GIPI · Grupo Imágenes Palabras e Ideas

Beyond a voyage through art


In this project we worked as researchers participating in the development and evaluation of the program “Didactics of Arts and Heritage” (DAP for its Spanish acronym) from the Foundation Arte Viva. This program promotes the intellectual development of children through conversations on what they see and think regarding different works of art.


The educational goal of the DAP program is to ease the development of a critical thinking process through the description and interpretation of works of art. On the other hand, it intends to generalize those skills to other life situations and, in addition, to ease access to culture for many different sectors of the population.

Based on this program objective, as researchers we asked ourselves: how may education contribute to shaping creative individuals, who approach reality in a way that allows them to use different languages in order to represent it and to generate new ways of interpreting it? And in this sense, to what extent can the DAP program help in this task?


What the project consisted on

“Didactics of Art and Heritage” is an educational program that proposes a different outlook to appreciate and analyze works of art and Historic Heritage objects. DAP is based on people being able to develop intellectually by conversing about what they see and think regarding the works of art. Reflecting upon their meaning proposes challenges related to perception, thoughts and language.

This program takes off from the methodological premises on ‘Visual Thinking’ created by the Department of Education at New York’s Museum of Modern Art, MoMA, which is completed with pedagogical processes and which applies innovative educational strategies to the field of Didactics and Aesthetics.   This methodology consists on a strategy of open questions that allows students to analyze and reason their observations in accordance with their own criteria. To understand the scope of the program it is important to point out that it arises within an international context, so that we are able to take advantage in our country of the experience acquired in other contexts.

From 2005 we started the implementation of the DAP program in Spain through eleven Primary Education institutions in the Community of Madrid. To start the running of the program we had excellent didactic materials elaborated by specialists from the Foundation Arte Viva. DAP is comprised of nine sessions which include four works or art that children may explore guided by their teachers and the educators of the program itself. As part of these sessions, children visited the  National Museum “Art Centre Reina Sofía”, the Thyssen-Bornemisza Museum  and Madrid’s Royal Palace , which belongs to the National Heritage. In these institutions, students had the opportunity of coming closer to important art collections in an active and dynamic way: observing, reflecting and dialoguing around their own perceptions and opinions, rather that remaining passive by just listening to explanations.


Learning in a creative way

Throughout the development, follow up and evaluation of this program we were able to analyze its process of implementation in order to provide a creative use for art, a tool contributed by society and which required creative proposals far from pre-established agendas.

We discovered that this program has contributed to the design of innovative educational situations that make it easier for boys and girls in Primary Education to learn how to dialogue before a medium. These dialogue situations have contributed towards the development of students at a cognitive as well as at a social level. Supported by Diana Kunn´s theory (2005), we refer to a cognitive development because children bring into the conversation issues that can be placed at different levels of abstraction, especially at a narrative level.   That is to say, they transcend the immediate situation of the painting, being able to tell what is going on and even being able to take the artist’s perspective. 


Beyond the dialogue

Another of the findings of this research is that we observed that, by being immersed in this visual methodology, they only dialogued, but at no point did they act to be able to achieve other levels of development. In this sense, we helped in the development of activities for teachers to be able to complete the methodology in the classroom based on productions created by the boys and girls. 

The collaboration made possible within DAP between Foundation Arte Viva and our research group served as the starting point for the IntegrArte program IntegrArte.

Also participating

More information

  • Lacasa, P. and Pasero M. (Ed.) (2008). Más allá de un viaje por el arte. Explorando el desarrollo del programa DAP. Madrid: Universidad de Alcalá – Fundación ArteViva.
  • Lacasa, P. and Lafuente, G. (2007) Monography. Issue of the month of September 2007. Aprendiendo a mirar: un viaje por el arte a través del programa DAP. Praxis-Cuadernos de Pedagogía, .371, 56-84.
  • Lacasa P.; Reina, A. & Alburquerque, M. (2002) Visitar un museo: ¿un primer paso para aprender a crear? In M. Benlloch (Ed.) La educación en las ciencias: ideas para mejorar su práctica. Barcelona: Paidos, pp. 93-115.
  • Lacasa, P. (coord.) A Journey Through Art, via the DAP Programme. Symposium presented in the International Congress INSEA: Art Education Research and Development Congress. Heidelberg, Karlsruhe (Germany), 17 - 20 Julio 2007.


Website Research Group Imágenes, Palabras e Ideas. Madrid. 2009.
Coordination: Pilar Lacasa. Editing and digital support: David Herrero Martínez. Web Master: Luis Briso de Montiano Aldecoa. Graphic Design: Rebeca Ochoa Bernabé

Website Research Group Imágenes, Palabras e Ideas. Madrid. 2009. All rights reserved | Credits - Last Update: 22/10/2011