International Journal of Art & Design Education

2007 - Volume 26: Number 3

Winter Art Education Project


Volume 26.3

The purpose of this article is to describe how the Department of Art Education at the University of Lapland in Finland has developed winter art as a method of environmental and community-based art education. I will focus on the Snow Show Winter Art Education Project, a training project funded by the European Union and the State Provincial Office of Lapland. The general aim of the project was to increase the know-how of winter art in Northern Finland. This goal was put into practice through workshops on snow construction, documentation of winter art, winter-oriented media production, and snow and ice sculpting; through continuing education seminars, workshops, and school projects for teachers; and through public lectures and seminars on winter and winter art. In this article, I describe the challenges that winter offers to community and environment-based art education in the North. Further, I introduce the methods of implementation and the outcomes of winter art exercises carried out by several schools in Lapland in cooperation with and inspired by the Snow Show Winter Art Education Project.

Electronic Paint: Understanding Children’s Representation through their Interactions with Digital Paint


Volume 26.3

This article investigates very young children's use of a stylus-driven, electronic painting and drawing on the tablet PC. The authors compare their development in the use of this device with their use of other mark-making media, including those which derive from pencil and paper technologies and also with mouse-driven electronic paintbox programs. After experience of using of electronic paint, two of the children were introduced to simple programming software. The authors wanted to find out how the introduction of electronic, digital, interactive devices impact upon children's development in semiotic understanding.

Artists Becoming Teachers: Expressions of Identity Transformation in a Virtual Forum


Volume 26.3

This article is an investigation of art and design graduates' identities as they embark upon their training as teachers. The expressive, ‘confessional’ nature of forum posts from their Virtual Learning Environment are analysed in relation to the students' identity transformation into teachers. This transition is profound in the case of artist teachers, for whom the contrast between their practice as a critical artist and that of a regulated professional can be severe. The usage of these socially-oriented virtual forums, and the students' identity transition is analysed in terms of identity theorists such as Butler, hooks and Wenger. There are problems of expression that are brought about by the juxtaposition of visually and spatially adept artist-learners constrained within a largely textual environment, yet this impediment appears to be ameliorated by their social-expressive exploitation of the forums.

Towards a Theory that Links Experience in the Arts with the Acquisition of Knowledge


Volume 26.3

The origin of this article is an investigation of an academic course, Graphic Arts and Design for students of natural and social sciences. The article describes the benefits of attending the class for the science students, which were an increased ability to solve problems, new and different ways to observe the environment, greater self confidence, and a higher understanding and valuing of the working process. The participants considered that the artistic activities affected their academic courses since the exercises were seen as creative and meaningful, which led to a changed attitude towards their studies. The exercises developed a comprehensive view and an ability to concentrate, which were conducive to problem solving. The article compares the process of drawing with the cognitive approach of philosophical pragmatism described by Charles Peirce and John Dewey. Michael Polanyi's concept of tacit knowing and some theories on the function of metaphors are also discussed in relation to some concrete pedagogical examples.

Aesthetics, Popular Visual Culture and Designer Capitalism


Volume 26.3

While rejecting modernist philosophical aesthetics, the author argues for the use in art education of a current, ordinary-language definition of aesthetics as visual appearance and effect, and its widespread use in many diverse cultural sites is demonstrated. Employing such a site-specific use of aesthetics enables art education to more clearly address the realities of everyday life under designer capitalism, a socio-economy based on the drive to create evermore desire. Aesthetic manipulation is viewed as a primary means to facilitate the smooth operation of this system. The recent craze for Bratz dolls is used to illustrate the centrality of aesthetics to designer capitalism. Finally, the author offers suggestions as to how art education can view consumer products like Bratz as pedagogic opportunities.

A Stitch in Time: Gender Issues Explored through Contemporary Textiles Practice in a Sixth Form College


Volume 26.3

This article discusses, contextualises and locates in contemporary theory, an autobiographical case study of an artist-teacher in the ‘learning community’ of a Sixth Form College art department. It reflects on the educational potential of enabling teachers of art and their students to investigate issues of culture and identity through engaging with contemporary art practice. It seeks to explore the extent to which exposure to contemporary art practices (and in the second year sixth form, textiles-based, cases discussed) creates a more conceptual approach to student project work, which can act as a catalyst to develop students' understanding of issues-based practice. The discussion of the selected pieces is located within a feminist paradigm that foregrounds the body and gender theories. This article elucidates how a conceptual approach to working, as opposed to a more traditional skills-based approach, can act as a vehicle for moving students towards becoming self-motivated artists and, in the case studies described, take their practice beyond that which is normally achieved within the constraints of timed, exam-based work.

Creating New Identities in Design Education


Volume 26.3

An international education opportunity has been created for design students at West Virginia University. This experience is unique because it takes an interdisciplinary approach to design that exposes students to the idea of a larger design methodology common to design professions. Students take core courses with students from a variety of design fields, including interior design, fashion design, fashion merchandising, landscape architecture, art, and graphic design. Through this interaction, students gain an understanding of the interrelationships among design fields, learn to appreciate new perspectives, and begin to appreciate the place of their field as part of the design community as a whole.

Visual Art as a Vehicle for Educational Research


Volume 26.3

This article is an account of a pilot project designed to help art & design teachers in training use their particular strengths to report on classroom observation through visual art. The project is underpinned by the notion that the arts provide a particular way of knowing and that teaching should be student-centred. I argue that if the arts can be seen to be a particular way through which we can understand the world then they can be used as both a pedagogical tool and possibly a vehicle for collecting data and reporting research. A group of 19 student teachers of art & design were given tasks which involved reporting on their school placement experience via a visual art form rather than through a text-based form such as writing. The resulting images were discussed in a seminar and a sub-group of three students was purposely selected for interviews. It was found overall, the students valued the approach taken and that they gained valuable insights into their professional placements through adopting an art-based approach to educational research.

As a result, I advocate in this article a greater use of arts-based approaches to research which explores educational experience, not only in the arts, but in all areas of teaching and learning.

The Evaluation of Community Arts Projects and the Problems with Social Impact Methodology


Volume 26.3

This article focuses on the evaluation of participatory community arts programmes and analyses the shift in educational emphasis from aesthetic to social outcomes. It considers a range of theoretical models and practices in the field which includes my own experience.

The history of evaluative methodology highlights procedural concerns which are applied to current strategies of evaluating social impact. This is critiqued with regards to consent and participant intention, lack of discrimination between ‘natural’ and ‘synthetic’ instrumentality, and issues surrounding measurement and the validation of impact through social auditing.

This foregrounds broader debates concerning the politics of evaluation. An ideal democratic method is suggested that encourages participant involvement, empowerment and self-management. This is compared to normative bureaucratic and autocratic approaches steeped in top-down agendas which may exacerbate social problems.

Can the Process of Transition for Incoming Secondary Pupils be Supported through a Creative Arts Project?


Volume 26.3

Children's learning involves, in the simplest terms, assimilating knowledge and understanding and acquiring skills though being, doing and feeling. This requires a connection at a personal level. Furthermore, learning is given to fluctuation determined by the needs of the individual and the requirements of the educational system. This research project is concerned with the specific needs of pupils in the UK who undergo the process of transition between primary (Key Stage 2, age 7–11) and secondary schooling (Key Stage 3, age 11–16). It is at a time when there are reported increases of anxiety that affect pupils' self-esteem where perhaps a different kind of learning is required. The project suggests that a modified curriculum will support the pupils' transformation, through a visual arts creative learning framework.

Black History Month and African Caribbean Student Learning in Art


Volume 26.3

This article looks at the concept of Black History Month and its implications for teaching and learning in art and design education. It argues that the concept of Black History Month should be discarded because it tends to promote a separatist notion of culture and that it deflects from an understanding of culture as a plural and intermeshing process. The paper interrogates history as a discourse, problematising our use of the word. The article then looks through the eyes of two groups of African Caribbean young people at Black History Month, as a curriculum initiative. The first group was interviewed at a south London gallery and the second at a conference for African Caribbean learners in Oxford. Two art and design educationalists who participated in the research project that included the south London young people make a significant contribution to the paper. It concludes with a personal interpretation of movements in art and the practice of a contemporary artist whose work endorse the key philosophical position posited in the text that culture is always a process on interweaving.