Culture & Education


The research group Culture & Education (C&E) is part of the Department of Educational Studies at Ghent University.
Its research and education are aimed at developing a contemporary cultural pedagogy.

  • How is the concept of culture defined in the public and academic debate?
  • How can cultural pedagogy critically approach this debate and instigate new practices of knowledge production?
  • How can rhetoric be introduced into the curriculum?

  • How does the role of cultural and educational institutions as mediators of knowledge change? 
  • How does cultural knowledge flow in an increased algorithmic culture?
  • How are cultural policy and practice interrelated?

C&E approaches these questions both conceptually and methodologically from an interdisciplinary framework starting from (new) rhetoric, cultural studies, literacy studies, critical pedagogy and anthropology.  There is a strong focus on embedding artistic practices in education and approaching these practices as forms of research.


Around these themes C&E frequently organises international conferences, exchanges and workshops. These research topics are also extensively explored in a number of special issues and edited volumes. For example:

Phd projects

  • Johanna Couvée  - A rhetorical study of mediatized debates on mental health: towards a critical mental health literacy (promotor: Kris Rutten).
  • Amanda Adam Rhetorical analysis as a framework for aesthetic literacy in (art) education (promotor: Kris Rutten).
  • Amber De Clerck – Unpacking cultural logics in educational contexts. A rhetorical approach (promotor: Kris Rutten).
  • Ruini HuangA qualitative study into the functions of art education in China (promotor: Kris Rutten). 

  • Hari Prasad Sacré – Reading Illiteracy: A pedagogical study about cultural (il)literacy in Flanders (promotor: Kris Rutten, co-promotor: Sruti Bala, Amsterdam University). [defended July 2023]
  • Laura Van Beveren - Critical reflection in the social and behavioural sciences: a rhetorical approach (promotor: Kris Rutten, co-promotor: Griet Roets and Ann Buysse). [defended September 2020]
  • Arjang Omrani - Situated knowledge. An educational exploration of “shared anthropology” as a theoretical and methodological framework (promotor: Kris Rutten).
  • Ishaya Anthony – Public Pedagogy and the Socio-Political Economy of Religious Media: A qualitative study of the Advent Cable Network Nigeria (ACNN) (Joint PhD with the University of the Western Cape, South-Africa; UGent promotor: Kris Rutten, UWC-promotor: Lee-Shae Scharnick-Udemans).
  • Luz Santa María Muxica - A qualitative study into the literary socialisation practices of adolescents (Joint PhD with the Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, Spain; UGent promotor: Kris Rutten, UAB-promotor: Cristina Aliagas Marín).
  • Simon Allemeersch – Een interpretatief onderzoek naar de probleemconstructies van armoede en sociale ongelijkheid in een stedelijke context. Artistieke praktijk en social werk in de Rabot torens in Gent  (promotor: Griet Roets, co-promotor: Kris Rutten).
  • Anneli Bowie (University of Pretoria, SA) - Re/framing design trends: a Burkean meta-rhetorical approach (promotor: Duncan Reyburn, University of Pretoria, co-promotor: Kris Rutten) [defended July 2018]
  • Desiree Nanuses - Politics of my skin - An explorative study into decolonial curatorial practices, a case study at the National Art Gallery of Namibia (NAGN) (promotor: Johan Thom, University of Pretoria, co-promotor: Kris Rutten)


Research Partnerships 

The Mentally project

Mental health problems in adults are of great concern as they are highly prevalent and impact significantly on health, social welfare and economy. Psychological treatment – whether or not in combination with medication – is effective but has not been able to nullify the apparent mismatch of mental healthcare. There is under- and suboptimal treatment of some adults and overtreatment of others.

MentALLY’s strategic aim is to gather the necessary empirical evidence to accelerate the evolution towards a European mental healthcare that provides effective mental health treatment to all adults who are in need. A carefully designed dissemination and implementation strategy translates the empirical evidence to strengthen existing networks and improve existing practices.

Events & Collaborations