International Journal of Art & Design Education

The Changing Culture of Five English Art Schools 1989 - 1994

Volume 14.3   1995



This paper describes an investigation into changes perceived by academic staff in the organisational culture of five art schools in the south-east of England over the last five years. The research method reflects the primarily visual interests of the respondents through a series of metaphorical images of the art school presented for rating to two groups: staff with more than five years' service in the institution; and staff who had joined since that time. Each respondent was asked to indicate the meanings they associated with the metaphors offered. The findings show a substantial concurrence between the two sample groups and this is viewed as giving authority to evidence of a range of perceived changes, notably perceptions of reduced order, harmony, co-operation, autonomy, growth, and reward, and of increases in perceived competition and conservatism. Set against these effects is evidence of unchanged perceptions of a sense of community, of the art school's basic function, of people's roles within it, and a sense of productivity with humane relationships remaining in place.