International Journal of Art & Design Education

2003 - Volume 22: Number 3

A Long and Winding Road: Mature Students’ Responses to Creative Experience


Volume 22.3

This paper reports mature students’ responses to a creative project, focusing on their own analyses to identify and demonstrate the conditions required to provide worthwhile creative experience for participants unused to such practices. In considering their reactions to the project brief, the paper demonstrates the lack of confidence felt by many when faced with creative work, arising out of myths about the exclusive nature of creativity. The report then identifies some ways in which a creative approach was fostered: by giving permission to non-experienced students to work in a creative manner (by dismantling some of the mythology), by providing a personal space (both physical and mental) for this to take place, by encouraging a playful attitude to the project that enjoyed ambiguity and uncertainty, and by feeding the students’ ideas with a programme of enhancement experiences. The place of one-to-one tutorials in developing an appropriate approach is evidenced. Throughout the paper, students’ own responses provide forceful support for engagement in practical creative activity, demonstrating the sense of empowerment felt, and showing how the experience initiated long-term developments in their thinking, in both professional and personal spheres. 

The Virtual Studio


Volume 22.3

Like many other HE institutions, De Montfort University in Leicester has been experimenting with the use of virtual, on-line learning and teaching delivery and support in response to by now familiar pressures. These include growth in student numbers, widening access, reduction in unit costs, and increased need for flexibility of provision and constructivist ideas about learning. This paper reports on one of these experiments in detail: the creation of a simulated, online photography studio. The move to a virtual simulated studio entailed a radical rethink of the module learning outcomes and activities. Evaluation of the virtual studio reveals that while staff required a very high investment of time and commitment, significant savings have been achieved in delivery and student support costs without a reduction in student performance or satisfaction levels. Additional, less tangible, benefits include increases in staff skills and a strong positive impact on academic/technical staff working relationships.

Connectivity for Showing and Saying Across Differences in Art Education


Volume 22.3

This paper attempts to redress the current pre-occupation with the idea of difference for structuring art curricula by reclaiming connectivity for realising value and strategic intelligence in art. In doing so, it makes use of the diverse role narrative plays in culture to establish a rationale for future art curricula, so that myth and mythic artistic methods that reconcile us to the world are given priority over the more recent preference for art to be subversive, like parable. This more complex analysis of the way story informs cultural activity is used to contrast with Efland, Freedman and Stuhr’s oversimplified use of narrative that neglects the importance of myth and its equivalent in procedural knowledge for understanding and making durable art. An alternative approach to structuring the art curriculum is mapped out that gives priority to connectivity [myth] over difference [parable] by drawing on meta-narratives over-looked in post-modern thought.

Design as Narrative: Objects, Stories and Negotiated Meaning


Volume 22.3

The model of design taught in educational institutions in the United Kingdom and elsewhere has fundamental weaknesses. At best it is a partial and superficial description of what happens when individuals engage in the process of design. At worst it is inaccurate and misleading. The authors are working on multiple-perspective approaches to design education that emphasise the central importance of context to understanding design as human enterprise. In this paper, they introduce the idea of design as narrative. Like narratives, objects have power in social settings: they offer an interpretation of the story of their existence; they give back echoes of their past. To regard design objects as forms of text allows 'readers' to interpret them within their own frames of reference. The understanding that arises from this form of interpretation allows for creative involvement with objects and permits more realistic engagement with design work. It promotes a form of thinking that is personal, relevant and open to negotiated meaning in an otherwise increasingly prescriptive educational world.

On Primary Matters, Because Primary Matters


Volume 22.3

The list of achievements of NSEAD is significant, but this paper suggests that the lack of primary membership, standing at 4% at the time of writing, is a loss to both the Society, and the primary sector. In order to meets its objects as written in the constitution, the Society needs to represent art, craft and design education in all sectors. The paper underlines the value of education in art and design in the primary sector, and suggests that misunderstandings that exist about the nature of and importance on the activity of young children, particularly in relation to play, are indeed misunderstandings and need to be addressed.

The Trouble With Ruskin…


Volume 22.3

Art teaching is a uniquely satisfying job. More than anyone else in education, we in Britain remain, for the most part, the authors of our own syllabuses in spite of occasional skirmishes with the Qualifications and Curriculum Authority (QCA) and those who would box us in. Our mystique remains unassailable. Yet, within these ramparts, is a profession riven by a philosophical chasm, which is peculiar to this country and occasionally manifests itself with disagreement, rancour, entrenched opinion and self-righteousness. Central to this divide is an unhealthy retrospection, which has skewed the debate about art and art education in Britain for the better part of a century and a half. The contention of this essay is that this malaise can be traced back to John Ruskin, the polemics of his Two Paths diatribe and his ‘predilection to admit a moral element into the assessment of artistic values.’

Positively Different: Art and Design in Special Education


Volume 22.3

This article explores issues of ‘difference’ in terms of identity for disabled pupils, including those with special educational needs in the context of art and design education. By focusing on body image and fashion, positive and negative views of those with a different identity, in relation to inclusion and visibility, in society and formal schooling are addressed. Inclusive values for those in a special school are identified and promoted with reference to a particular project in art and design.

Sheila M Paine 1929-2003


Volume 22.3

Volume 22.3 is dedicated to the memory of Sheila M Paine, past president of the NSAE and co-founder of the Journal of Art & Design Education, and includes appreciations by Bert Issac,, John Steers and Dave Allen.

Between Technology and Literacy


Volume 22.3

Art education exists between technology and literacy, that is, between the methods social groups use to equip themselves with material objects, to shape and control their environment, and the mastery of specific technologies used to communicate ideas and values. Technology and literacy also function as metaphors, implied comparisons between the visual arts and realms of contemporary education generally seen as possessing higher status in Western cultures. My intent in this historical essay is to examine both terms in historical contexts grounded in North American art education in order to reveal elements of political and social control in these metaphors. While art-making is a means to technical literacy, responding to visual images has been used as a means to maintain social groups and continue particular cultural traditions. Art education itself can be considered one of many technologies useful in managing a complex society, at the same time as it is perceived as a means of human liberation. 

Drawing on the Wrong Side of the Brain: An Art Teacher’s Case for Recognising NLD


Volume 22.3

Secondary art teachers sometimes agonise over students who struggle, but are frustrated by the general failure of the special educational needs system to recognise such problems as worthy of intervention or as more widely significant. Until recently, any analyses of such learning difficulties have found no support in educational psychology. This paper argues for the usefulness of the profile of ‘non-verbal learning disorders’ (NLD), which recognises visual-spatial problems associated with the right brain hemisphere. This diagnosis remains controversial and is unrecognised in the UK. The paper looks at examples of work by a student of high academic ability that seem to bear out this profile, discusses them in relation to ‘right brain’ approaches to drawing, and briefly examines some of the positive and far-reaching implications for art teachers of the growing recognition of NLD.

Exploring the Designed World: Some Aspects of Course Development in the Greek Context


Volume 22.3

This paper presents student projects realised as parts of design history and theory courses that have been under development in new, design-related university departments in Greece. An outline of the state of design and design education in Greece is first provided. In this context, the ideas behind the projects’ brief are explained and some of the outcomes are discussed. Open-ended, self-defined student projects are proposed as a way to approach the multiplicity of meanings afforded by industrially produced objects. Some of the resulting student work is discussed and evaluated. It appears that the project-based approach described has great potential, especially in terms of broadening the scope of design history and theory education, as well as in forging numerous interdisciplinary links.