Politicising the ‘personal’: the resistant potential of creative pedagogies in teaching and learning ‘sensitive’ issues

Katy Pilcher*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Drawing upon student narratives gleaned through qualitative interviews, this paper argues that teaching and learning ‘sensitive’ issues surrounding gender and sexualities through ‘creative’ pedagogies can be a mode of resistance against the reproduction of problematic social discourses, and to the negative impacts of neoliberalism on student’s learning within higher education. The findings point to the importance of speaking about sensitive issues; the value of creative approaches for enhancing learning; and that together these can enable students to articulate an agenda for social change. Students saw the ‘personal as political’ – of sharing personal journeys around sensitive issues as important. They further spoke of ‘apathy’ in an neoliberal era of student ‘consumers’ and how this could curtail ‘creative’ teaching and jeopardise learning. Overall, it is argued that creative approaches to teaching and learning sensitive issues can invoke a resistant potentiality which exposes the ‘hidden injuries’ of the neoliberal university.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)975-990
JournalTeaching in Higher Education
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 28 May 2017

Bibliographical note

© 2017 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/
licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited


  • creative pedagogies
  • gender
  • sexualities
  • sensitive issues


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