International Journal of Art & Design Education

School Art Education: Mourning the Past and Opening up a Future

Volume 25.1   2006



This paper begins with a brief summary of the findings of a recent research project that surveyed the content of the art curriculum in a selection of English secondary schools. The research confirms that this curriculum promotes a particular construction of pedagogised subjects and objects rooted in ideas of technical ability and skill and is underpinned by a transmission model of teaching and learning. The paper draws upon psychoanalytic and social theory to suggest reasons for the passionate attachment to such curriculum identities when in the wider world of art practice such identities were abandoned long ago. Taking on board the notion of the subordination of teaching to learning, the paper argues for learning through art to be viewed as a productive practice of meaning-making within the life-world of the student. The paper employs the term, ‘encounters of learning’ in order to briefly outline a pedagogical quest in which an ethics of learning remains faithful to the truth of the learning event for the student.