International Journal of Art & Design Education

2006 - Volume 25: Number 1

School Art Education: Mourning the Past and Opening up a Future


Volume 25.1

This paper begins with a brief summary of the findings of a recent research project that surveyed the content of the art curriculum in a selection of English secondary schools. The research confirms that this curriculum promotes a particular construction of pedagogised subjects and objects rooted in ideas of technical ability and skill and is underpinned by a transmission model of teaching and learning. The paper draws upon psychoanalytic and social theory to suggest reasons for the passionate attachment to such curriculum identities when in the wider world of art practice such identities were abandoned long ago. Taking on board the notion of the subordination of teaching to learning, the paper argues for learning through art to be viewed as a productive practice of meaning-making within the life-world of the student. The paper employs the term, ‘encounters of learning’ in order to briefly outline a pedagogical quest in which an ethics of learning remains faithful to the truth of the learning event for the student.

Contemporary Art Practice and the Role of Interpretation: reflections from Tate Modern’s Summer Institute for Teachers


Volume 25.1

Recent research indicates that the taught curriculum in art and design secondary school education pays scant attention to meaning-making in visual art. This paper explores possibilities for teaching interpretation through a report on an action-research project based on Tate Modern’s Summer Institute for Teachers. In doing so it argues for the value and necessity of interpretation as a taught skill.

Creativity: What is it? Can you assess it? Can it be taught?


Volume 25.1

This article takes the subject of visual arts in Sweden as the point of departure in a discussion of how, with the help of portfolios, assessments may extend to include both the unpredictable and the ambiguous. The notion that assessments of learning outcomes must be either limited to superficial knowledge or completely arbitrary is shown to be a misconception. The author has made a study of the progression of young people’s creativity in the visual arts from preschool to upper secondary school. The assessment was based on both product criteria and process criteria (investigative work, inventiveness, ability to use models, capacity for self-assessment). The materials assessed were portfolios of work containing sketches, drafts and finished works, log books, sources of inspiration and videotaped interviews with the students.

Is there any progression in students’ visual design, in their ability to work independently and assess their work? What is the degree of correlation in the assessments of different judges of student portfolios? These are some of the questions that this article attempts to answer, which concludes with a discussion of how schools can build a culture of learning that fosters the creative powers of young people.

Kükelhaus’ Phenomenology of Consciousness


Volume 25.1

This paper (re)introduces the pedagogy of the German artist Hugo Kükelhaus (1900-1984) whose interest in the psycho-physiological substratum of learning led to theoretically and experimentally accomplished investigations of the conscious experience. Kükelhaus’ most well-known infant toy productions of the 1930’s: Allbedeut and Experience Field for the Senses in 1960’s serve here as illustrations of the significance of his ideas to contemporary theories of intelligence; educational technology; and the design of learning environments. I examine some of the issues surrounding the conceptualization, realization, and critical reception of these inventions. The paper concludes that Kükelhaus’ approach to the apparent contradiction of the sensuous idea offers practical and philosophical directions for the development of integrative, heuristic, archetypal tools and learning environments.

Drawing in Preschools: A Didactic Experience


Volume 25.1

To be understood, visually, often depends on how skilled one is in catching form and translating it into a two dimensional surface. This is a challenge we are confronted with early in life. Children’s learning strategies in drawing are not always understood or encouraged. This article presents a socio-cultural analysis from Norway of a pedagogical practice that attempts to shed light on the question, How does the preschool teacher support 3 to 5 year old children when they are drawing something they see, and how do children in this age group respond to this support?

Educating Art in a Globalising World. The University of Ideas: A Sociological Case Study


Volume 25.1

In 1999, the Italian Arte Povero artist Michelangelo Pistoletto and other artists laid the foundations of The University of Ideas (UNIDEE), an exceptional international artist-in-residence program with a strong ideological foundation. As a sociologist of culture I had the opportunity to do research in the huge organisation for a month by doing participant observation, in-depth interviews and discourse analysis. In this paper the educational program of UNIDEE is interpreted in sociological terms. First of all it will be contextualized in the artistic work of Michelangelo Pistoletto through his concept of the mirror and his a-modern idea of The Minus Artist. In the second part Pistoletto’s artistic, political and economic movement Cittadellarte, in which UNIDEE is based, will be described. Finally UNIDEE will be analysed as a model for art education on the border of modernity attempting to re-define the position of art and of the artist in a globalising world.

The design studio as teaching/learning medium – a process based approach


Volume 25.1

This paper discusses a design studio teaching experience exploring the design process itself as a methodological tool. We consider the structure of important phases of the process that contain different levels of design thinking; conception, function and practical knowledge as well as the transitions from inception to construction. We show how this approach to the design process allows the possibility of addressing elusive issues that underlie the practice of design.

How does education support the formation and establishment of individual identities?


Volume 25.1

This article examines how education could support the formation and establishment of identities. It focuses on museum education and in particular artist interrogations of museum narratives. These interventions into museum pedagogy are critical re-workings of the presentation of cultural histories in dominant narratives. The article examines the consequences of these interventions for pedagogy in the museum site, when linear narratives are subject to re-construction by individual agencies. The complexities of museum pedagogy are revealed and analysed in order to identify models of teaching and learning that are inclusive. The work of Fred Wilson, artist and curator of an installation project at the Maryland Historical Society in Baltimore U.S.A, is applied to explore notions of cultural capital and cultural empowerment through education in the museum. Throughout the article is concerned with investigating how the individual subject is formed and informed through the narrative. Analogies are drawn with the view that the curriculum may not be a neutral and objective selection of knowledge and that in the same way it is worth investigating this claim to enquire whether institutional presentations of history are equally subjective. If museum education projects are set by curators and education officers to meet certain curriculum requirements then there must be questions raised about the structure of narratives and the process by which they are disseminated. This article is an exploration of these actions with far reaching applications, to ascertain whether they can successfully promote social justice in education and empower the individual or whether they serve to polarise essentialism and multiculturalism.

Moving Minds


Volume 25.1

The article explores and examines a case study based at Ivy Bank Business and Enterprise College, The Imperial War Museum North, and Liverpool John Moores University. This collaboration took place from November 2004 until February 2005 culminating in an exhibition of children’s artwork as part of the Moving Minds project at the IWM North. The touring exhibition, Moving Minds, is an initiative currently in its second year that explores ‘identity, culture and growing up in today’s Britain’ (IWM North 2005) through creative activities in the arts.