2011 - Volume 30: Number 1
The Ebb and Flow of Art and Design Education: A Dialogue with John Swift to Commemorate Thirty Years of iJADE
ADAMS, JEFF & SWIFT, JOHN
This interview by the current editor, Professor Jeff Adams, with the oldest surviving editor of the journal, Professor John Swift, marks the occasion of the journal entering its thirtieth year.
The Multiple Faces of Visual Arts Education
This article identifies recent, mainly Nordic, research approaches to visual arts education. A concept map was developed as a heuristic tool in order to highlight salient traits and blind spots. Contemporary research typically has its origin either in education or in the art world, with an emphasis either on art as language or on art as text. These two dimensions were used to organise the studies and to select representative exemplars in different domains. The framework helped to chart the knowledge base of, and research approaches to, visual arts education. However, the result of blending subject matter and pedagogy tended to be a ‘mixture’ of viewpoints rather than emerging domains of subject-specific pedagogical knowledge (Lee Shulman: an ‘amalgam’).
The Recuperation of Participatory Arts Practices
Creative participation in the arts is a complex and abstract concept that bridges the gap between cultural production and its consumption. It is highly contextual and defined through a range of discourses besides aesthetics that concern access and inclusion, cultural identity, socio-political rights, collective working, transformation and emancipation as advocated by community arts philosophy and praxis. These ideas are theoretically explored and critically evaluated in practice through three popular visual arts events in which the general public engaged and performed, demonstrating varying degrees of active involvement and dialogue. They also highlight the recuperation of radical cultural activism and communality where participation has become associated with spectacle and the co-option of self-determined thinking and resistance. Such cases are of obvious interest to community arts educators, particularly their value, the terms of participatory engagement and the extent to which radical non-authoritarian and collective practices have been appropriated by cults of individuality and celebrity.
Being an Artist Teacher: A Liberating Identity?
Education as a liberating and democratic process remains an aim and belief in discourses within the field and beyond. The arts also have a tradition in which ‘artistic freedom’ is valued even if what constitutes artistic freedom is contested. In this article an educational discourse in which dialogue is considered a means to personal and collective liberation through education is highlighted and related to ‘artistic freedom’ and the dual roles of artist and teacher, in which learners and teachers are encouraged to contribute to and change culture as well as study and absorb it. Conceptualisations of the artist teacher and professional development and practices associated with these are considered to open up creative possibilities for art teachers without undermining other positive aspects of identity as a teacher and practitioner.
‘Being an artist you kind of, I mean, you get used to excellence’: Identity, Values and Fine Art Assessment Practices
In this article I report on a study into fine art lecturers’ assessment practices in higher education. This study explores the ways that lecturers bring themselves into the act of assessment (Hand & Clewes 2000). I interviewed twelve fine art lecturers who worked across six English universities. Lecturers were asked to relate to me how they learnt to assess student artwork and what informed their judgement making. My research explores the interfaces between fine art lecturers’ assessment practices, their values and identity/ies. My analysis offers a rendering of the ways that values underpin lecturers’ assessment practices. The article explores the ways that lecturers’ assessment decisions relate to their experiences as ex art students, their identity as artists, their own artistic practices, their conceptualisation of the arts arenas and the HE sector. My key overarching argument is that identity/ies and values underpin and enrich fine art lecturers’ assessment practices
The Pedagogy of Failure in the Global Market
An American artist and art educator discusses her experience teaching at the American University in Cairo, Egypt (AUC). Students are confronted by local and international discourse about authenticity, integrity and influence. They express their frustration and anxiety about their chances for success in the global art market. The author questions the effectiveness and function of art education at the AUC, describes the atmosphere of the local Egyptian art scene and communicates teaching strategies she used in the classroom at AUC. From this experience the author proposes the need to cultivate a more experimental, flexible pedagogy that encourages art students to take risks, instead of focusing on the economic viability of their work.
Encounters with the Unexpected: From Holbein to Hirst (and Back Again)
Learning through art in the museum is a Masters’ level module established in 2006 through collaboration between the School of Education at Roehampton University, London and Interpretation and Education staff at Tate Britain and Tate Modern. On completion of the module, participants were asked to reflect on how the experience had altered their perspectives on the collection and their strategies for teaching and learning in art and design. The aim of this article is to explore some of the themes that emerged from these interviews and from other dialogue between tutors and students on the module, themes that are then discussed within the wider context of museum and gallery education.
The article concludes by reflecting on broader notions of knowledge and understanding in the context of museum and gallery education. It is argued that the juxtapositions of historical, modern and contemporary art that have been a distinctive feature of Tate's curatorial strategy since 2000 have shed fresh light on older works in the collection and provide opportunities for art educators to reappraise the emphasis currently placed upon the interpretation of modern and contemporary work. It is suggested that developing knowledge and understanding of art is partly about embracing notions of ambiguity and mystery: that engaging with multiple and shifting interpretations of artworks should play a more central role in art education and that part of the process of engaging with art is the experience of not knowing and not understanding.
The Political Economic Necessity of the Art School 1835–52
This article examines the political economic theories that informed the development of the first publicly funded art school in Britain, by the Select Committee on Arts and Manufactures of 1835/6. It begins by assessing these origins in the context of some recent experiments in art school pedagogy. It then responds to the challenge offered by Mervyn Romans in iJADE, Vol. 23, No. 3 (2004) to the argument that economic necessity was the motive for the establishment of publicly funded art education in Britain. I argue that in this instance, economic necessity should be defined according to the terms of political economic theories that offered ‘scientific’ reasons for the economic benefits of political change. I analyse this political economic discourse with reference to the examination of Martin Archer Shee, then President of the Royal Academy of Arts, at the Select Committee on Arts and Manufactures in 1836. I conclude by suggesting that the establishment of the first publicly funded art school in Britain in 1837, as it was distinguished from the Royal Academy of Arts, can be understood as part of a political economic experiment that was realised only when Henry Cole took charge of the School of Design as ‘The Department of Practical Art’ in 1852. This experiment depended on risking the models of professionalism in art that existed at that time, in order to advance new combinations of politics, economics and public pedagogy under capital, in ways that are no longer readily recognisable.
The Nineteenth-Century Artist-Teacher: A Case Study of George Wallis and the Creation of a New Identity
DAICHENDT, G. JAMES
‘Artist-teacher’ is a conceptually rich term in the field of art and design education used to describe the professionally distinct roles of artist and teacher. George Wallis (1811–91), a nineteenth-century artist and teacher, the subject of this article, first used the term ‘artist-teacher’ to describe himself and his theories of art education. To better understand this new term, the researcher organised the diverse aspects of Wallis's life from 1811 to 1845 as a network of enterprises to track the streams of thinking that contributed to this professional statement. Through comparison, ordering and sequencing the various enterprises, a deeper and reflective understanding of Wallis's teaching developed. In fact, the network of enterprises displays the growth of Wallis's thought as a slow and evolving process, eventually highlighting the turbulent situation that provoked Wallis to defend his theories and practices when he conjured the new term.
Dyslexia and the Studio: Bridging the Gap between Theory and Practice
ALDEN, SANDY and POLLOCK, VENDA LOUISE
t is generally accepted that art and design related disciplines attract a higher proportion of students with dyslexia than traditional academic counterparts. Combined with this is a prevalent perception that dyslexia predominantly affects students’ writing and linguistic ability and it is this, as well as an increased visual-spatial sensibility, that attracts students to art and design disciplines. This article examines these ideas through the experience of fine art students on a degree course with a mandatory written element. Drawing on focus groups and interviews with students, it argues that the studio component, in terms of its learning environment and teaching methods, presents an equally challenging context for students with dyslexia and that the written element or lecture-based studies can provide students with a valuable counterpoint to their studio practice.
Facilitating Meta-learning in Art and Design Education
Art and design programmes are educationally unique in that students themselves play a central role in determining their own learning needs. To be successful in their study, art and design students are required to operate with a high degree of independence and self-direction. Developing the skills for greater self-reliance requires students to become aware of their conceptions of the subject of study, and of themselves as learners in a particular learning context. Developing greater self-awareness as a learner and becoming more independent in one's learning is captured by the concept of meta-learning.
In this article I present an alternative strategy to prevalent diagnostic approaches to assist in developing a student's capacity for meta-learning in the subject context of art and design. An inquiry cycle was created to provide a structure within which to facilitate generative thinking about learning through engaging with fundamental questions related to the subject of learning (art and design) rather than the learning subject (i.e. the student). This method represents a departure from existing approaches to engaging students in meta-learning. A pilot study used to trial the effectiveness of this strategy is also presented here. The inquiry map, and the conceptual base upon which it was developed, were found to be useful ways to structure reflective thinking about learning and to assist in developing a student's conception of the subject.
Making Payton's Rocket: Heterotopia and Lines of Flight
This article explores the potential of heterotopia as a way to prompt us to think differently about children's art-making. Foucault uses the term to describe a space of difference. As something that is not easily located within a system of representation, a heterotopia is not amenable to interpretation. It is this resistance to interpretation that can ‘force us to confront the limits of our understanding’. Linking Foucault's idea of the heterogeneous with Deleuze & Guttari's concept of ‘smooth space’ allows me to think differently about representational intent. As a teacher of young children, I have habitually valued and encouraged ‘purposeful’ play. In terms of artwork this has often meant that I have assumed an overriding and usually representational ‘purpose’ that underlies the work and gives it meaning. However, in many of the junk models produced by children during my fieldwork, I glimpsed a quality of the smooth space evoked by Deleuze & Guttari's patchwork quilt where, although ‘they may display equivalents to themes [and] symmetries … there is no centre; its basic motif (“block”) is composed of the single element; the recurrence of this element frees uniquely the rhythmic values’.
Expert Panel: A New Strategy for Creating a Student-Centred Learning Environment for Software Applications
Education reforms from teacher-centred to student-centred courses usually come with the adoption of new teaching strategies. However, following the growing design and development of student-centred teaching and learning innovations in many fields of study, not many efforts have been found in the field of software application teaching. Therefore, this study aims to develop a new strategy for creating a student-centred learning environment for software applications, in which students learn in a more active, collaborative environment with reduced reliance on teachers. This study puts forward a teaching innovation, called Expert Panel, designed in three stages of activities: exploration, experimentation and reflection. Thirty-eight college students and one teacher participated in the implementation of the innovation. This article describes the design specifications of the innovation, and reports the preliminary findings of the implementation. The findings show that the teacher derived a certain degree of pleasure and surprise at being a true ‘facilitator’ rather than solely an instructor. Students felt engaged in the activities and motivated throughout the learning process. However, the student-centred learning method challenged the students’ understanding of the traditional teacher's role. Therefore, accommodating not only teachers but also students in the acquisition of new concepts of teaching and learning was suggested. Several possible solutions for the drawbacks and pitfalls in the strategy were drawn up at the end for further development of the strategy.
‘Building Dancing’: Dance within the Context of Architectural Design Pedagogy
Recent theoretical and technological developments redefine the discipline of architecture substantially. Current day approaches in design pedagogy focus on personal and bodily experiences of the subject and the need for investigating new ways and methods to enhance awareness of spatial experiences is inevitable. In order to establish a heuristic understanding of embodiment in space within design pedagogy, collaborative studies of dance and architecture are important supports. This article introduces ‘Building Dancing’, which is an approach to embodied learning. The project is specifically designed and developed for students of architectural design and aims to integrate the existing body of knowledge and hands-on exercises under a holistic framework. Within this study, the issue of embodiment is regarded not solely as a theoretical concept but a transforming method for achieving a conception of a reality and an understanding of architectural design processes.
Letter-space: Typographic Translations of Urban Place
NAISMITH, JACQUELINE and O’SULLIVAN, ANNETTE
This article discusses a Bachelor of Design honours year typography project in the medium of letterpress. The Letter-space project positioned letterpress as a textual, spatial and structural visual language, through which the experiences and meanings of a local urban place were translated, mapped and given form through typographic design.
We outline and contextualise the pedagogical approach we took in this project. In Letter-space a pedagogy based on the principles of situated and reflective learning drew urban place and letterpress into a theorised practice. Metaphorical frameworks advanced in urban theory offered new insights into the ways in which urban place could be understood. These metaphors provided departure points for specific place-based investigation and interpretation. The subject of urban place and the medium of letterpress interacted through their shared language of structure and compositional order, facilitating the processes of mapping and translation.
Examples of the student work produced in the project are discussed and show how theory and practice interacted through conceptual and metaphorical structures. The Letter-space project advanced the students’ structural understanding of the principles and practices of typographic design, while at the same time deepened an awareness of the complex relationships which form and order familiar urban places