International Journal of Art & Design Education

2004 - Volume 23: Number 3

The importance of painting in pedagogic practice


Volume 23.3

In this paper I emphasise the continuing importance of painting as a critical art practice. Contemporary art has always, naturally, reflected the development and exploration of new technologies and our current postmodern era is no different. However, despite our obsession with, and increasing reliance on, computer and film-based technologies, it is interesting that traditional methods of making art remain a valid means of expression.

One reason for the continuing persistence of painting can be located in the early years classroom. In its very physical guise of constructing a world through materials, painting continues to be relevant to children and adults of all ages. Furthermore, because of its expressive potential in the classroom and studio alike, painting retains an authentic voice, legitimated by the past, rather than hidebound by its traditions. Painting constitutes a living discourse which speaks directly and unequivocally to the present age.

Exploring the links of Visual Arts and Environmental Education: Experiences of teachers participating to an in service training programme


Volume 23.3

An in service teachers training programme was designed aiming to encourage art teachers to learn through theoretical and artistic experiential activities in a specific environmental setting (Lemithou l environmental education center, Cyprus). The programme was based on the use of the environment as an educational resource, and sought to develop participants’ environmental perception through artistic activities. Teachers (N=12) from public nursery, elementary and secondary schools, with particular interests and backgrounds in visual arts were invited to participate. The present study is particularly concerned with participants’ artistic work inspired by the environment in three different settings of the area: 1) natural (e.g. forest) 2) the rural-building (e.g. the village) and 3) culture and tradition (e.g. myths and people).

Qualitative methods based on observation; diary reports and photographic material were applied on a case study basis. Results revealed teachers’: 1) abilities in integrating environmental aspects in their artistic work, 2) positive attitude and interest for environmental art, 3) abilities in enhancing their personal power of artistic expression based on their experiences and the word around them. The findings highlight the significance of artistic experiential activities (hands on activities) and critical enquiry in developing teachers’ environmental perception.

5x5x5 = Creativity in the Early Years


Volume 23.3

5x5x5 = Creativity in the Early Years has involved five early years settings, five artists and five cultural centres working in partnership to support young children (3-6 years) in their exploration, communication and expression of creative ideas. This year-long research project has been inspired by the approach to education and the creative arts in early years settings in Reggio Emilia, Northern Italy. The three aims have been evaluated, they were: to demonstrate ways in which creativity and innovation can be fostered in and with young children; to influence early years educational practice by establishing creativity as an essential foundation of early learning; and to share findings as widely as possible, creating a legacy for the future. This article examines the collaborative processes between artists, educators and cultural centres as they worked with young children using a creative and reflective cycle. The underpinning principles and the role of professional development have been essential to the success of the project. Findings show that careful observations and documentation of children’s words will provide insight into their ideas and understandings. As adults it is our role to facilitate and support children’s depth of learning: by respecting children and taking time to make observations and connections with the children’s thinking, we can refine our own efforts in supporting their learning more effectively.

Somewhere in Between Touch and Vision: In Search of a Meaningful Art Education for Blind Individuals


Volume 23.3

This article offers a theoretical framework of a meaningful art education for blind people. Existing literature focuses on the interaction between the artwork and the blind person. This text describes this aesthetic encounter, which is complex due to tactile sensations, individual differences of the non-sighted viewer and specific features of the art work. The article demonstrates further the importance of thorough reflection on these issues. The paradoxical character of blindness and visual art raises some difficult theoretical problems. Several authors plead for an art education for the blind that emphasises tactile experiences, instead of visual information. The article considers the consequences of such reasoning and stresses the importance of visual information in an art educational setting for blind people. Finally the article considers the roles of the art educator and the museum guide, as moderators in this dichotomy between the tactile elements of an artwork and its visual features.

Living in the Past: Some Revisionist Thoughts on the Historiography of Art and Design Education


Volume 23.3

There is a ‘dominant’ history of art and design education in Britain. This has been established by five books published in the 1960s and 1970s. They are Quentin Bell’s The Schools of Design (1963), Gordon Sutton’s Artisan or Artist? (1967), Richard Carline’s Draw They Must (1968), Stuart Macdonald’s The History and Philosophy of Art Education (1970), and Clive Ashwin’s Art Education: documents and policies 1768-1975 (1975). They all offer a substantially corroborative account of the history of art and design education based on their predecessor. This is particularly evident in their explanation of the origin of public art and design education in Britain in the early nineteenth century. After a gap of thirty years Stuart Macdonald’s book is to be republished. The news is a cause for celebration but also for concern, in that its reappearance may well further entrench the dominance of the collective voice of these five books. In an attempt to keep historical research alive and kicking in the field of art and design education, this paper challenges the explanation offered by these authors for the introduction of public art and design education in the 1830s.

Building a Creative Ecosystem – The Young Designers on Location Project


Volume 23.3

This paper reports on findings from a research project designed to explore ways in which creativity can be fostered through interactions between selected children, particular environments, materials, techniques and key adults. The Young Designers on Location (YDoL) project was funded by the National Endowment for Science, Technology and the Arts (NESTA), and brought together selected groups of 11 year-olds with ‘design-related professionals’ (DRPs) to work together intensively for a week in two locations (Bath Spa University College and Ironbridge Gorge Museum, Shropshire) then subsequently in participants’ schools. The findings from case studies of selected individuals within the Bath location include key messages about the quality of environment and relationships in unlocking children’s creativity. The study has exemplified aspects of Harrington’s [1990] model of a ‘creative ecosystem’.

Conceptions of Teaching Art held by Secondary School Art Teachers


Volume 23.3

Research into teachers’ conceptions of teaching can be justified in that deep seated beliefs impact upon the way teachers teach and influence the learning approaches of their students. This study examined conceptions of teaching art, through interviews with 18 secondary school art teachers in Hong Kong. The analysis resulted in a two-level characterization of conceptions under broad essentialist and contextualist orientations. There were four subordinate conception categories namely; moral development in art and aesthetic development in art under the essentialist orientation and intellectual development through art, and expression and therapy through art as sub-categories of the contextualist orientation. The categories were defined and delimited by six dimensions. The categories were seen as clearly distinguishable but related, though not hierarchically. There was no evidence of the category scheme being culturally specific as the majority of the teachers held beliefs which were not consistent with the traditional manner of Chinese painting.

Preparing for Portfolio Assessment in Art and Design: A Study of the Opinions and Experiences of Exiting Secondary School Students in Canada, England, and The Netherlands


Volume 23.3

This study utilises survey questionnaires to compare 107 Canadian, English and Dutch students’ opinions and experiences of portfolio preparation for final assessment in the terminal year of secondary school. The aim is to reveal what students value about portfolio assessment and if they see portfolio assessment as a valid preparation for their futures, particularly for those who plan to continue on studying art and design at college or university. Common approaches to assessment are examined, followed by a more focussed discussion of curriculum and assessment practices in all three countries at the time of writing (March 2004). This is followed by a description of methodology, tentative findings are presented and the paper concludes with a short discussion of some implications for art and design education.

Beyond the Understanding of Visual Culture: A Pragmatist Approach to Aesthetic Education


Volume 23.3

In the recent decades art education has tried to move away from the trends based on practical skills and techniques towards a greater stress on interpreting and understanding visual culture, created by the mass media. This approach implies a revision of the field of study and a redefinition of goals, replacing the study of art with a study of ‘visual culture’, a concept that better describes the daily environment of students and which reorientates art education towards social and cultural awareness. In this article, starting from Dewey’s conception of art as experience, a theoretical framework is offered based on three ideas: Firstly, the subject of art education involves aesthetic experience, which includes both ‘high’ art and popular culture. Secondly, it is necessary to reconstruct the balance between understanding and production in art education, in order to consider art products as narratives, stories or comments about life experiences. Thirdly to review the educational function of art education in order to determinate its value for social reconstruction and for which Rorty calls ‘self-creation.’