CAPES-Print projects

Human Development, Culture and Learning


In a world increasingly marked by diversity - ethnic, religious, gender, class - art and culture are developing progressive relevance in contemporary social processes. Our research follows this movement, understanding culture as patterns of behavior, arts, beliefs and institutions; as mediated and constituted by languages, including digital media and technologies, and expressed in languages ​​and other forms of aesthetic expression. 

In this sense, formal and non-formal educational institutions and processes are crucial to the transmission and constitution of cultures, both individually and collectively, and therefore of human subjectivity, in addition to socio-cultural structures. In the light of this understanding , the objective is to articulate our investigations with other programs, together with institutions abroad. 

The main pillars of the project are: languages; identities; learning; cognition; creativity; materialities; sonorities; aesthetics; memory. The main objectives are: to understand how children, youth and adults are formed as subjects in formal and informal contexts; the role of languages, art and cultures in identity development and human cognition; the role of the body and the environment in human thought; the role of technologies and media in cognition and human learning; the ethical and aesthetic dimensions of human thinking and learning; educational processes as forms of inclusion and resistance.

Our intention is to intensify the discussion around art and culture and contribute to developments in the field of education, in a context marked by the approximation of differences. Art and culture will be the gateway to support research in the implementation of public policies; for processes of subjectivation and production of individual and collective identities; to reconceptualize notions such as mind, body and learning, resulting in new policies relating to how knowledge is transmitted to the research subjects and to those we educate: future educational professionals.

Professors involved

Rosália Duarte (National coordinator), PUC-Rio

Gustavo Fischmann (International coordinator), Arizona State University

Cristina Carvalho, PUC-Rio

Giselle Ferreira, PUC-Rio

Jefferson Soares, PUC-Rio

Magda Pischetola, IT University of Copenhagen 

Maria Inês Marcondes, PUC-Rio 

Mylene Mizrahi, PUC-Rio

Patrícia Coelho da Costa, PUC-Rio 

Ralph Bannell, PUC-Rio

Silvia Brilhante, PUC-Rio

Sonia Kramer, PUC-Rio

Zena Eisenberg, PUC-Rio


The debate about the role of the body, aesthetic sensibility , languages ​​and sociability in human development needs to be deepened and opened up to other theoretical and practical perspectives. This requires studies focused on reconceptualizing key themes in the area of ​​education, seeking to build an epistemological and ontological perspective that considers the aesthetic dimension and different languages ​​and cultures in the configuration of human understanding. The central assumption is that these dimensions are essential for human development and therefore for learning. 

For this reason, our research problem consists of the reconfiguration of the concepts of mind, body, languages, learning and cultures within a post-Cartesian paradigm of the analysis of the transmission/acquisition of knowledge. The project follows the growing aestheticization of collective and everyday life in contemporary times, allowing us to consider the place that human and cultural creativity occupies in the acquisition of knowledge and in the education of subjects, whether they are children, young people or adults.

In this sense, the place that the aesthetic dimension occupies in our research project relates to the way in which it allows us to access these subjects, their subjectivation processes and their educational processes through sounds, materialities and corporealities. In an attempt to analyze educational processes and their communicative forms, we seek to understand learning as an inherently relational, recursive and emerging process. This makes It necessary to link corporeality with language and develop an analysis that does not inflate nor reduce bodies or verbal language in the explanation of cognition. 

In this conception, learning is mediated by communication, culture and language, but also by the movement of the body, its sensitivity and its coupling with the materiality of life. In this way, we can understand cognitive processes as being-in-the-world, instead of only in the head, and constrained and regulated by aesthetic and emotional sensitivities as well as language and the normative dimensions of social and cultural practices. When acting and communicating, not only does the subject learn, but he or she also learns with the other person, both learning simultaneously.


  • To reconceptualize key themes of education - mind, body, cultures, languages ​​- in conversation with contemporary studies, which break with the dualist and internalist paradigm of human learning.
  • To identify and analyze curricula and pedagogical processes that can favor full human development. 
  • To incorporate new concepts into the educational debate about the role played by aesthetic perception, languages ​​and cultural artifacts in learning processes and in human development. 
  • To offer support for the reconfiguration and innovation of educational ideas, institutions and practices in the Brazilian context. 
  • To re-discuss theories of knowledge and learning with a critical perspective regarding internalist rationalism and its application in educational practices.

Actions (2018-2021)

The Human Development, Culture and Learning project developed several present and long term actions in the period of 2018 and 2021, among them:

  • Meetings and talks of working groups to discuss and plan the execution of the project with the PPGE management, with its team of researchers, with the PPGE employees linked to the project and with the foreign project coordinator.
  • The work mission of Gustavo Fischmann (Arizona State University), foreign project coordinator, PUC-Rio, between May and June of 2019;

The work mission of professor Zena Eisenberg (PUC-Rio) to Arizona State University, in the USA;

The organization and publication of two books

  • The Human Mind Beyond the Brain - Perspectives from 4Es cognition, published in Portugal, 2019, presents and discusses the main concepts involved in the new approaches to cognition known as the 4Es, as well as possible implications of these theses for education, psychology, social issues and health. The book is free and openly available here
  • Dis-educating Education: minds, materialities and metaphors (BANNELL, MIZRAHI e FERREIRA, 2021), a compilation published by PUC-Rio that brings together and organizes the theoretical basis of the project. The book counted on the participation of researchers from different countries, many of whom are references in the themes that make up the book. Release:  I International Seminar on Human Development, Culture and Learning: reconceptualizing education, April 15 and 16 of 2021;
  • Development of Educational Leaders workshops. The presentation of 2 workshops lasting 3 hours with principals from partner schools and members of the management team from the Paulo Freire Training School, attached to the Municipal Department of Education of Rio de Janeiro (SME-RJ);
  • Young Talent Scholarship holder with training abroad. The project included the participation of the Andres Sharpe as a scholarship holder for 6 months, linked to the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales (FLACSO)  and to the Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET);
  • The sandwich doctorate program (2019 selection, with implementation in 2020) of Elise de Moraes, at the Institute of Education/Center for Childhood Studies of the University of Minho, within the scope of the agreement established since 2009 between this Higher Education Insittute (HEI) and PUC-Rio;
  • I International Seminar on Human Development, Culture and Learning: reconceptualizing education, April 15 and 16, 2021. The seminar included the participation of partners in the project and authors of the book Dis-educating Education: minds, materialities and metaphors (BANNELL, MIZRAHI e FERREIRA, 2021)