About Us

What is our history?

The NSEAD's origins can be traced to 1888, when a group of art school principals recognised the need to raise the standard of art teaching and improve the status of art teachers. They founded the Society of Art Masters, which became the National Society of Art Masters early in the last century. In 1899 HRH Edward Prince of Wales became Honorary President of the Society and in 1901, as King Edward VII, he became the SAM's patron. This link with the throne lapsed upon the death of King George V in 1936.

With the development of art and crafts as part of general education, and the appointment of men and women as full-time specialist art teachers in schools, the membership was extended and, in 1944, the Society adopted the title National Society for Art Education.

Another strand of the Society's history concerns the Society for Education through Art which grew out of a framework of an institute for exploring new ideas in art and education, proposed by Henry Moore, Eric Gill, Sir Herbert Read and Alexander Barclay Russell.

The SEA itself was formed in 1940 by the amalgamation of the Art Teacher's Guild and the New Society of Art Teachers. After two years of negotiations the SEA and the NSAE merged their interests to become the National Society for Education in Art and Design in 1984. In 1995 the Association of Centres for Art and Design Teacher Education decided to merge with the Society and a Teacher Education Board was established to serve the special interests of this group. The NSAE launched the Journal of Art & Design Education (now the International Journal of Art & Design Education) in 1982 with Henry Moore as its founding patron. The Society established The Athene Trust in 1996.

Professor Sir Christopher Frayling was appointed patron of the Society in May 2002. He was joined by Sir John and Lady Frances Sorrell and by Sir Nicholas Serota in 2010 and by Professor Magdalene Odundo OBE in 2011.

In early 2009 A4, formerly the Association of Advisers and Inspectors of Art and Design took a decision to merge its interests with those of the NSEAD. The process of convergence was completed with the full implementation of a revised constitution and rules on 1st January 2010. Among other changes this merger led to the creation of an on-line special focus group for advisers, inspectors, consultants, advanced skills teachers (ASTs) and others with a particular interest in school improvement issues.

For a more detailed history of the Society see Thistlewood, D (1988) 'The Early History of the NSEAD: The Society of Art Masters (1888-1909) and the National Society of Art Masters (1909-1944)', Journal of Art & Design Education, Volume 7, No.1., pp 37-64.

Contents

 

8th AGM of the Society of Art Masters, South Kensington, 1895

8th AGM of the Society of Art Masters, South Kensington, 1895

 

Sir Herbert Read
1893-1968

Henry Moore OM
1898-1986