International Journal of Art & Design Education

2002 - Volume 21: Number 2

Art Education in Zimbabwe


Volume 21.2

Art education in Zimbabwe has a rather negative image which dates back to the colonial era. Art was usually confined to wealthy urban schools and taught mostly to white students. The subject was often used as a dumping ground for non-achievers and girls (who had few career options available to them outside of marriage). As a result art was considered an expensive and non-academic subject in Rhodesia. The situation did not improve after independence. Art still retains a poor image and has not expanded into mainstream education. However, the country has a rich artistic heritage and informal art education has developed to

provide sculptures and crafts for the tourist industry. The government made art compulsory in primary education but have been unable to provide the necessary financial backing to implement the scheme. Only about 80 of the 1548 (5%) schools who have students sitting ‘O’ level examinations offer art as a subject. Third level education has been hindered by the lack of a degree course in art and design, and financial difficulties are again a concern.

This research examines how Zimbabwe coped with the transfer of ‘O’ level art examinations from the University of Cambridge International Examinations Syndicate (UCLES) to a local Examinations Board. The study puts forward a detailed outline of art, culture and art education in the country; this provided the contextual background for the study.

Speaking (of) Architecture


Volume 21.2

To stimulate seeing, thinking and 'speaking' architecture in ways other than conventional practice dictates, we devised two projects for second year interior architecture students. We identified prior architectural constructs, a tower in one case and two parallel walls in the other, and questioned how they could be imagined differently. Alongside the objects, we assigned activities that did not lend themselves to be housed in given architectural types: clowning, unicycling, acrobacy, and fortune-telling. The challenge of establishing meaningful links between the objects and the designated activities initiated architectural reinterpretations at various levels. The two problems diverged at this point: the project entitled 'Wall of Entertainment' resulted in the transformation of the object whereas 'Towers' involved the mutation of the activity. Seemingly intact entities generated new forms, presumably ordinary functions yielded unusual narratives. In each case, ordinarily unheeded components of architectural constructs and programs were explored, producing unconventional designs.

Benchmarking Art and Design


Volume 21.2

This paper describes the evolution of the Benchmark Statement for undergraduate provision in Art and Design in the UK. The development of subject-specific benchmark standards was a key recommendation of the Dearing Report. The National Committee of Inquiry into Higher Education [1] had recommended that the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) should ‘work with institutions to establish small, expert teams to provide benchmark information on standards, in particular threshold standards, operating within the framework of qualifications [2].’ Subject Benchmarking is one of a number of linked initiatives emanating from QAA and, as such, will complement the National Qualifications Framework, the Codes of Practice, and Programme Specifications, as well as future rounds of Subject Review. The benchmark statements for 22 subjects were published in April 2000, and the statements for a further 20 subjects, including those for Art and Design, were published in March 2002. The full statements for all 42 subjects can be accessed on-line at the QAA website All quoted statements not referenced are extracted from the benchmark statements for art and design.

Craft Education in Finland: Definitions, Rationales, and the Future


Volume 21.2

The status, content, and social factors influencing craft education in Finland, a standard subject in comprehensive schools, were examined during interviews with craft teachers, craft teacher preparers, and educational administrators. In this paper, the following areas are examined: How are crafts defined? What rationales and cultural and social factors keep craft education robust and what factors threaten it? What is perceived as the future of craft education?

Definitions of crafts in schooling varied among interviewees, with some arguing to maintain traditional divisions between art and craft, and between craft subjects of textiles and technical work, and others noting distinction in these subjects only in the materials and techniques used. Some interviewees associated art teaching with self-expression and craft with skill, materials, and techniques. The context for craft education is affected by Finland’s rapid change, after World War II, from a rural agrarian society to an urban and highly technological one, is understood as putting pressure on craft education to remain meaningful. Rationales given by interviewees for teaching craft in schools fell into five categories: craft provides 1) cognitive development in several dimensions, 2) learning about living in the world, 3) Finnish traditions and culture, 4) social and individual growth, and 5) a break from the demands of academic subjects. All interviewees seemed to agree that teaching crafts in Finland is changing in terms of how teachers are prepared, who writes curriculum, the content of the curriculum, and the configuration of craft in the comprehensive school curriculum. Some interviewees portended a decline in craft education in public schooling, while others embraced change as part of nation building.

A Preliminary Assessment of a New Arts Education Programme in Dutch Secondary Schools


Volume 21.2

In The Netherlands a new compulsory programme, Arts and Cultural Education, has been implemented since 1998 in order to stimulate the cultural interest and the cultural activities of young people. Attending cultural activities is at the core of this programme and these activities should be of ‘generally accepted quality’. A research project by Utrecht University describes and evaluates the introduction of this new programme. The results presented are based on questionnaires from 89 teachers, 1100 students between 14 and 17 years old. Analyses show that arts and cultural education students do participate more in traditional culture (theatre, museum and classical concerts) than other secondary school students. However there are substantial differences in the opinions of teachers as to which kind of cultural activities should be permitted for the new programme. Results also indicate that the majority of teachers are quite liberal in accepting the choices of their students. About half of the cultural activities of the new programme fall into the category of popular cultural activities (cinema, pop-concerts, dj-/vj-events). Students who do not (or not yet) follow the arts and cultural education programme visit these activities to the same extent.

Art, Design & Technology – a plea to reclaim the senses


Volume 21.2

The paper explores the inherent confusion surrounding the existence of design in two foundation areas of the National Curriculum. We argue that this is a consequence of a fundamental misunderstanding about the nature of art, design and technology. Whereas technology should be considered as a cross- curricular set of skills and knowledge with a variety of technologies applicable to different subject domains, design more properly belongs to the diffuse subject of art with its range of skills, crafts and cultural knowledge bases.

We argue that design and technology can learn from the expressive and open-ended processes of art making. If the practice of design is to operate effectively in the classroom then it needs to embrace more exploratory strategies to playing and making. Teachers of all age groups need to foster a greater engagement with sensory materials to enable pupils to create a context for the making of personal meanings. The notion of the teacher practitioner is a key component and the studio practice of artist and designers provides a useful framework in the adoption of such approaches.

More than Manga


Volume 21.2

This paper describes a partnership project between Hazel Grove High School, Stockport and Cornerhouse Gallery, Manchester, during June 2001. In celebration of National Children’s Art Day, all year 10 students (14-15 year olds) spent a full day at the Cornerhouse, engaging with different types of manga (the Japanese word for comic). Pupils explored its diversity and developed their own storyboards and graphic styles. Pupils worked alongside artist, Adela Jones, with each pupil making their own sculptural comic book at school the following week. All artwork produced was exhibited either at the Cornerhouse or at school in celebration of the project. This was a unique experience for all pupils and staff, and the outcomes of the project exceeded all expectations.

'Drawing Out’- a Humanist Approach to Drawing


Volume 21.2

Over the past twenty-five years as an art teacher I have sought answers to three questions:

1.In what ways and to what extent can drawing practice explore both conscious and unconscious thought processes?

2.In what ways can the participant individuate his or her experience through the practice of drawing?

3.In what ways can drawing form a dialogue between personal philosophy and experience?

Referring to my own experience and pedagogy I define some of the historical, pschological and philosophical contexts for my perception of drawing, including comments from my students, in the process making no special distinction between child and adult art. I have studied the evolution of my pupil’s drawing practices and particularly those of my own children, as they assert their own perceptions and responses to experience, conceptualising feelings both sensuous and emotional through telling stories and defining realities. Throughout history the will to draw has persisted, its function differing and changing through time and cultural contexts. Beuys commented that everyone can be an artist, if they want to be; can anyone really afford not to draw?

How Teachers Use Computers in Instructional Practice – Four Examples in American Schools


Volume 21.2

As the age of electronic images began, rapid social change and the proliferation of new technologies immediately affected almost all aspects of our lives. Especially in the art world, computers are making new and unique aesthetic experiences possible and changing the way in which art is conceived, created, and perceived [1]. A new world has opened for artists, educators, and their students. Technology development seems to require the teaching profession to make changes at an unprecedented rate. However, despite the predictions made by enthusiastic technologists in the early 1980s, computer technology has not revolutionised education. With limited examples of how computer technologies are currently used in American K-12 art classrooms, art teachers at times were unfairly blamed for not embracing new technology. This paper challenges the assumption that teachers are reluctant to change or to embrace the new possibilities of integrating computers in art teaching and learning. It calls for more and better research that is grounded in real art classroom settings. By providing experiences of four Ohio K-12 art educators, this paper aims to offer contextual information and useful insights on strategies for the productive integration of computers into art teaching in contrast to the body of literature that speculates upon how computers should or might be useful in teaching art.