International Journal of Art & Design Education

2010 - Volume 29; Number 3

Interpreting Art through Metaphors


Volume 29.3

This article argues that much of the meaning of artworks comes through metaphors, though we do not always recognise them as such. The argument draws on the work of Lakoff & Johnson, who assert a similar claim about metaphors in general (especially in language). It analyses the notion of a visual metaphor, gives a number of illustrations and claims that, contrary to linguistic metaphors, there can usefully be more than one visual metaphor (‘mixed metaphors’) active in a visual image and that visual metaphors can be interpreted in both directions. Verticality is presented as one basic metaphor in visual images.


Why a Child Needs a Critical Eye, and Why the Art Classroom is Central in Developing it


Volume 29.3

It is a common acceptance that contemporary schoolchildren live in a world that is intensely visual and commercially motivated, where what is imagined and what is experienced intermingle. Because of this, contemporary education should encourage a child to make reference to, and connection with their ‘out-of-school’ life.

The core critical underpinnings of curriculum-based arts appreciation and theory hinge on educators and students taking a historical look at the ways artists have engaged with, and made comment upon, their contemporary societies. My article uses this premise to argue for the need to persist with pushing for critique of/through the visual, that it be delivered as an active process via the arts classroom rather than as visual literacy, here regarded as a more passive process for interpreting and understanding visual material.

The article asserts that visual arts lessons are best placed to provide fully students with such critique because they help students to develop a ‘critical eye’, an interpretive lens often used by artists to view, analyse and independently navigate and respond to contemporary society.


Experiencing Clay: Inquiry-based Learning and Assessment for Learning


Volume 29.3

This article presents an examination of the effects of using an inquiry-based learning pedagogy to teach ceramics to pre-service teachers (my students) at the Hong Kong Institute of Education. At the beginning of the study the students were asked to conduct experiments on the properties of clay. The results indicate that half of them were able to transfer the knowledge and inquiry skills they had acquired from the experiments to their subsequent artwork production, but that the other half could not. I realised that the students needed more guidance to bridge the gap between their initial inquiries and their subsequent artistic creations. This could be done by explaining clearly the objectives of the inquiry-based learning activities; employing strategies of assessment for learning: that is, setting explicit assessment criteria; involving the students in self-assessments; and focusing more on methods of knowledge transfer and ways of bringing about improvements.


The Attitudes and Practices that Shape Children's Drawing Experience at Home and at School


Volume 29.3

Concept: Few empirical studies have investigated the influence of teachers, parents and children on children's drawing experience. The current study aims to examine the attitudes and practices of these three key players that shape children's drawing experience.

Method: A survey methodology was used, as typically found in previous research in this area. Participants were 270 5–14 year old children, 44 of their teachers of the National Curriculum for Art and Design, and 146 of their parents. The teachers and children participated in individual interviews and the parents completed a postal survey.

Responses to most interview questions were transcribed and content analysis used to identify salient themes. The other questions involved responses on five-point scales, these were analysed by reporting percentages.

Results: The findings are discussed in five sections. First, the positive perceptions of children's drawing behaviour and attitudes. Second, the perceived importance and principal aims of the National Curriculum for Art and Design Education. Third, the numerous sources of encouragement and support for drawing development. Fourth, the differing perceptions of what constitutes a good and bad drawing. Fifth, issues surrounding an age-related decline in children's drawing activity.

Conclusions: The findings are related to theories of drawing education, and implications for children's drawings and drawing pedagogy are discussed.


Self-Initiated Art Work and School Art


Volume 29.3

This article deals with the forms and contents of self-initiated art works: the kind of learning that takes place in the production of self-initiated art works as well as the relationships with school art. We interviewed 52 Dutch students (aged between 10 and 14) from different schools of primary and secondary education, and their art teachers. The students showed examples of their home art as well as their school art. Based on interviews and the works presented, four main categories of self-initiated art works can be distinguished: applied art, popular culture, personal experience and traditional art. Learning outside school is partly incidental and informal (learning by doing, copying), but involves intentional learning as well. Students are aware of the differences in style, materials and themes between their spontaneous, self-initiated art work and the work they are required to make in school. Moving the domain of self-initiated art into schools may jeopardise it, but art teachers should neither ignore nor dismiss it. They should be aware of children's self-initiated visual culture and relate to it in their lessons.


Writing as a Tool in Teaching Sketching: Implications for Architectural Design Education


Volume 29.3

This article discusses the process of a study designed to develop university students' sketching skills in schools of architecture. Acknowledging the relationship between cognition and writing, it aims to investigate the role of writing in learning sketching among architecture students and to examine how students regulate their thoughts by writing as they work on their free hand sketches. It includes writing texts before and after sketching tasks to improve sketching. The study was implemented in a school of architecture at a Turkish university as part of an elective course on sketching. The students' works were evaluated in terms of their sketches, texts and self-reports of their thinking and the views and comments of the tutor who carried out the programme. This article discusses how the study was conceived and developed. The results of this study may provide insights for educators in developing strategies in teaching and learning of sketching and design, using multi modes of thinking.


Developing a (Non-linear) Practice of Design Thinking


Volume 29.3

Design thinking can be a powerful way to engage the world, allowing interactive understandings that are both analytic and experiential. When fully functioning, design thinking necessarily calls upon faculties often considered a-rational, a-causal and a-logical. Unfortunately, such faculties often give rise to academic suspicion. That is to say, the indeterminacies of design thinking often spawn unhelpful (and undermining) reductions. When this occurs, the fullness of design thinking gets channelled into a series of steps, rules of thumb or professional categories, thereby diluting its potency.

In order to encourage a richer image of design thinking, particularly for the education of design students, this article explores ways to complement more familiar logical understandings of the design process with the functional complexity of Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari's ‘rhizome’. As a heuristic device, the rhizome and its related concepts are employed to provide a more complete picture of design thinking and to develop a practice that imbues design work with meaningful complexity. In this way, the rhizome promotes design thinking as a process comprised of both linear and non-linear aspects.


Fragmentation and Interrogation as an Approach to Integration


Volume 29.3

This article tracks the generative role of research and fragmentation as a means for integrating technology and form within an architecture technology lecture class and a co-requisite design studio. The complexity of teaching building systems integration within a design studio context is achieved by removing any expectation of building design completion on a comprehensive scale. Typically, in a comprehensive studio, students will design an entire building at a general scale, but at the expense of detailed technical design. However, with use of building fragments, students will design a building corner or a structural bay in great detail while leaving the rest of the building less developed. With our approach, integration occurs through interrogation of case-study buildings and student projects in the technical course which is complemented by a series of fragmental design studies in the studio. We propose that designing fragments encourages constructive thinking at multiple scales rather than design as a singular problem solving process. As a result, design is not seen as the creation of objects, but as the guidance of multiple, simultaneously acting forces into an integrated assembly. The co-requisite technical course also embraces fragmentation for research purposes: three professors provide three different technical (structures, environment and construction) and conceptual viewpoints for three distinct building pairs. Various forces within those building pairs are compared to illuminate strategic thinking for comprehensive building design. The intense focus on selective technical systems within these building pairs is intended to support the same development of integrative strategic thinking in the studio.


Sensitising Children to Ecological Issues through Textile Eco-Design


Volume 29.3

Human health is affected by pollution caused by toxic chemical substances, particularly vulnerable groups like children. So how can we make things better for people and for the environment through the textile products we design? By thinking about the environment when designing, choosing and using environmental-friendly technology, we can play an important role in building a better world for the future. If we are going to live in a sustainable way, the technology and materials that we use have to be sustainable. This article provides an insight into how textile product design can provide a better future. It describes the design of ecological textile messages for sensitising and educating children. In the long term, such design may help towards ensuring a better quality of life for everyone, now and in the future. In this survey, the design of the sensitising messages was done using ecological techniques and raw materials to accentuate the message and took into account the intellectual and psychological level of children. All of the raw materials, process and plant dyes used were analysed from an environmental perspective.


Creating the Urban Village: Teaching Pre-Service Teachers about Sustainable Design in Architecture and Community Planning


Volume 29.3

Sustainable design is a philosophy adopted by people concerned with the health of society and the natural environment. The practice of sustainable design works toward the improvement of the quality of the built environment, while reducing or eradicating the negative impact on the natural environment (McLennan 2004). It is a philosophical approach that may be used in designing any type of built structure, to include architecture, public art, products and community planning. This article will describe concepts that may be addressed in art education about sustainable design to develop an environmental awareness through artistic activities. An approach to teaching sustainable design is explained with an example of a multi-faceted project taught in a pre-service secondary methods course of prospective art teachers.


Sustainability in the Architectural Design Studio: A Case Study of Designing On-Campus Academic Staff Housing in Konya and Izmir, Turkey


Volume 29.3

It is important to engender a 'sustainable’ architectural consciousness in the students who will be the next generation architects. In architectural education, design decisions taken during the early phases of the design process play an important role in ensuring concern for the sustainability issue. But, in general, all discussions about the site that have been held since the beginning of the semester get forgotten, and at the end of the design process students usually create projects that ignore the site criteria.

In this article, a specific teaching methodology which supports the sustainability issue in the design studio is presented as a teaching/learning experience. The article is an overview of the design studio process illustrated by a case study on academic staff campus housing in Konya and İzmir, Turkey.

To solve the same problem with the same brief in different regions requires developing sensitivity to climate issues. The resulting product is good evidence that teaching about sustainability in the design studio is effective.