International Journal of Art & Design Education

Towards a Methodology for Students of Fine Art

Volume 2.1   1983



The origination of this project lay in a desire to establish a basis for the constructive tutorial discussion of difficulties encountered by undergraduate students of Fine Art. Employing Eduard Lindeman's concept of the 'participant observer', the study is based on the experiences of seven Fine Art students at Leicester Polytechnic. The author considers problems and challenges faced by Art students and their tutors following the decline in the systematic teaching of pre-arranged subject matter, the technical and stylistic canon which determined course content, and by the encouragement of 'personal development' of the individual. These prompted the widely held view that Art cannot be taught. Examining the views of a range of Art tutors, the author finds many similarities between the UK and the USA. This paper describes the preliminary stage of a research project examining problems of learning in Fine Art. Two main classes of work activity are identified: physically productive work and intellectual or reflective work. The specific objective of the enquiry was to produce a methodology, which might guide the actions of Fine Art students experiencing difficulty. Learners' activities are divided into two sets: generative activities, and analytical and reflective activities. Generative incorporates the three stages of generation, selection and synthesis. Analytical and reflective activities incorporate the stages of articulation, presentation and critical discussion. These are represented diagrammatically to separate the component activities and indicate their logical independence.