International Journal of Art & Design Education

The Limits of Theory in Art Education

Volume 17.2   1998



The role of theory in art education is of some importance. It is through theory that a systematic accounting can be constructed that explains and makes consistent the individual critiques of what is going on in classrooms, schools, committees and the nation-at-large. The paper discusses developments in England and the United States with regard to the theoretical development of curricula and the means for evaluation in art education. It also outlines and discusses the 'limits of theory in art education'. It is not opposed to theory; rather it is posited that preoccupations with theory should not over-ride the importance of maintaining a multiplicity of competing (or emerging) meanings. It is argued that theories should inform and illuminate actions rather than place arbitrary limits upon them.