International Journal of Art & Design Education

2008 - Volume 27: Number 1

The Necessity of Studio Art as a Site and Source for Dissertation Research


Volume 27.1

The issue raised by the authors in this article question why studio art continues to be ignored as a site and source for research in art education. The necessity of the field to be able to participate within the research community in addressing cultural, social, educational and political concerns is acknowledged. It is argued, however, that the exclusive use of methods of inquiry that align with the conventions of social science research has been done at the expense of fully appreciating the capacity of artistic research undertaken in studio contexts. This tendency is especially prevalent in doctoral research in higher education. Three accounts of dissertation research are given that incorporate studio activity as a central agency of inquiry in conceptualising and theorising issues. Each highlights the capacity of art practice to reveal insights that are a consequence of what the researcher did in the studio setting as issues, ideas and interpretive stances emerged, and problems were re-conceptualised. What is different in these accounts from more mainstream approaches to research is the readiness to accept that constructing new knowledge is a creative and critical process.

Navigating a Way through Plurality and Social Responsibility


Volume 27.1

Teachers need to have a clearer understanding of the dynamic process effecting change in culture and identity if they are to overcome fears about teaching diversity. This article draws on Eastern and Western insights on culture to clarify its dynamic process. In particular, teachers need to be aware of the two phases of culture: in one it appears as an organic integrity that suffers violence when any aspect of it is changed, removed or replaced; in the other it appears as a mechanical assemblage of parts momentarily caught in a particular relationship, comfortable with change. Each moment requires appropriate curriculum planning and pedagogical practice. Crucial to achieving that end is keeping the two phases distinct while exploring and exposing their relationship in culture and identity transformation. This will help a great deal to alleviate teachers’ fears about teaching diversity or multiculturalism.

A (Con)text for New Discourse as Semiotic Praxis


Volume 27.1

Contemporary art requires that art and cultural educators reposition encounters with artefacts, images and performances into a context for new discourses. Whereas digital media and other aspects of visual popular culture predominate the frames of reference of school-age children, their context (codes) of reference, in large part, do not contain those used by art and cultural education professionals. Most art professionals (con)textualise their interpretations from a more formalistic tradition, unlike school-age children, whose use of iconographic elements from their experiential subcultures, are projected into the content of their visual encounters. In order to find relevancy for today's art education, interrelationships between the codes of the participant and visual experiences must be built upon the development of new strategies between viewers, artefacts and experts. This article presents the background and use of dialogic strategies for new discourse from the ‘Open Dialogue Club’ programme between the Department of Art Education at Charles University and the Galerie Rudolfinum, a contemporary art space, in Prague, Czech Republic.

From Obstacle to Growth Dewey's Legacy of Experience-Based Art Education


Volume 27.1

In the last decades theories that emphasise visitors’ experience as the key element in the process of meaning-making have influenced art education in museums considerably. However, there is remarkably little evidence in practice that museums shape their exhibits and educational tools by the actual experiences of visitors. Because museum education is still too much knowledge-based, people often do not come to understanding or engagement of thinking. This article demonstrates this inconsistency and its consequences based on visitors’ conversations during a museum visit while looking at contemporary art. In order to engage visitors into their own thinking and create lasting experiences, the article also investigates Dewey's ideas about experienced-based education and inquiry learning. The study especially shows that experiences felt as obstacles for interpretation are extremely suitable to stimulate, deepen and improve visitors’ engagement in the inquiry cycle.

A Visual Culture Art Education Curriculum for Early Childhood Teacher Education: Re-Constructing the Family Album


Volume 27.1

This article reflects on the reading and writing of an art education curriculum for teacher education centered on the biographical and social reconstruction of childhood. The foundations of this curriculum interconnect ideas from different fields like postmodern childhood studies, visual studies, and the performance of subjectivity and memory. This is an interpretative curriculum centered in narrating aesthetic encounters for imagining and producing alternative views of childhood. It stresses the relevance of biographic work in the formation of teaching identities, and constructs dialogues and connections between the private and public discourses of childhood. In this context the family album becomes a powerful resource for visual analysis, cultural critique, and subjective re-construction.

Gestalt – A Learning Theory for Graphic Design Education


Volume 27.1

This article will begin by seeking to define the notion of learning by, through and from experience. A linkage will then be established between these notions of experiences and gestalt theory. This will be explored within a subject specific context of graphic design. Links will be highlighted between the inherent nature of graphic design and those of gestalt psychology. Although reference will be made to other learning theories, particularly behaviourism, this article will proceed into a discussion on how the pursuit of a gestaltist stance has had implications upon the learning experiences of a range of Higher National Diploma / Foundation Degree learners. The article concludes with a summary of its observations and a consideration of this upon future practical and theoretical practice within graphic design education.

The Use of Projective Drawings to Determine Visual Themes in Young Kuwaiti Women Impacted by the Iraqi Invasion


Volume 27.1

This study is part of a larger qualitative research project which examines visual imagery created through projective art tasks undertaken by young Kuwaiti women who were resident in Kuwait during the 1990 Saddam-Hussein-led Iraqi invasion of their country. The purpose of this article is to present evidence from the study as it is evolving. This study uses projective drawing tasks to elicit and examine the mental schema (i.e. colours, images and symbols [CIS]) of women between the ages of 20 and 22, who lived in Kuwait during the invasion. Piaget's model of the preoperational stage of childhood development is referred to when connecting nonverbal cognitive structures associated with the projective drawing tasks. The focus of this study was to determine if CIS themes could be generated through projective drawing tasks by individuals who had experienced a similar traumatic event. Visual data collected during research sessions bore this out. While thematic CIS did occur, further interpretation of the visual data was not a goal of the study.

Craft-Art as a Basis for Human Activity


Volume 27.1

This article based on my doctoral thesis examines the Basic Arts Education system in Finland, focusing on Basic Crafts Education and its description through action concepts. The main task of the study was to create a concept model. In the first part of the study a concept map was created from the practice of Basic Crafts Education. The aim of the second part of the study was to specify the concept map and to ground a concept model, which describes the reality of Basic Crafts Education. Basic Crafts Education, which I define as craft-art, is examined from the viewpoints of art education, socio-cultural education and education for the future. In addition, craft-art is explored as a basic human activity as defined by the philosopher and theorist Hannah Arendt.

In the study the Delphi Expert Method was used and carried out through question rounds by email. The empirical data consists of expert knowledge where experts represent different crafts fields and areas in Basic Crafts Education such as pedagogy, education and administration.

The Intertextual Method for Art Education Applied in Japanese Paper Theatre—a Study on Discovering Intercultural Differences


Volume 27.1

In art education we need methods for studying works of art and visual culture interculturally because there are many multicultural art classes and little consensus as to how to interpret art in different cultures. In this article my central aim was to apply the intertextual method that I developed in my doctoral thesis for Western art education to explore whether the method would also work from a non-Western point of view. My hypothesis was that it is possible to find local and global differences that arise from selected texts and study them interculturally. As postmodernism calls attention to marginal areas, I applied my method to a form of visual culture that is not well known in the European art education context, the Japanese kamishibai which can be translated as Japanese paper theatre.

Based on the results, my study will propose a method for understanding visual culture and the multiple relations - local and global - between different cultures. Japanese paper theatre also offers an interesting potential for using visual and verbal stories in the theory and practice of art education.