International Journal of Art & Design Education

A Critical Reading of the National Curriculum for Art in the Light of Contemporary Theories of Subjectivity

Volume 18.1   1999



This paper shows how pupils become visible as pedagogic subjects in the art curriculum. The works of Foucault and Lacan are used to show how pupils' subjectivities, or identities, are formed within discursive practices which constitute the art curriculum. A critical reading of practice is presented of the English National Curriculum for Art orders and the School Curriculum and Assessment Authority’s document, Exemplification of Standards, in order to show how pupils' abilities are constructed and regulated. Thoughts are offered for reconceptualising the art curriculum by employing the term ‘difference’. The purpose is to highlight the need to develop a curriculum which offers a more inclusive space for practice, a space which is not driven by normative assessment frameworks, but which celebrates difference in practice and vigorous enquiry.