International Journal of Art & Design Education

The Multiple Faces of Visual Arts Education

Volume 30.1   2011



This article identifies recent, mainly Nordic, research approaches to visual arts education. A concept map was developed as a heuristic tool in order to highlight salient traits and blind spots. Contemporary research typically has its origin either in education or in the art world, with an emphasis either on art as language or on art as text. These two dimensions were used to organise the studies and to select representative exemplars in different domains. The framework helped to chart the knowledge base of, and research approaches to, visual arts education. However, the result of blending subject matter and pedagogy tended to be a ‘mixture’ of viewpoints rather than emerging domains of subject-specific pedagogical knowledge (Lee Shulman: an ‘amalgam’).