International Journal of Art & Design Education

New Ways of Seeing

Volume 6.2   1987



The author is interested in the idea that a wide range of young people at all levels of education can bring penetrating intuitions, observations and judgements to bear upon works of art, when their minds are not clouded by the attitudes and opinions of adults. Moreover, while teachers may frequently have agonised over the most appropriate sequence of facts and 'isms' to present to different age groups, they may have overlooked one of the most potent facts of all, namely the silent power of the work of art itself. This paper looks at some of the background to this thinking and how it found its way into courses for 14 year-old pupils in Scotland. They were encouraged to turn normal art room practices into processes of appreciation and stimulating them to employ their own personal vocabulary as critics and connoisseurs, focusing upon the wonderful collections in the museums and galleries of Scotland. The courses (fully described in a report entitled ‘New Ways of Seeing’ 1986), broke down the structure of art appreciation into five clearly defined components comprising: critical activity, history of art, connoisseurship, aesthetic experience, and the production of art and design.