International Journal of Art & Design Education

De-Schooling Art and Design: Illich Redux

Volume 31.2   2012



Using Ivan Illich's seminal works, Deschooling Society and Tools for Conviviality as touchstones, this paper returns to further pursue the thrust of my article in iJADE 25.3 (2006), ‘Domain poisoning: the redundancy of current models of assessment through art’, and might be considered as a more radical addendum. The central strand of Illich's work on ‘deschooling’ is an indictment of the trend to dehumanisation and the counterproductivity which results from institutionalisation. This paper argues that it is time to revisit Illich's call for deschooling with particular reference to the teaching of art and design, and, in turn, to look at the construct of the art teacher for the twenty-first century as connoisseur/critic/animateur, aloof from the world of domain-based assessment. As has been suggested many times before within these pages and beyond, accountability makes teachers risk averse. In short, this article suggests that it is time that we took a structural risk and removed this glass ceiling to aspiration while calling for complete deregulation of art and design education and the reinstatement of the art teacher as an autonomous ‘agent of change’.