International Journal of Art & Design Education

2013 - Volume 32 Number 3

Postcode Criminals (pages 275–287)


Postcode Criminals was the second phase of an international participatory community arts project challenging negative stereotypes of urban youth. Concerned with the impact of zero tolerance community policing strategies in the UK and USA, artists Joann Kushner and Dread Scott developed an art-based project with a social justice agenda. To give voice to an under-represented group, the project invited high academic achievers with no history of criminal behaviour from economically and socially deprived urban communities to participate. Postcode Criminals focused on regions of Liverpool and New York, typically sites where community policing strategies had been in force for some time. The findings of this project reveal that relationships between young people, their communities and the police force have been damaged as a direct result of community policing strategies, despite the reported success in crime reduction figures. Fear of crime was found to be a greater problem in urban communities than crime itself. Young people's experiences of ‘ephebiphobia’, the fear of teenagers, were articulated, creating alternative, positive representations of themselves and providing a catalyst for improved community relations.

Who Owns the Classroom? Profit, Pedagogy, Belonging, Power (pages 288–299)


Private ownership is a significant issue. In England the concept of a school existing for the benefit of the local community looks uncertain in the face of forced transfer to Academy status and partnerships with external private sponsors against the will of parents and teachers. Who profits from for-profit education and what impact does semi-privatisation have on the experiences of art teachers and students in schools? This article suggests that artist educators can act intentionally to create art experiences that counter the sterilising nature of the corporate school environment. Through adopting strategies used by contemporary artists to critique ideas of ownership and profit, art teachers can use the site of the classroom and the school itself in ways that ultimately reclaim a sense of belonging for both teachers and students.

Art Education and a Democratic Citizenry (pages 300–308)


The first purpose of Art Education in public schools, articulated in the eighteenth century, was the ability to shape an imaginatively responsible, empathetic, democratic citizenry; this remains an aim for today, which is hard to achieve. This article explores the continuing tension between this original goal and other versions of Art Education, particularly Artistic Education, focusing on professional skills and techniques, and Aesthetic Education that focuses on appreciation of objects. After reviewing Friedrich Schiller's historic contribution to theorising aesthetics as empathy and as experienced through play, and Johan Pestalozzi's practical application in a first curriculum, the article demonstrates Schiller's influence on contemporary theorists Jacques Rancière and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak who also insist that art must remain unproductive in order to defy cultural commodification. In their view, Art Education must be deviant to utility and retain an essential uselessness. A current case study demonstrates the difficulties in facilitating authentic democratic action within the utilitarian demands on today's schools. By developing wide-awakeness in students, spaces develop where silenced individuals might be heard. Art Education curricula should form the mindful habit of an informed citizenry that fashions an art of living by constructively re-imagining new possibilities of democratic community and empathetic understanding.

We are Spanish, Born under Franco's Dictatorship, and we are Developing the Posbolonian Uniform Performance as a Form of Global Activism (pages 309–317)


The Posbolonian Uniform is a creative, artistic and performative response, undertaken as a criticism and opposition to the losses of democratic freedoms that have occurred in Spain recently. It is a bid by two university instructors for the use of artistic tools, specifically performance art, as a means of social transformation in their academic environments. It is a creative rebellion and academic disobedience seeking a depoliticization of education – a change in social reconstruction through the consolidation of critical thinking tools, as art ideally should be.

Art Spoken Here: Reggio Emilia for the Big Kids (pages 318–330)


Developing one's creative potential is a basic human right, and thus the relationship between democracy and creativity is ineffable. Reggio Emilia pedagogies recognise this intrinsically; teaching through this modality embeds deep learning and an aesthetic awareness not often evident in formal schooling, despite the overwhelming evidence regarding the value of a sustained art education. Our children are all born creative and brave, yet something happens to them as they grow – the opportunities to express themselves artistically at school become minimised, the art curriculum becomes marginalised, and our children's creative genius falls away. What would Reggio Emilia look like in the High School classroom? Imagine a curriculum where all students' creative potential was nurtured, every day. This article explores this proposition, and argues that by utilising the highly successful pedagogies of Reggio Emilia, we can attend to the fundamental right of every child to an education that nurtures their inherent creativity.

Virtual Voices: Exploring Creative Practices to Support Life Skills Development among Young People Working in a Virtual World Community (pages 331–344)


The dialectical relationship between social justice, active participation and the development of aesthetic sensibilities is re-emerging as a theme among art and design educators as concerns mount for the future of art and design education in the curriculum – particularly in the UK, but also internationally. This article explores the potential of virtual worlds to support the development of young people's voices using creative practices – photography, film-making and fashion – as the principal means of engaging young people in developing their understanding of active citizenship. The use of creative practices to support a range of wider educational aims in virtual worlds has not yet been investigated and, we contend, is an area of serious research endeavour. We report on the research of an EPSRC/ESRC-funded project called ‘Inter-Life’ which examined how virtual worlds could be used to support the development and acquisition of life skills to enhance the management of important life transitions. The project investigated the extent to which young people's engagement in creative practices within these environments assisted with these processes. Some implications for future research are outlined.

The Squeezed Middle: An Exploration of Creativity, Conformity and Social Class on the Academic Achievement of Undergraduate Students within a UK Art School (pages 345–351)


Over the past decade, a wealth of UK government initiatives have provided opportunities for higher education institutions to increase student numbers by engaging more with defined groups of students who do not traditionally participate in post compulsory education. Within the creative arts subjects, the success of these politically sensitive initiatives, however, also serves to highlight the growing frustrations of another group of students who show little progress in their achievement during their time at university. These students have a relatively successful school exam profile, are rarely identified as requiring any additional teaching support, maintain an excellent record of attendance and yet rarely achieve the highest assessment grades. Using data collected from a university design department over the past 5 years supported by interviews with current students, this article explores how the cultural behaviours frequently associated as advantageous to emotional welfare may become increasing problematic in an art and design education culture that celebrates creativity, risk taking and ambiguity.

Beauty and the Beast – Can Life Drawing Support Female Students in Challenging Gendered Media Imagery? (pages 352–361)


How does life drawing impact on a group of 14–16-year-old female art and design students and their perception of body image? In contemporary Western society, we are bombarded with advertising, social media and celebrity culture on a daily basis, often with a focus on body image. This article questions whether, due to this visual assault, young female students have a democratic choice in forming a relationship with the body. Alternatively, do they feel pressured into conforming to a media led image? This article analyses the reaction of a group of GCSE fine art students to life drawing and a naked female nude. It questions their perceptions of ‘normal’ and discusses if art-based research projects can challenge contemporary issues and young female students' perception of body image.

Art Maps – Mapping the Multiple Meanings of Place (pages 362–373)


Digital technology enables us to prospect, generate, assemble and share eclectic materials, creating virtual journeys, stories or exhibitions through the internet, viewed on computer but also on location via mobile devices. How does the ability to create and curate in this way enhance or transform our access to and understanding of art, as well as our experience of place? What kind of meanings are we making for ourselves and others? And how are the creative responses of audiences viewed and valued in relation to the museum's curated collection? This article explores these questions through the development of Art Maps, a web and mobile application that enables people to locatively and creatively explore the relationship between art and place. Through participant research we are examining possibilities for a more open approach to interpreting Tate's digitised collection of art, testing the notional democratic shift from the museum as keeper of knowledge to co-creator with the audience.