International Journal of Art & Design Education

Censorship in Contemporary Art Education

Volume 21.1   2002



This study draws upon interviews with fifteen secondary art teachers in Australia and England and focuses on the selection and censorship of artists and art works for student study. Given that cutting edge art must shock if it is to change artistic sensibility it would seem that the study of contemporary art must present students and teachers with many ethical dilemmas. The violent, sexually explicit, disgusting and psychologically disturbing, nature of many contemporary arts works make them potentially offensive, disturbing, provocative and confusing to young impressionable minds. While wishing to be open-minded and to teach inclusive curricula, art teachers are also aware of their accountability in the community and their responsibility for the well being of their students. The study examines ways in which art teachers achieve postmodernist plurality in their programs yet also respectfully stay within the parameters of modernist school charters which define curriculum limits.