International Journal of Art & Design Education

Towards a Theory that Links Experience in the Arts with the Acquisition of Knowledge

Volume 26.3   2007



The origin of this article is an investigation of an academic course, Graphic Arts and Design for students of natural and social sciences. The article describes the benefits of attending the class for the science students, which were an increased ability to solve problems, new and different ways to observe the environment, greater self confidence, and a higher understanding and valuing of the working process. The participants considered that the artistic activities affected their academic courses since the exercises were seen as creative and meaningful, which led to a changed attitude towards their studies. The exercises developed a comprehensive view and an ability to concentrate, which were conducive to problem solving. The article compares the process of drawing with the cognitive approach of philosophical pragmatism described by Charles Peirce and John Dewey. Michael Polanyi's concept of tacit knowing and some theories on the function of metaphors are also discussed in relation to some concrete pedagogical examples.