International Journal of Art & Design Education

2002 - Volume 21: Number 1

Cultivating the Critical Mind in Art


Volume 21.1

This article raises the problem of how to teach and research the critical and historical study on an A level art course. I have recently completed my doctoral study on this area of the art curriculum, which was conducted during the period of change to all post sixteen qualifications after the 1996 Dearing report. In this article I show how personal and critical knowledge was a necessary part of the practical investigation and helped to foster inquiry learning among my two research groups of sixth form students. The experience has given me renewed hope that students are able to problematise meaning in art and communicate what values and positions they adopt in the course of their investigations into the work of others.

Visual Culture Art Education: Why, What and How


Volume 21.1

Recognising that many art educators are increasingly using the term visual culture, rather than art, to describe their central concern, the author examines why this development is taking place, what visual culture might mean in the context of art education, and how pedagogy might be developed for visual culture. The paper draws on attempts by both art educators to redefine their field and others outside art education who are attempting to define visual culture as an emerging trans-disciplinary field in its own right.

Censorship in Contemporary Art Education


Volume 21.1

This study draws upon interviews with fifteen secondary art teachers in Australia and England and focuses on the selection and censorship of artists and art works for student study. Given that cutting edge art must shock if it is to change artistic sensibility it would seem that the study of contemporary art must present students and teachers with many ethical dilemmas. The violent, sexually explicit, disgusting and psychologically disturbing, nature of many contemporary arts works make them potentially offensive, disturbing, provocative and confusing to young impressionable minds. While wishing to be open-minded and to teach inclusive curricula, art teachers are also aware of their accountability in the community and their responsibility for the well being of their students. The study examines ways in which art teachers achieve postmodernist plurality in their programs yet also respectfully stay within the parameters of modernist school charters which define curriculum limits.

Questioning Established Histories: Light From Dark Quarters


Volume 21.1

My purpose in this paper is to look at the work of a number of scholars who have challenged popular and mainstream accounts of Western and pre-Colombian American history and to assess the implications of their work to art education. There are three of these scholars whose works are pivotal. They are: Cheik Anta Diop, Ivan Van Sertima, and Martin Bernal. What is the substance of their challenge? They assert that Ancient Egypt was an African civilization, whose achievements in science, philosophy, and the arts exerted a powerful formative influence on the ancient world of Greece and pre-Columbian Middle America. This has been misrepresented in popular and mainstream European accounts of world history. The implications of their work for art education are considerable, especially to art history as it relates to multicultural issues. Indications are that we must move beyond the cultural chauvinisms that persist in texts and curriculum structures if we are to achieve truly democratic situations and these revisionist historians help us to do just that.

Indigenous Pottery as Economic Empowerment in Uganda


Volume 21.1

This article presents, in parts, the findings regarding the viability of indigenous knowledge and skills in terms of economical empowerment in third world countries, Uganda in particular. The paper looks at and compares the income derived from indigenous pottery making by craft-persons, with that of government salaries for graduate teachers of primary and secondary schools in Uganda. The comparison assists to determine the economical viability of indigenous Gisu pottery. The paper also suggests the incorporation of such indigenous crafts into the formal education system so as to encourage research, diversity in the learning of art, design and technology and provide self-employment avenues relevant to self, community and the Ugandan state. The researchers were four women from different areas of subject specialisation namely, art & design, history and geography.

AS Level Art: Farewell to the “Wow” Factor?


Volume 21.1

The new AS level modular examinations for year 12 students in England were introduced as part of the government’s Curriculum 2000 reforms designed to bring greater breadth to year 12 and 13 experience. A uniform structure of two modules followed by a synoptic timed test has been imposed on all subjects by the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority [QCA]. In AS Level Art the expressive study module requires evidence of a broad engagement with different generic art forms and visual language skills. The Thematic Study requires convergence towards specific outcomes in at least two media and the Timed Test of eight hours duration requires work towards a single theme with a preparatory period of six weeks. The paper arrives in January so the two coursework modules need to be completed in a little more than a term. The four assessment objectives are as follows:

1 To record observations, experiences, ideas, information and insights in visual and other forms, appropriate to intentions.

2 To analyse and evaluate critically sources such as images, objects, artifacts and texts, showing understanding of purposes, meanings and contexts.

3 To develop ideas through sustained investigations and exploration, selecting and using materials, processes and resources, identifying and interpreting relationships and analysing methods and outcomes.

4 To present a personal coherent and informed response, realising intentions and articulating and explaining connections with the work of others.

All four objectives need to be met in each module.

Although some subjects have welcomed the change, it seems that fears raised by those concerned with the teaching of art during the consultation process have been born out by the experience of the last year. Previously art teachers were free to address skills and concepts in their own way and with regard to the different aptitudes, interests and learning styles of their students. The final submission, including the exam project was marked as a whole relying on the professional experience of the teacher and moderators to balance the requirements of the syllabus with the transcendent, the ‘wow factor’. This paper questions the value of a tiered course that is at once superficial in its expectations, draconian in content, unrealistic in its timescale and discouraging of work of substance.

Preparing Primary Teachers to Teach Art & Design Effectively


Volume 21.1

This paper is an account of an action research project funded by the Teacher Training Agency and co-ordinated by the Institute of Education, University of London. It critically considers the features, methodology and main findings of an enquiry into the nature of art and design components of courses of primary initial teacher education in nine institutions of higher education in the U.K. The project provides evidence to support ways in which primary teachers can effectively transform their subject knowledge in art and design into subject-specific pedagogical knowledge. The value - for the participants - of a collective case study approach to research, along with some wider implications for art and design courses in initial teacher education are also identified.

Out of this World: Theme Parks’ Contribution to a Redefined Aesthetics and Educational Practice


Volume 21.1

There are few links between art education and popular entertainment. Major attractions, such as theme parks, have come to question the relationship between the everyday and the aesthetic. These parks have become sources of ‘calculated hedonism’ where visitors enjoy physical experience in elaborately designed sets. But young people, in particular, approach this experience in varying ways. This paper explores the several options that they may adopt to become aware of the ‘visual ideology’ at work in the entertainment, as well as the stratagems employed. Hopefully, visitors to such parks may become accomplished critics of the politics of display.