Volume 20 Number 21 November 25, 2019

Looking for Empathy in Visual Encounters

Rachel Sinquefield-Kangas
University of Helsinki, Finland

Citation: Sinquefield-Kangas, R. (2019). Looking for empathy in visual encounters. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 20(21). Retrieved from


empathy is fundamental in our abilities to achieve healthy, happy, socially successful lives. the importance of its inclusion in educational pedagogical practices and classroom instruction is highly emphasized, yet very little research has been conducted to examine artistic exercises as effective ways for promoting empathy through pedagogy. vts is a dialogical form of aesthetic interview that encourages groups of students to engage critical thinking skills. this article addresses a dissertation study in which vts was implemented as an arts-based educational research (aber) methodology to elicit discourse. the data, comprised of an audio recorded vts exercise, was collected during a workshop at a conference in vienna, austria. participants discussed an illustration taken from shaun tan’s the arrival, a graphic novel telling the story of an immigrant’s journey. findings illuminate how vts exercises elicited empathic discourse and a discussion explores vts as a pedagogy for eliciting empathy within a theoretical context.

Visual Abstract

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