International Journal of Art & Design Education

Self-Initiated Art Work and School Art

Volume 29.3   2010



This article deals with the forms and contents of self-initiated art works: the kind of learning that takes place in the production of self-initiated art works as well as the relationships with school art. We interviewed 52 Dutch students (aged between 10 and 14) from different schools of primary and secondary education, and their art teachers. The students showed examples of their home art as well as their school art. Based on interviews and the works presented, four main categories of self-initiated art works can be distinguished: applied art, popular culture, personal experience and traditional art. Learning outside school is partly incidental and informal (learning by doing, copying), but involves intentional learning as well. Students are aware of the differences in style, materials and themes between their spontaneous, self-initiated art work and the work they are required to make in school. Moving the domain of self-initiated art into schools may jeopardise it, but art teachers should neither ignore nor dismiss it. They should be aware of children's self-initiated visual culture and relate to it in their lessons.