teachers College Columbia University, November 2008.
  • Baldacchino, J. ‘Immanent Exteriors. A brief reflection on Martha MacLeish’s art’, Catalogue Essay in Martha McLeish: Surface Structures, Indiana University, 2008.
  • Baldacchino, J. ‘Formal vindications of informal meanings / Reivindicaciones formales de significados informales’, Catalogue Essay in Mary Sullivan & Boris Curatolo: Wood Meets Paper, New York and Madrid 2008
  • Baldacchino, J. ‘Barbara Howey’s Art of the Familial’, Catalogue Essay for Barbara Howey: Techniques of Memory, New York 2007.
  • Baldacchino, J. ‘Found in transition’, Catalogue Essay in Fong, Keygobadi, Malhorta, Paterson, Pomerantz, Toledo: Found in Transition, New York 2006. 
  • Baldacchino, J. ‘Erasures and Supplements: On Nancy Goldring’s Palimpsest’, in The Architect’s Newspaper, 2006.
  • Baldacchino, J. ‘To “look with”: Wei Li Zhu’s art of gentle truth’, Catalogue Essay in Wei Li Zu Paintings (Aberdeen, Scotland; and Beijing, China 2006).
  • Baldacchino, J. ‘On Being with the work’, Catalogue Essay in Cynthia Capriata: Bicho-Creatures (Teachers College, Columbia University, New York 2005).
  • Baldacchino, J. ‘(Hand held) On distant shores’, Catalogue Essay for Peninsula Arts, Exhibition of works by Jeremy Diggle, New Zealand House, London UK, (May 2005).
  • Baldacchino, J. ‘Words of Belonging: After a conversation with Leena Nammari’, in Leena Nammari, Belonging (Deveron Arts Publication, 2002)
  • Baldacchino, J. ‘Homecoming(s)’. Catalogue Essay for Homecoming(s) Multi-Disciplinary Exhibition of works by Heather Delday, Moira Macaulay, Brian Grassom and Gawain Douglas. Duff House, Banff, Scotland, 2002.
  • Baldacchino, J. Virtuoso Entrance of Beethoven's Archduke', The Higher Times, London 6.3.1992. p. 18.
  • Baldacchino, J. ‘The Negation of Negation’, The Times, Malta 10 February 1989, p. 4.
  • Baldacchino, J. ‘Soundscapes at the Aula Magna’, The Times, Malta 17 March 1989, p. 6.
  • Baldacchino, J. ‘An Inner Reality’, The Times, Malta 11 April 1989, p. 6.
  • Baldacchino, J. ‘The Rhythms of Ali El Abani’s Art’, The Times, Malta 28. April 1989., p. 7.
  • Baldacchino, J. ‘Definitely Feminine’, The Times, Malta 13 June 1989, p. 8.
  • Baldacchino, J. ‘Contrasting Movements’, The Times, Malta 23 June 1989, p. 23.
  • Baldacchino, J. ‘The Metaphysics of Chance’, The Times, Malta 31 July 1989, p. 7.
  • Baldacchino, J. ‘The Cross-roads of Mediterranean Music’, The Sunday Times, Malta 17 December 1989, p. 26.
  • Baldacchino, J. ‘Panorama of Mediterranean Music’, The Times, Malta 18 December 1989, p. 7.
  • Baldacchino, J. ‘Against the myth of homogeneity’ The Sunday Times, Malta 29 March 1992, p. 44.
  • Baldacchino, J. ‘The intransigence of the unreal’ The Times, Malta, January 9, 1989.
  • Baldacchino, J. ‘Post-Independence Art’ The Times, Malta, January 26, 1989
  • Baldacchino, J. ‘A construction behind the spirit’ The Times, Malta, February 17, 1989
  • Baldacchino, J. ‘Playing Shades into forms’ The Times, Malta, July 10, 1989
  • Baldacchino, J. ‘From and towards the soul’ The Times, Malta, November 3, 1989


  • Baldacchino, J. 2009. ‘Art, learning and the politics of what?Institute For Aesthetic Research. Exit Art Gallery, New York City, United States. November 4th
  • Baldacchino, J. 2009. ‘Risking the Aesthetic’. Paul Standish (respondent). Institute of Education, University of London, England. March 27
  • Baldacchino, J. 2009. ‘On The Arts’ Pedagogical Polity’. Mediterranean Institute, University of Malta, Malta. March 16.
  • Baldacchino, J. 2008. ‘The Arts’ conversational ethics and the makings of diversity’ South Asian Imaginaries Symposium, Conversations Across Cultures, Centre for Educational Outreach and Innovation, Teachers College Columbia University, New York City, United States. October 31st.
  • Baldacchino, J. 2008.The role of the artefact in the research process: Art, Design and Knowledge’. Lecture to the School of the Arts, Renmin University of China, Beijing, People’s Republic of China. 18 June.
  • Baldacchino, J. 2007. ‘Post-Marxism and Post-Marxist aesthetics’. Lecture to The Institute of Marxian Studies, Renmin University of China, Beijing, People’s Republic of China. 20 June.
  • Baldacchino, J. 2007. ‘Art And Education Parallel Philosophies, Shared Practices’, The University of Paisley (now West of Scotland University), Scotland. 13th February.
  • Baldacchino, J. 2006. ‘Post-Marxism’. Lecture to The Central Compilation and Translation Bureau, Beijing, People’s Republic of China. June 21.
  • Baldacchino, J. 2002. The Metaphysics of Childhood. Children in the art of Carrà and De Chirico. The John Darling Lectures 2002-3, Faculty of Education, University of Aberdeen, Scotland. November 6.
  • Baldacchino, J. 1998. ‘Mediterranean Spectacles: The articulation of myth in the poetics of reality’, Portsmouth University, England. 28 October.
  • Baldacchino, J. 1996. ‘Caravaggism and Modernity’, Goldsmiths College, London, England. September.
  • Baldacchino, J. 1995. ‘What’s happening to Art in education?’, Somerset College of Arts & Technology, England. 13 October.
  • Baldacchino, J. 1995. ‘Luigi Nono: The sounds of Post-Modernity’, Concluding lecture in The History of Ideas Week, Hampstead School, London, England. 15 September.



  • Baldacchino, J. 2008. ‘What lies beyond the Bauhaus? The political ‘logic’ of college art pedagogy’. College Art Association (CAA) Annual Convention. Dallas.
  • Baldacchino, J. & jagodzinsky, jan. 2008. ‘Arts Class, Social Class: Returning The Political to Contemporary Art Education’. National Art Education Association convention, New Orleans.
  • Baldacchino, J. 2008. ‘Critical Theory As Studio Pedagogy: Contemporary Art's Critical Challenge To Art Schools’ National Art Education Association convention, New Orleans.
  • Baldacchino, J. 2007. ‘Art’s Political Anomaly: “Impasse” As Revolution’. 33rd Annual Conference of Social Theory Politics and Art, 11-13 October, New York University, New York. City.
  • Baldacchino, J. 2007. ‘Art’s Deschooled Education: A Revaluation of Art Education in View of Contemporary Art’. National Art Education Association Annual Convention, New York City, 16 March.
  • Baldacchino, J. 2006. ‘Between The Ironic And The Irenic: Is happiness “suspended” in contemporary art?’, the 11th Annual Meeting of the International Society for Phenomenology, Aesthetics, and Fine Arts with the theme The Happy Choice: Measure Or Excess? Harvard University, Cambridge Massachusetts, May 26-27.
  • Baldacchino, J. 2006. ‘Art’s transient illusion: word, image and space in the work of Antoni Tàpiez’. The Scottish Word and Image Group International Conference, University of Dundee, Scotland 12-13 May.
  • Baldacchino, J. 2006. ‘Practice’s perversion of praxis: art, education and the sociology of knowledge’, Ways of Knowing in Educational Research Conference, Teachers College Columbia University, New York City, March 3rd.
  • Baldacchino, J. 2005. ‘Politics as Research’, Ways of Doing: Exploring the Methodological boundaries of research in the Arts and Humanities, Teachers College Columbia University, New York City, 7th November. (further details: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/centers/waysofdoing/program.htm).
  • Baldacchino, J. 2005. ‘Art after beauty: values before standards’, International Society for Phenomenology, Aesthetics, & Fine Arts, 10th Annual Conference, with the theme Beauty’s appeal in the Transformation of Standards for Valuation. Harvard University, Cambridge Massachusetts, May 27-28.
  • Baldacchino, J. & Sullivan, Graeme. 2005. ‘Doing art, making philosophy’, National Art Education Association Convention March 7. Boston, Massachusetts.
  • Baldacchino, J. 2004. ‘Between illusions: Art’s argument for Reality’, Annual Meeting of the International Society for Phenomenology, Aesthetics, and Fine Arts with the theme Human Creation Between Reality And Illusion, Harvard University, Cambridge Massachusetts, May 14-15.
  • Baldacchino, J. 2003. ‘The covergent “I”: Empathy as an aesthetic category’, Ninth Annual Meeting of the International Society for Phenomenology, Aesthetics, and Fine Arts, World Phenomenology Institute with the theme Beauty, Truth, Goodness: Aesthetics at the Crossroads. Harvard University, Cambridge Massachusetts, May 16-18.
  • Baldacchino, J. & Diggle, Jeremy. 2003. ‘Culture and the Reliquarium: Identity, the visual and truth’, Culture Incorporated: Bodies Technologies Habitats, Cultural Studies Association of Australia Conference, December 6-8. University of Canterbury, New Zealand.
  • Baldacchino, J. & Euba, Akin. 2003. ‘Post-Diasporic Homecomings: Myth or Possibility?’, Music of the African Diaspora Conference and Festival, Churchill College, Cambridge University, United Kingdom, 1-4 August.
  • Baldacchino, J. 2003. ‘Critical Theory and the rising Hybridity within the Visual Arts’, Teachers’ Academy, European League of the Institutes of the Arts, Institut del Teatre and Escola Massana, Barcelona, Spain, 8-12 July.
  • Baldacchino, J. 2002. ‘Culture as jocular repetition: “use” beyond mechanical utility’, Ute Culture: the utility of culture and the uses of cultural studies, Cultural Studies Association of Australia Conference, December 5-7, University of Melbourne, Australia.
  • Baldacchino, J. 2002. ‘Modernity’s Children: Rousseau’s L’enfant au polichinelle (1903) and Carrà’s Ricordi d’Infanzia (1916)’, 9th Annual International Aberdeen Word and Image Conference, University of Aberdeen, Scotland 11 May.
  • Baldacchino, J. 2001. ‘Thalassic Makings: Angelopoulos, Ungaretti and Kavafis’, 8Th Annual Aberdeen International Word and Image, University of Aberdeen, Scotland, 11-12 May.
  • Baldacchino, J. 2000. ‘Aesthetics contra Aesthetics: The discursive challenge of multiculturism’, 6Th Biennial International Symposium and Festival on the Theme ‘New Intercultural Music’, University of London Institute of Education, London, 17 April.
  • Baldacchino, J. 1998. ‘Prolegomena for a Future Revolution: Pier Paolo Pasolini, Che Guevara and Teresa d’Avila’, Coming Down Fast Conference, Wolverhampton University, United Kingdom, 11 July.



  • Baldacchino, J. (interviewee), Vella, Mario (interviewer). 2009. «Tango» TV Interview. One TV. Malta, March 17.
  • Baldacchino, J. (interviewee) Cherow O’Leary, Renee (interviewer). 2009. Peer Review: Research Talk Show. Podcast on Teachers College Columbia University, I Tunes U. March 14. Accessed in: http://itunes.tc.columbia.edu/
  • Baldacchino, J. (respondent) & Greene, Maxine (speaker). 2009. The 3nd Annual Radical Philosophies and Education Seminar: Maxine Greene, Teachers College Columbia University, New York City, March 4.
  • Baldacchino, J. 2008. (workshop facilitator and presenter), ‘Contextual and Critical Connections’, Think Tank III, School of The Art Institute of Chicago. June 6-8.
  • Baldacchino, J. (respondent) & Ranciere, Jacques (speaker). 2008. The 2nd Annual Radical Philosophies and Education Seminar: Jacques Ranciere, Teachers College Columbia University, New York City, April 22.
  • Laclau, Ernesto (speaker). 2007. The 1st Annual Radical Philosophies and Education Seminar: Ernesto Laclau, Teachers College Columbia University, New York City, April 11.
  • Baldacchino, J. 2007. ‘Art’s paradox as with-ness and possibility’, a response to Prof David T. Hansen’s lecture ‘the idea of a cosmopolitan education as a response to a changing world’, Teachers College Columbia University, New York City, February 6.
  • Baldacchino, J. (presenter) & Greene, Maxine (respondent). 2005. ‘Response to Presenters’, Teachers College Columbia University Conference on Christo’s and Jean Claude’s Gates Project, Enterprising Art and Artistic Practice, The Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, The Sackler Centre for Arts Education, New York City, 19 February.

(for images and description of works see Portfolio Website)
  • Abstracts,  Collective Show, South Korea, May 2008.
  • Art and Art Education Faculty Exhibit, 7-22 September, 2004. Macy Gallery, Teachers College Columbia University, New York.
  • Arch, 1-17 June, 1994. Library Exhibition Hall, University of Warwick, England.
  • Uprising, August, 1991. National Museum of Archaeology, Valletta, Malta.
  • Satira '89, 21 August -7 September, 1989. National Museum of Fine Arts, Valletta, Malta.
  • Avangwardjarti, 17-30 July, 1989. National Museum of Archaeology, Valletta, Malta.


biographical information

Dr. John Baldacchino is Associate Professor of Art and Art Education in the department of Arts and Humanities at Teachers College Columbia University. In 2007, the Vice Chancellor of The Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen Scotland, honoured him with the title of Honorary Professor in recognition of his continuous work and collaboration within Gray's School of Art.

Current role in Teachers College Columbia University

Professor Baldacchino's role is to teach and supervise students at Masters and Doctoral levels in the areas of the Philosophy, Practice and Pedagogy of Art.

In the theoretical realms of art and art education he specialises and lectures on the Philosophies of Art in Education, Pedagogical Aesthetics, Radical Philosophy and Critical Theory, Contextual Studies, and the Philosophy of Arts Research. Occasionally during the summer term he also teaches Studio classes.

As to the pedagogy of art he specialises in the area of art in higher education with particular attention to The Advanced Art Curriculum in College Teaching, Teaching and Administration of Art , and on the new challenges of contemporary art practices to the Art School.

His approach to the pedagogy of art is closely tied to the symbiosis between the discursive and studio-based narratives of art. To that effect he has continuously adopted an approach (as an academic, teacher and researcher) where the relationship between teaching, studio-practice and theoretical study is expressed in the form of a Critical Studio that bears a direct effect on the submission and discussion of ideas as a hybrid ground that challenges traditional forms of rendition and assessment in art and art education.

He also has an interest in the theory of culture, which mainly emerges from his work on Mediterranean aesthetics and Mediterranean studies. This is especially focused on the making of the aesthetic imagination in 20th century arts and literature. This contextual aspect of his work is closely linked to his theoretical application of a pedagogy that is read as a 'formative' ground in terms of thought, polity and the historical imagination.

Apart from his continuous work on cultural and critical theory and the philosopy of art and art education, at TC Columbia, John Baldacchino has developed a number of projects, where Students are invited to take a lead (a) in the study of the philosophy of research in art, the arts and humanities (through the Ways of Doing project), (b) sustain scholarly work and discussion on the relationship between radical philosophies, radical aesthetics and and education; and (c) in engaging with the philosophical problematic of contemporary art practice (through the re-launching of a Unit for the Study Of Philosophy In Art, USOPIA). (See Current Projects for more details).

His work and teaching of Radical philosophies have attracted huge interest from stduents across all subjects, and through his courses on Radical Philosophies and Education, he has also run three Annual Seminars that were addressed by the eminent philosophers Ernesto Laclau (in 2007), Jacques Ranciere (2008) and Maxine Greene (2009).

Previous positions

John Baldacchino came to TC Columbia from the United Kingdom where he was Reader in Critical Theory at Gray's School of Art, The Robert Gordon University, in Scotland between 2000 and 2004. There, his academic duties also extended to those of Director of Graduate Studies and Course Leader of the School's MA Program in Art & Design. In his tenure at Gray's he restructured and expanded the MA, developing it from an Art and Design course to a Program that offered routes in Design, Fine Art, Contextual Practice, Critical Studio and a Research Masters. As Director of Graduate Studies he also expanded the doctoral cohort in response to the continuous challenges and demands of Higher Education in the UK.

As part of his research remit at Gray's he also formed the Unit for the Study of Philosophy in Art (USOPIA), with the intent to advance the consolidation of discourse within the study and practice of the visual Arts.

Prior to joining Faculty at Gray's School of Art, he held a tenured Faculty post in the Art Education program at the University of Warwick in England for seven years between 1993 and 2000. At that time Warwick University's Arts Education Department was led by Professor (now Sir) Ken Robinson (currently Senior Advisor to the Director at the Getty Center in Los Angeles). At Warwick, Dr Baldacchino taught Courses on art education, studio art, critical theory & historical studies, aesthetics & cultural theory, and philosophy of education.

He was founder-member of the Unit of Research in Education, Culture and the Arts (URECA) which he took over as Director from Ken Robinson in 1998. His teaching spanned across BA, MA and Doctoral levels and he was Course Director of the Department's MA in Art and Design Education. He also supervised a good number of dissertations at MA and PhD levels.

Before he moved to the United Kingdom, Baldacchino taught art and art history in Primary and Secondary Schools in Malta where, after Graduating with a Bachelor of Education in 1989, he was appointed and received a warrant as Teacher of Art & Art History by the Ministry of Education.


Professor Baldacchino's education spans across countries and cultures. Between 1984 and 1989 he read a Bachelor of Education at the University of Malta, specialising in Studio Art, Art Historical Studies and Art Education. As a student he held placements (normally of 6 months each) in both Primary and Secondary Schools. In 1991, he moved to the UK to read a doctorate in Art Education at the University of Warwick under the supervision of Professor Fred Inglis. In his first year of his doctoral studies he submitted a dissertation entitled Culture and Aesthetic Identity for which he was awarded a Master of Arts.

In his Doctoral study at Warwick University (1991-1994) he engaged in research on realism in the wake of Post-Marxism. With references to the political theories of Toni Negri and Ernesto Laclau, the philosophy of Jean Francois Lyotard and the music of Luigi Nono, this research emerged as a comparative study between the aesthetic theories of Georg Lukcs and Theodor W Adorno. This doctoral work was externally examined by Professor Ernesto Laclau and awarded a PhD in 1994.

Academic research & publications

John Baldacchino is the author of numerous refereed and journalistic articles in academic and political journals. Between 1983 and 1990 he published around 54 articles in a monthly political journal and over 30 full-length feature articles for Maltese newspapers in Maltese and English language covering subjects like aesthetics, culture, the visual arts, social and political theory. In the same period he was also graphic artist and political cartoonist, contributing work on a weekly basis. Throughout 1989 he regularly reviewed art exhibitions and concerts in the The Times and The Sunday Times of Malta.

Since 1994 he has been engaged on an ongoing programme of research on discursive analyses in aesthetics, culture and knowledge and has written scholarly articles, chapters and papers on the arts and literature. He is the author of the following books: Post-Marxist Marxism: Questioning the Answer (Avebury, 1996), Easels of Utopia: Art's Fact Returned (Ashgate 1998), Avant-Nostalgia. An Excuse to Pause (USOPIA/ELIA 2002), Education Beyond Education: Self and Imaginary in Maxine Greene's Philosophy (Peter Lang, 2008).

In Post-Marxist Marxism Baldacchino argues that a discussion of realism in a Post-Marxist context has to take two simultaneous routes: recognising deconstruction as the tool of inquiry to disentangle the insufficiency of contemporary answers in political philosophy and aesthetics; and reclaiming realism to move beyond the Post-Modernist transition. To answer the issues of realism within Post-Marxism it re-visits George Lukács’s and Theodore Adorno’s aesthetic questions, which in their different approaches prefigured the questions of the present. Central issues include the notions of totality; method; identitarian and non-identitarian dialectics; the Enlightenment; and the end of Modernity. While focusing on Lukács and Adorno, this book surveys various and current discussions within and beyond contemporary Marxist discourse, including the works of Lyotard, Derrida, Negri and Laclau. The last two chapters emerge around a discussion of the work of the Italian composer Luigi Nono.

Easels of Utopia is a discussion of art’s duration and contingency within the avant-garde’s aesthetic parameters, which throughout this century have constructed, influenced, and informed our definitions of modernity. In this context Baldacchino reads Umberto Boccioni’s Futurism as reminiscent of Thomist realism, he proposes Caravaggism’s historical relevance to the election of individuality in post-war realism, and draws the reader’s attention to the aesthetic implications in Carlo Carrà’s metaphysical art and its reappraisal of the early Renaissance. Following a contextual analysis of the historic avant-garde in Part One, Part Two presents parallel discussions of Italian and British questions, articulated by the works of Marino Marini, Francis Bacon, Renato Guttuso and Stanley Spencer in their return to individuality within art’s aesthetic construct. The author argues that this initiates a return to lost beginnings where form seeks knowledge, content regains an ability to archaicize, and art recognizes its contingent condition

Avant-Nostalgia consists of two narratives: a textual narrative (John Baldacchino) that runs in parallel with a visual narrative (Jeremy Diggle). It brings together textual and visual narratives scattered around knowledge, memory, touch, involution and return. The text starts where the image ends. The image originates where the text is fulfilled. These are afterimages of a reading of art and literature on the grounds of polity, history and geography. The narratives that emerge within the visual arts and literature chart the grounds of polity. Such grounds manifest a history that is ‘contemporary’ — in that it takes serious account of ‘our’ time — where democracy and freedom must be regarded as moral imperatives. The discussion retains a ‘fragmentary’ format by way of excusing the discussant from epistemological compartments. It was published under the auspices of the European League of the Institutes of the Arts (ELIA) and launched at its Conference Dublin in the Fall of 2002.

Education Beyond Education develops a theme 'in dialogue' with Maxine Greene’s philosophy. The theme is that of the self and the imaginary as dynamic categories of learning. This book is not intended as a philosophical biography of Maxine Greene. Rather it traces those key arguments through which Greene offers a strikingly original way that empowers us to see and re-position education beyond what is customarily limited to education. Hence the running title Education Beyond Education.

Current book projects

John Baldacchino is currently working on two main projects. A three-volume project on Mediterranean Aesthetics (contracted with Gorgias Press, forthcoming between 2010 and 2012) and a one-volume book project entitled Art’s Way Out: Exit Pedagogy and the Cultural Condition (contracted with Sense Publishers, forthcoming 2010).

Art, Culture and Education Project: Art’s Way Out is a philosophical discussion of contemporary art and what it implies to notions of cultural inclusion, art's pedagogical practices, and what ensues from what Baldacchino regards as a polity sustained by the grounds of dispute where the condition of culture and the paradox of art practice articulate what he identifies as an 'exit pedagogy'.

Mediterranean Aesthetics Project: This is a three-volume project: Volume 1: Making of the Sea: Journey, Doubt and Nostalgia (published in 2010), Volume 2: Composed Identities: Sound Number and Desire (forthcoming, 2011) and Volume 3: The Carob and the Olive: Land, Art and Polity (forthcoming 2012).

Volume 1, Makings of The Sea, is an inquiry into the makings of the Mediterranean imagination in the 20th century. It is prompted by a strong interest that developed from a case of 'personal accident' (being Mediterranean by birth and upbringing) to an academic interest in how the Mediterranean comes to signify a narrative horizon of cultural and political particularities that have often been glossed over by generalised paradigmatic terms such as Oriental and Occidental, Modern and Post-modern. This volume is now published by Gorgias in hardback and paperback.

Describing identity as an ‘inter-construction’ between idioms, aspirations and meanings, volume 2, Composed Identity, discusses the issue of identity through an analysis of a number of of Mediterranean composers. Not unlike Orientalism or its various derivatives, a discussion of a Mediterreanean identity--or even the idea of Mediterraneanism--revisits the political mystification and instrumentalization of art and society and whether it effects the development of a national artistic and musical genre. In this respect, this book seeks to define and establish the meaning of popular and contemporary representations as fluid and ultimately non-identitarian, where the usage of dyads such as the local and universal are ultimately questioned.

The last volume, The Carob and the Olive, will discuss the relationship between art, politics and the relationship between land and people. While volume 1 tends to look at the Mediterranean from a Southern European perspective, this volume looks at the Mediterranean from the South -- that is, from the North of Africa and the Middle East. 

Mediterranea Book Series: John Baldacchino is the founder editor of a new book series, Mediterranea. He co edits this series with Dr John Chircop who is senior faculty in the History Department at the University of Malta. This is a book series that opens the notion of Mediterranean Studies to the tessellated spectacle of Modernity. While arguing for the perennial condition of difference and paradox across the various histories, polities, forms and expressions that converge in this region, Mediterranea is intended as a discursive, analytic, poetic and critical space that hosts, affirms and problematizes what is often identified as a hybrid narrative. Voices and approaches that come together in this space include, amongst other, philosophers, historians, artists, poets, performers and critics; as well as pedagogues, sociologists and political theorists. While in remit, this series remains open-ended, it aims to hone in on the dynamic multiplicity that ultimately brings together the various peoples that have come to identify themselves with one sea.

Studio practice

Although most of John Baldacchino's research output is currently done in written form, he is still studio-active. His studio interests extend to publishing, typography, and graphic design. His graphic art includes web-design, illustration, layout and cover design of a series of Italian textbooks, children's Italian readers, and cover-design and layout- and page-setting of several academic books published overseas. He has also contributed as a free-lance political cartoonist for over three years in weekly and monthly newspapers and magazines. He exhibited in solo and collective shows in the UK and overseas and he mostly works in two-dimensional (mixed) media. For more information about John Baldacchino's Studio Work see his portfolio Website at www.johnbaldacchino.com

current projects



John Baldacchino is currently engaged in four main areas of research, intended to be disseminated in written (articles, papers and book) form:

  • Mediterranean aesthetics | with a focus on 20th century art and literature
  • Art, Culture and Society |  concentrating on the pedagogy of art through the lenses of aesthetics, politics and cultural theory  
  • Fragments of mind and memory of vision | on-going project with visual artist Jeremy Diggle
  • Art's philosophies of learning | with a focus on contemporary art practice as related to the politics of aesthetics
USOPIA: A Unit for the Study of Philosophy in Art

John Baldacchino originally founded a Unit for the Study of Philosophy in Art (USOPIA) as a research cluster in 2001 when he was Reader in Critical Theory at Gray's School of Art, in Aberdeen Scotland. Through USOPIA he worked with a number of Graduate Students over relevant texts in the philosophy of art, and he also collaborated with the visual artist Jeremy Diggle (then Head of School at Gray's and now Dean of Research at the Faculty of Arts, Plymouth University, England) with whom he published his third book Avant Nostalgia through USOPIA funds and under the auspices of the European League for the Institute of the Arts. While he still collaborates with Prof. Diggle, Prof. Baldacchino is also currently working with a group of Art and Art Education students at TC Columbia University to re-found USOPIA and initially re-launch it as a Study Group that would enhance the notion of art and art education as a practice, a pedagogy and a 'philosophy' -- thus continuing to pursue USOPIA's original objectives.

Broadly, USOPIA's objectives are as follows:

1. Approach: What brings together a Unit for the Study of Philosophy in Art is pedagogy and philosophy. Beyond the kudos that these words may carry, they remain simple. Pedagogy pertains to form; philosophy to prudent receipt. Anything else, ensues.

2. In a Nutshell ('an excuse'): USOPIA takes itself as a word in a playful manner. Research is an excuse to restore playfulness. The arts facilitate the excuse (intent on pleasing by way of suiting the intentions of everyday life). This is the meaning of the Arts' in USOPIA. In like manner Philosophy' resides in the Arts' as an excuse to engage truth with the game of the Arts. No norms predetermine what the Study' hastens to add within the bounds of USOPIA.

3. USOPIA's aim(s) remain: To .

...  create new spaces of playing
... converse in the dialects of the visual;
... confront the limits of words;
... try to understand the margins of image;
... explore method and narrative;
... reach beyond tight parameters of form and thinking
... philosophize in art,
... engage in grammar
... converse in critical theory
... learn by teaching
... teach by learning
... apologise for art's apologies
... extend art's agenda

USOPIA will soon be re-launched through its new website: which will include a full programme of activities.


WAYS OF DOING: PHILOSOPHIES AND PRACTICES OF RESEARCH IN ARTS & HUMANITIES. A project funded by The Spencer Foundation For Research Training.
Project Co-Chairs: Professors John Baldacchino & Graeme Sullivan, Department of Arts & Humanities

This project is intended to put in place a program to consolidate the philosophies and practices of research across the arts and humanities. A basic tenet of this project is to bring together a community of practices that would dispel a number of myths and prejudices within the fields and practices of educational research. This project has a number of goals, namely:
  • To address the need for arts and humanities graduate students to enhance the skills by which they articulate, justify and make accountable the philosophies and practices of their research.
  • To locate arts and humanities research and practice within a broader paradigmatic spectrum to help teachers, academics and arts-practitioners re-define research within contemporary contexts and interdisciplinary interests.
  • To reinforce the arts and humanities cross-disciplinary ethos in the light of the research polities that continue to challenge the justification of arts and humanities education in the United States and beyond.
  • To present a coherent and fluent argument that arts and humanities research makes use of diverse platforms of research design, implementation, and accountability.
  • To apply in research contexts the array of pedagogical philosophies that the arts and humanities present with respect to social equity, ethnic cohesion, cultural difference, gender equality, and their recognition of diversity in creed, inclination, preference and action.

Ways of Doing will start in the Autumn 2005. While John Baldacchino and Graeme Sullivan will direct this project, its main thrust is to bring together and give the opportunity to Doctoral Students in the Arts and Humanities (within but also outwith Education) to discuss and develop a forum on the philosophies and practices of their research experiences and objectives. All funds from the Spencer Grant go to the creation of 8 Spencer Fellows. As a result, eight doctoral students have been recently elected as Spencer Fellows after a competitive call for applications from a large pool of applicants from within the Department of Arts and Humanities at Teachers College Columbia University. The Fellows' initial task is to work as a team by facilitating two Day Seminars on the philosophies and practices of research, and by developing an E-Journal, Spaces, that would extend the discussion globally. The first issue of this journal is forthcoming in Summer 2007.

For current information about Ways of Doing and also for more information about its conferences and activities see the Ways of Doing website: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/centers/waysofdoing/


The ‘Radical Philosophies’ cycle is taught and spearheaded by John Baldacchino at Teachers College  through two  courses: Radical Philosophies and Education, and Radical Aesthetics and Education and an Annual Seminar.  The annual seminar cycle is in its third year. The first seminar was held in Spring, 2007 and focused on the work of Ernesto Laclau, and in Spring 2008, we held the 3rd Annual Seminar featuring Jacques Rancière. On both occasions, professors Laclau and Rancière gave a public lecture in which the students attending the course and the larger TC Columbia community had the opportunity to make questions and discuss aspects of their work. The Radical Philosophies rationale is mainly prompted by the need to address education from a course of discussion and thinking that lies outside the debate between ‘conservative’, ‘liberal’ and ‘progressive’ trinity. Radical thought, especially in its contemporary engagement with Pragmatic, Deconstructionist and Post-Marxist discourses, is proving to be more than a political brawl on the fringe. Rather, students are coming with experiences of marginalized populations that could only be addressed outside the spheres by which education has traditional taken its reassurances. In the specific context of Teachers Colege Columbia University, this course also reinforces and works on the strands of interests generated by Philosophy, Cultural Studies, Gender, Race and Trans-Cultural Studies, as professed by many colleagues, whose work generally congregates around broad notions of pedagogy in its transformative and critical contexts. A serious study of Radical Philosophy with respect to Education is also intended to address a general gap in the discipline of education, where often literature remains concentrated on philosophies that directly address education from within.

A&HA 4085: Historical foundations of art education

An introduction to major historical events and underlying beliefs, values, and practices that have influenced contemporary art and art education programs at all levels of instruction in the U.S. as well as internationally. Special fee: $30.

A&HA 4086: Current issues and practices in art and art education

An analysis of current philosophies, theories, and practices in art and art education at all levels of instruction. Programs in public schools, higher education, museum education, and other non-traditional settings are examined, along with advocacy initiatives and policy issues appropriate to the various issues discussed. Special fee: $30.

A&HA 4202: Fieldwork in art education

Permission of instructor required. Professional activities in the field under faculty supervision.

A&HA 4902: Research and independent study in art education

Permission of instructor required. Professional activities in the field under faculty supervision.

A&H 5001: Research methods in arts education

An examination of research studies and strategies for conducting research in the arts. Special fee: $25.

A&H 5010: Special topics in arts and humanities

Focus on topics and issues using existing documents, studies and multimedia to support investigations into critical issues in arts and humanities.

A&HA 5060: Introduction to drawing

A critical examination of the relationship among structure, form and surface in drawing from life: objects, humans and landscape. Students will track the emergence and development of expressive configurations in their own work from the vantage point of evolving aesthetic and critical responses. Special fee: $100. Noncredit fee: $600 plus special fee.

A&HA 5063: Advanced studio

Artists capable of independent endeavor share their ideas and work in critiques and discussions and undertake advanced artistic problems suggested by the instructor or of their own devising. Noncredit fee: $600. Special fee: $100.

A&HA 5081: Curriculum design in art education: Advanced

An analysis of art as a form of knowledge and how this knowledge informs the curriculum. The course relates notions of knowledge with the contexts and the practices of art in view of contemporary practice and the teaching of art in post-secondary and higher education. Prerequisite: A&HA 4081 or consent of instructor. Special fee: $30.

A&HA 5082: Philosophies of art in education

Professor Baldacchino. An invitation to share a horizon of objectives in the form of philosophical, critical, and practical cases in art education. Students will discuss philosophically how art could be expressed on the grounds of experimentation that could take place in either the studio, the classroom, in both, or in an environment that students deem conducive to art and/or art education. Special fee: $15.

A&HA 5202: Fieldwork in art education

Permission of instructor required. Professional activities in the field under faculty supervision.

A&HA 5902: Research and independent study in art education

Permission of instructor required. Professional activities in the field under faculty supervision.

A&HA 5922: Master's seminar in art education

Corequisite A&HA 6202. Permission of instructor required. Required for all M.A. and Ed.M. students. Guided independent work in research, culminating in the development of a masters proposal. Special fee: $30.

A&HA 6002: Teaching and administration of art education in college

A practical and theoretical ground for the discussion, development and implementation of pedagogical philosophies, strategies and practices by which art and design specialists come to teaching as professed in art and design programs in higher education. The course attends to pedagogical discourses and practices; the administration of art as a discipline; and studio practice and art teaching as an instrument of professional development. Special fee: $15.

A&HA 6003: Critical perspectives and practices in the arts

Students investigate their creative practice from several critical perspectives and produce personal profiles and arts projects within educational and cultural contexts. Special fee: $25.

A&HA 6202: Fieldwork in the art education

Permission of instructor required. Professional activities in the field under faculty supervision.

A&HA 6482: Internship in the teaching of college and museum programs

Permission of instructor required. Guided experiences in the teaching of the arts in departments of metropolitan area colleges. Sections: (1) Teaching art programs: college, (2) Teaching art programs: museum.

A&HA 6502: Doctoral seminar: Arts in education

Required seminar for doctoral students who are completing certification papers, developing literature reviews or exploring and applying research methods. The seminar includes faculty/student presentations, group discussions and critiques.

A&HA 6580: Problems in art and education

Specific problems of art and art education examined. Different topics each semester. Permission of instructor required. Special fee: $15.

A&HA 6903: Studio work in art and education: Drawing

Permission of instructor required. Enrollment limited. For advanced independent study. Noncredit for majors only. Special fee: $100.

A&HA 6972: Research and independent study in art education

Permission of instructor required. Research and independent study under the direction of a faculty member.

A&HA 8900: Dissertation advisement in art education

Individual advisement on doctoral dissertations. Fee to equal 3 points at current tuition rate for each term. For requirements, see section in catalog on Continuous Registration for Ed.D. degree.

A&HA 8902: Dissertation advisement in art education

Individual advisement on doctoral dissertations. Fee: to equal 3 points at current tuition rate for each term. For requirements, see section in Catalog on Continuous Registration for Ed.D. degree.

Centers and Projects

Ways Of Doing : Spencer Research Training Program
Website: http://www.tc.columbia.edu/centers/waysofdoing

This project is intended to put in place a program to consolidate the philosophies and practices of research across the arts and humanities. A basic tenet of this project is to bring together a community of practices that would dispel a number of myths and prejudices within the fields and practices of educational research.

Please visit our web site at www.tc.edu/centers/waysofdoing

John Baldacchino appeared in the following articles:

Experiencing the Work of Maxine Greene (6/17/2009)

TC at AERA (4/21/2009)

Popularizing the Radical (3/24/2009)

Writing the Book on the Radical Philosophies of Maxine Greene (3/24/2009)

The Book on Maxine Greene (3/9/2009)

Calendar (10/13/2008)

Alumni News (9/15/2008)

Vive Le Difference? (4/26/2007)

New Faces (9/17/2004)

Museum, Awake! (1/1/1900)