International Journal of Art & Design Education

2011 - Volume 30: Number 2

Curiositas and Studiositas: Investigating Student Curiosity and the Design Studio


Curiosity is often considered the foundation of learning. There is, however, little understanding of how (or if) pedagogy in higher education affects student curiosity, especially in the studio setting of architecture, interior design and landscape architecture. This article provides a brief cultural history of curiosity and its role in the design studio. The study also used quantitative and qualitative research methods to investigate curiosity among design students. Findings showed no significant relationship between curiosity and academic achievement, no significant difference in curiosity levels between female and male design students, and no significant difference in curiosity levels across various year levels or age groups. Results also revealed that the studio environment played a minor role in the origin and influence of student interests; student curiosities were affected more by travel, internships, family and non‐studio courses.

Design Education Online: Learning Delivery and Evaluation


Online learning has been recognised as an effective pedagogical method and tool, and is broadly integrated into various types of teaching and learning strategies in higher education. In practice, the use of Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) in higher education has become an integral strategy for quality education. The field of design education, however, has not been researched extensively in regard to online learning, delivery and evaluation. This article discusses design education from an online learning perspective. It proposes an integrated framework with three key components for online learning via VLE including an interactive delivery structure, communication channels and learning evaluation. Additionally, the article describes and evaluates how VLE sites for two design units were built based on an integrated framework and student learning experiences. The results indicate that online design education should be integrated with various educational values and functional features in a systematic manner, and requires designing learning evaluation protocols as part of learning activities and communicative forms within online‐based learning sites.

Designing for Designing: Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) and Professional Education


Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) appear to be well fitted to the education of design professionals, such as architectural and engineering students, mainly because of the unique culture of these professional schools, where the emphasis is on creativity, collaboration, social relevance and rapid communication of ideas. Attention is focused on the reflection‐inaction theory of Donald Schön as well as the educational paradigm of constructivism as it is articulated by Dewey and Vygotsky. It is also argued that the full implementation of ICTs for professional education would also be extremely beneficial to the development of professional collegiality beyond the borders of geography and culture. All of this is followed by a consideration of important criticisms brought to bear upon both the use of ICTs in the classroom and the commonly held assumption that constructivism is the optimal educational paradigm.

Programming as Design: The Role of Programming in Interactive Media Curriculum in Art and Design


The number of university undergraduate courses in the area of interactive media is increasing. Many of these courses are based in the schools of art and design that have traditionally valued and focused on developing the aesthetic and artistic design skills of their students. However, because of the rapid changes in new technology the relation between the technology and design has become complex. This poses new challenges for the educators in this field. The main challenge is defining the role of programming in the curriculum and the relationship between ‘coding’ skills and ‘design’ skills. The article examines different conceptual models of programming and suggests that the concept of programming as artistic and creative practice and ‘programming as design’ would be more suitable for the art and design curriculum.

Measuring Students' Self‐Efficacy for Communication


Design students are asked to regularly communicate their ideas to a diverse audience. Students' abilities may be affected by their perceived self‐efficacy, the perception of abilities to perform a task. Because self‐efficacy is conceived of as context‐specific, it is vital to consider self‐efficacy as it specifically relates to design studios and the communication within that context, rather than to look at generalised self‐efficacy for communication. To that end, this article explains the development and validation of measures of students' perceived self‐efficacy for communicating in both formal (critique) and informal (studio working time) design circumstances. Using data from students at two institutions, the measures were found to be reliable; these results were further supported through their relationship to previously validated measures. The development of these measures and the results from pilot data provide insight into students' perceptions of their communication abilities that may be beneficial to educators seeking to help design students communicate competently.

Managing Heuristics as a Method of Inquiry in Autobiographical Graphic Design Theses


This article draws on case studies undertaken in postgraduate research at AUT University, Auckland. It seeks to address a number of issues related to heuristic inquiries employed by graphic design students who use autobiographical approaches when developing research‐based theses. For this type of thesis, heuristics as a system of inquiry may provide a useful approach because it engages the researcher in a process that affirms imagination, intuition, subjectivity and forms of creative/critical/reflective problem solving. When employed as a framework, heuristics offers a rewarding but challenging system for connecting investigation with the researcher's personal experience. This article provides a discussion of heuristic's applications, limitations and advantages in relation to a number of recent postgraduate theses in graphic design. Through this, it seeks to provide a useful reflection on challenges and opportunities inherent within it as a system of inquiry.

Doctoral Writing in the Visual and Performing Arts: Issues and Debates


Drawing from a larger study of doctorates in the visual and performing arts, we examine here the diversity of relations which can exist between the creative and written components of a doctoral thesis in these fields in terms of diversity of naming practices for these relations, institutional variation in guidelines and expectations, and fundamental functional roles for the respective components. By bringing together and highlighting key details in these debates and issues, this article provides a foundation for further studies in this complex area.

Transformative Partnerships: Designing School‐Based Visual Arts Outreach Programmes


Partnerships between informal learning environments and schools have been cited as an innovative, effective way for museums, galleries and schools to work together to enrich classroom curricula, support student success, and facilitate the utilisation of available community museum and cultural resources. This article reports on findings from a multi‐year, exploratory arts outreach programme for 31 elementary and secondary visual art educators from a rural school district in the American South. The outreach programme was conceived in partnership with faculty from the neighbouring university's art department, school of education and university art gallery. Utilising a partnership framework, the travelling exhibit was developed through a collaborative research relationship with the participating visual art educators. Findings from this programme indicate that travelling exhibits can be an effective mode of programme delivery for informal learning environments while also supporting the content needs for classroom arts educators if the programme stresses transformative partnerships across all invested parties.

Ecological Mural as Community Reconnection


Murals are particularly visually captivating forms of public art due to their size and accessibility. Mural images also capture public attention and provoke viewers to explore layers of meaning and find hidden stories. They are often in places that people come to visit, study, play, congregate and discuss matters that may relate to the content of the mural. To this end, murals can be effective tools for helping communities think about their environmental issues. This article discusses the Mystic River mural project in Somerville, Massachusetts, USA. It addresses how the local art councils, mural artists, local students, community members and non‐profit organisations collaborated to carry out this ongoing mural project. The purpose of this research is to examine how Mystic River eco‐murals were created, what challenges and benefits the eco‐murals provided, how local social concerns were represented through the eco‐murals, how eco‐murals can continue to promote environmental awareness and inspire youth about their community and the local environment, and how the mural can continue to reflect or affect the meaning of the place. This process can serve as an example for other communities that seek to address their environmental concerns through public art.

Intercultural Identities: Addressing the Global Dimension through Art Education


Recent educational policy and practice have established an extended role for all subjects in addressing children and young peoples' academic and interpersonal development, with strategies facilitating key skills and wider learning across areas of Citizenship and Personal, Social and Health education providing an integrated approach to education and welfare. The significance of global development education within a holistic curriculum acknowledges the increased awareness of the interconnected nature of our relationship with each other and with the planet we share as world citizens. The arts have a strong track‐record in addressing such key issues – challenging hierarchical paradigms which reinforce prejudice and stereotyping, the arts encourage reflexive processes and critical engagement with diversity and pluralist perspectives. This article investigates curricular approaches to the global dimension within education in relation to theoretical perspectives and policies, presenting an intercultural art case study as a model of practice in engaging diverse participants in reflection on their own and others' experiences across a range of socio‐cultural contexts. Current political shifts reaffirming the centrality of the discrete disciplines over cross‐curricular practice could potentially undermine a more holistic approach to education. The article argues that policy and practice, implemented in response to changing political and philosophical ideology, must nevertheless maintain a commitment to fostering interdisciplinary values of cultural awareness. Such practice must form part of an inclusive internationalist educational vision, impacting on social cohesion.

Experimenting with Visual Storytelling in Students' Portfolios: Narratives of Visual Pedagogy for Pre‐Service Teacher Education


This article interprets the repercussions of visual storytelling for art education and arts‐based narrative research and, particularly, it approaches visual storytelling as a critical tool for pre‐service teacher education. After reinterpreting storytelling from the perspective of visual critical pedagogy, I will narratively reconstruct the use of visual storytelling in three learning stories taking the form of students' portfolios. As a visual narrative researcher, I will examine the tactics for writing and reading that these students have developed in creating visual stories: the first narrative analyses the role of art during the reconstruction of the learning process by incorporating autobiography and reflexivity (Tanit's portfolio); the second narrative reflects on deconstruction and intertextuality in a multimedia portfolio, which mainly interrelates opera and cinema (Eulàlia's portfolio); and the third narrative introduces virtual storytelling and connects self‐awareness/meta‐awareness with multi‐literacy in narrative learning (Sonia's portfolios). This article also views improvisations, attempts, drafts and interactions in the process of writing and reading portfolios as part of visual experimentation to fabricate learning stories, in order to analyse the opportunities that visual storytelling offers for visual narrative pedagogy.

What Teachers Can Learn from the Practice of Artists


This article considers how primary teachers can learn from the practice of artists in their own teaching of art. Fundamental to artistic practice is the notion of practising with various materials and tools. In the article I look at some children's images, as well as scrutinising some statements made by the painter Francis Bacon. The practices of artists like Bacon and Cy Twombly identify the importance of instinct and spontaneity in the making of art. Both articulate the difference between a painting which enables the maker and viewer to engage more directly with the actual experience, or object being depicted, rather than a painting which is merely illustrative and descriptive. How can such ideas help us to re‐evaluate our own practice as teachers? An examination of the works, practices and statements made by artists can provide significant insights for teachers struggling with the constraints of a curriculum pedagogy based predominantly on outcomes, with little attention being paid to important processes. The National Curriculum in England, with its emphasis upon literacy and numeracy, has led to the visual arts being consigned to the margins of curricular practice, especially at the critical learning phases of primary schooling between the ages of 5 and 11. If teachers can learn from the examples and practices of artists about the importance of processes of exploration, experimentation and playing with visual materials and tools, then the critical loss of learning opportunities in the visual arts at the primary level might be addressed more carefully in future.

A Critical Mapping of Practice‐Based Research as Evidenced by Swedish Architectural Theses


This article presents an investigation that was funded by the Swedish Institute into the role of creative practice in architectural research as evidenced in Swedish doctoral theses. The sample was mapped and analysed in terms of clusters of interest, approaches, cultures of knowledge and uses of creative practice. This allowed the identification of the ontological, epistemological and methodological attitudes of the researchers, and hence a glimpse of their implicit worldview. The authors claim that the relationship between worldview and research actions in emerging areas of research such as architecture is often under‐scrutinised, resulting in a disjunction between aims and strategies for action. Architectural research in which creative practices make an essential contribution to the aims, might represent something new in academic research. The investigators therefore focused on identifying cases in which creative practice was – or was claimed to be – integrated in an essential way into the research process.

There were two principal conclusions. The first was that the mere presence of practice was not necessarily an indicator of so‐called arts‐based research. The second was that cases of arts‐based research that could be regarded as a new paradigm – as opposed to a variant of existing paradigms – are less common than is claimed by the researchers themselves. As a result, this article makes a contribution to the debate on whether so‐called practice‐based research should be regarded as a distinct new paradigm.