International Journal of Art & Design Education

Coming in From the Cold: Imperialist Legacies and Tactical Criticalities

Volume 25.3   2006



There is a perception in British universities and art colleges that art students are not very good at writ¬ing, that they don't want to write, and furthermore, that writing gets in the way of the real business of making art. These perceptions are reinforced in much of the literature that has been produced about, and in support of, undergraduate art educa¬tion in the last few decades.

This paper will examine the tensions, both historical and contemporary, between academic practices (such as the academic essay, the disser¬tation) and fine art studio practices. This translative gap both produces, and perpetuates, a set of bina¬ries: visual/textual, art/literature, words/images, Studio/Art History, making/writing. The net result of which is a resistance to writing from many Art students in Higher Education.

I will outline subject specific multidisciplinary strategies used with undergraduate and post¬graduate students to harness, and develop, this resistance as both transformational and inventive.