Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile (UC): Estética UC celebrates 40 years by awarding 40 scholarships to professors in the country

From May 2022, it will be possible to apply for the Aesthetics and School Program through UC Continuing Education, aimed at training public education teachers in critical thinking. Two modules will be held in August and also in January 2023, so this training could reach up to 200 people.

Art and criticism expressed on the walls of the streets, changing industries and cultural trends, pandemic lives that push existentialism, gender perspectives that evolve, societies that explore new forms and rethink themselves: in 2022, the UC Institute of Aesthetics celebrates its 40th anniversary within the Faculty of Philosophy and within a world that is in a vertiginous rhythm of actions and reflections.

“Critical thinking is practically urgent, to save a world threatened by various political and economic catastrophes. This year we will celebrate our anniversary with multiple Extension activities, including the Fidel Sepúlveda Chair, which takes place in November. In addition, today, in accordance with the new school curriculum of the Ministry of Education , Aesthetics is taught as an elective in secondary education. We suspect that in many colleges and schools teachers do not have these tools, which for a long time were considered secondary, and we want to take care of this. In this new millennium it is necessary that young people and teachers can develop critical thinking and approach contemporaneity with reading and discussion tools”says Lorena Amaro, director of the Institute of Aesthetics.

For this purpose, the “Aesthetics and School” Program was created , which will begin its application phase during the second half of May. The project will begin its first course in August, and then return in January 2023 , and hopes to ratify the vision of the UC Institute of Aesthetics , which since its creation has been a unique space in Latin America. There are departments of Aesthetics in other universities, but from here an Aesthetics degree is taught and also two postgraduate courses linked to this perspective.

It is through this institute that it is committed to the professionalization of critical thinking, understanding from this university that the sensitive perception of the world is necessary.

“Sensitive perception allows us to access our environment in ways that are profoundly political, and in this we should not be confused: Aesthetics is a discipline that not only addresses categories such as beauty and the arts, but all cultural expressions. It is not a ornamental discipline. It is crucial to broaden the understanding of the environment and to remove common sense, proposing novel, unexpected, dissident and, therefore, transformative ways of understanding cultural, social, political and even economic phenomena. Something that makes us proud, in fact, it is that in the graduate surveys the work of our teachers is highlighted for promoting critical thinking” , says Lorena Amaro.

The “Aesthetics and School” classes will be hybrid, with the face-to-face option from the East Campus classrooms.

In addition to this 40th anniversary, from Estética they also celebrate some recent achievements, such as having achieved parity in the teaching staff . To precursors such as Margarita Alvarado, Regina Valdés and Teresa Viviani, today numerous academics and researchers are added who promote with great knowledge a gender perspective in their chairs.

“I think that the Institute has also come a long way in recent years in terms of developing more democratic practices and a more equitable distribution of roles. I am glad that we teachers can have real influence in decision-making. We are also glad that the Master in American Aesthetics , a program that is already 10 years old, and that is currently facing its third accreditation, each day with more students from other parts of Latin America, such as Colombia and Mexico” , Lorena Amaro highlights.

Commitment to pedagogy

How to face existence from culture and art? How to develop critical thinking for these times? These are some of the questions that will be developed through the “Aesthetics and School” Program , whose curricular focus will seek to promote the interpretation and analysis of aesthetic experiences, to generate in students the ability to relate and move in the world, assuming the diversity, dialogue and information technologies as a fundamental part of today’s society.

“There are few teachers who handle these issues, and that is why we thought of the option of creating these courses not only for third and fourth grade teachers, but also to make it a transversal objective of Education, from first grade, and that way this critical thinking is always in the teaching of boys and girls” , says Andrea Berger, academic head of continuing education at Estética UC.

Considering about 20 chronological hours, the classes will be on Saturday mornings and will have a hybrid format for those who cannot attend in person.

Those who apply will go through a selection phase, to define the teachers who will obtain the 40 scholarships allocated for each course. The search will be aimed at teachers of public education, in the areas of art and humanities, and those who, due to their professional performance, require further study of philosophical aesthetics. To apply, they must have a teaching degree or prove experience in the field of education.

Considering about 20 chronological hours, the classes will be on Saturday mornings and will have a hybrid format for those who cannot attend in person.

“This management thought of the vocation of service and materializing that by reaching the community from this free with the Aesthetics and School Program . We are going to offer it to all of Chile, because the goal is the appreciation of aesthetics as a fundamental pillar for teaching and contemporary thought. That is why this year a Decentralization scholarship was also offered , so that people from the regions could take one of the current Diplomas of the Institute of Aesthetics, with 100% free of charge” , says Andrea Berger.

Among the teaching staff that will lead the Aesthetics and School course are Pablo Corro, dealing with cinema and the cultural industry; Ángel Álvarez, Mexican academic, who studies flavors and smells in aesthetics; and Elixabete Ansa, as the director of the course,among other academics and scholars. At the end of the classes -which will not include evaluations- the scholarship recipients will receive a certificate of attendance.

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