2015 - Volume 34 Number 1
Touched by Turner (pages 2–8)
This is a personal reflection on an encounter with the works of the nineteenth-century painter J. M. W. Turner in London's Tate Britain exhibition ‘Late Turner: Painting Set Free’. The article discusses the deeply subjective nature of engaging with artworks, and touches upon theories that might account for the ineffable but moving experiences that sometimes occur in such situations, often unexpectedly, and analyses the associations that might prompt them – in this case the details of dogs in some of Turner's works. There is a discussion of the theoretical frameworks that may provide an insight into these deeply subjective, personal and yet significant encounters, and how they can provide a means to a richer understanding of an artwork. The article considers the conditions that might be conducive to these contemplative, affective experiences, and how they might occur in educational settings with appropriate forms of pedagogy. The article concludes by contrasting slow, idiosyncratic and subjective learning through artworks, with the dominant, data-based and reductive trends that currently prevail in mainstream education.
Investigating the Role of Cultural Capital and Organisational Habitus in Architectural Education: A Case Study Approach (pages 9–24)
CHAMBERLIN PAYNE, JENNIFER
Compared to other professions in recent years, architecture has lagged woefully behind in attracting and retaining a diverse population, as defined by class, race and gender. This research investigates the extent to which architecture culturally reproduces itself, specifically examining the socialisation process of students into the subculture of architecture during formal education. The work of French sociologist and anthropologist Pierre Bourdieu, who has written extensively on the subject of socialisation in education, serves as a theoretical framework for this research. Specifically, two factors are examined in this study: a student's level of cultural capital and the organisational habitus of the architecture programme. Using a comparative case study research strategy of two US schools of architecture, both quantitative and qualitative tactics are employed to provide a rich description of architecture students' and faculties' experiences. Building upon cultural reproduction and cultural mobility theories, findings from this research present a more nuanced understanding of students' backgrounds, beyond the typical dichotomous definition of high vs low cultural capital. Recommendations are made for architectural education to consider meaningful curricular reform in an effort to attract and engage a more diverse student population.
Attitudes and Practices that Shape Children's Drawing Behaviour in Mainstream and Performing Arts Schools (pages 25–43)
BURKITT, ESTHER and LOWRY, RUTH
Previous research shows that key parties involved in children's drawing perceive the value and benefits of art and drawing very differently. However such research has been restricted to the examination of children attending mainstream schooling across the UK. The present study therefore compared the views and practices of key parties involved in mainstream and performing arts educational contexts. Teachers and children were interviewed and parents completed a postal survey. Some 225 children, 115 of their teachers and 176 of their parents and carers formed the mainstream school group whilst 180 children, 42 of their teachers and 145 of their parents and carers formed the performing arts school group. Main findings indicated that pupils', parents' and teachers' views about the benefits, and how to support drawing behaviour at school and at home, varied across contrasting educational contexts. In particular, pupils attending arts-based schools and their teachers valued expressivity over technical support, pupils reported enjoying drawing more, had higher self-efficacy and foresaw engaging in the activity beyond their school years more than their mainstream counterparts. The results suggest that mainstream educational contexts could foster drawing behaviour and the related emotional benefits to a greater extent.
Artistic Understanding and Motivational Characteristics (pages 44–59)
This study aims to analyse artistic understanding in primary and secondary education and the relationship between this understanding and motivational characteristics such as goal orientation, engagement in art activities and attitude to art education at school, which determine (according to prior research) learners' academic achievement, in this case the achievement of a group of young students aged between 10 and 17. A positive relationship was hypothesised between artistic understanding and achievement goals, engagement in art activities and attitudes towards art education, respectively. The results obtained partially support this hypothesis, since a statistically significant relationship was observed between artistic understanding and achievement goals, and the significant relationships hypothesised between artistic understanding and both engagement in art activities and attitudes to art education are largely supported by the findings of this study
Safe Spaces, Support, Social Capital: A Critical Analysis of Artists Working with vulnerable Young People in Educational Contexts (pages 60–72)
This article provides a critical and thematic analysis of three research projects involving artists working with vulnerable young people in educational contexts. It argues that artists create safe spaces in contrast to traditional educational activities but it will also raise questions about what constitutes such a space for participants. It will then show that skilled artists often mediate dichotomous pedagogical positions, characterised by competency and performance. It will employ the metaphor of a trellis to illustrate how artists provide flexible structure and support whilst allowing freedom and growth. Finally, it will discuss the social impact of the arts through the lens of social capital theory, highlighting the utility of the approach whilst also indicating areas for critical refinement.
Facilitating Comprehension, Connection and Commitment to Environmentally Responsible Design (pages 73–88)
BOEHM (née SHERMAN), SARAH
Given the increased awareness of the negative effects the building industry has on the environment, designs produced without considering sustainability of the planet can no longer be accepted. Although the concepts of sustainability and environmental responsibility are not new to the field of interior design, a review of the literature reveals that Environmentally Responsible Design (ERD) is not being practised with any industry-wide consistency. This article proposes an interdisciplinary pedagogical model that promises to educate students to imbed ERD principles into the design process. The TIER Model's framework is an amalgam that harnesses insights from Humanistic Sustainability, Place-Conscious Education, Principles of Sustainable Design, Phases of the Design Process and Traditional Ecological Knowledge to form a broader view of the environment and help synthesise and inculcate the concepts of sustainability. A descriptive case study illustrates how such a framework may be used to introduce ERD and sustainability concepts into design curricula. Findings from this research suggest the need to replicate the TIER Model's use within different team structures, courses and settings around the world. This work represents an innovative approach to fostering an individualised comprehension, connection and commitment to ERD among students of interior design.
Improving Student Engagement in Commercial Art and Design Programmes (pages 89–101)
The continued viability of art and design programmes depends on our ability to produce graduates able to contribute successfully and confidently to the future of the creative industries. This in turn depends on our ability to lead students to develop both the ability and the motivation to learn. A significant proportion of our students however, are not adequately prepared or inclined to engage with the learning environment. Based on a review of the literature on student engagement, this article attempts to identify the origins and examine the impact of the perceptions and attitudes (the ‘mental pictures’) that currently limit our students' ability and inclination to engage as well as those factors (including the features of our programmes) through which these ‘mental pictures’ may be inadvertently reinforced. It then proposes a number of practical suggestions to make more effective use of the learning outcomes of art and design programmes in order to mitigate their influence and thereby improve both our graduates' capacity and inclination to become more competent professionals, as well as self-directed learners.
A Cross-Cultural and Interdisciplinary Collaboration in a Joint Design Studio (pages 102–120)
KIM, MI JEONG; JU,SEO RYEUNG and LEE, LINA
A design studio is a critical venue for design students, as they are educated to develop design thinking and other skills through studio courses. This article introduces a design studio project in which Korean and Malaysian students worked jointly for one semester to design affordable urban housing. The Korean students were interior design majors and the Malaysian students were architecture majors; thus it was thought that the students' areas of expertise were likely to differ. It was also anticipated that the students would display cultural differences in terms of housing and planning practices. The motive for starting the joint design studio was the idea that a cross-cultural collaborative working setting could redefine students' thinking styles and stimulate students to obtain non-routine perspectives on the design of buildings and spaces. Through observation and interviews, we explored how students tackled affordable housing problems within the context of cross-cultural and interdisciplinary design education. Collaborative learning in a joint studio situation supplemented students' expertise, re-orienting approaches to design and opening up a holistic approach to the design issues of affordability, sustainability and community. Overall, the practical learning in the joint studio project validated the importance of exploring alternative solutions based on varied levels of information, and input of those from different educational and cultural backgrounds. The cross-cultural and interdisciplinary collaboration allowed for a previously unavailable enhancement of design education by encouraging students to obtain divergent thinking for innovative design ideas.
The Thesis, the Pendulum and the Battlefield (pages 121–131)
The debate over the design thesis is often entangled in the dialectics of the practical and the theoretical. Whether the argument is waged and weighted in favour of a practical emphasis or a theoretical emphasis, or more insidious, a judicious balance between the two, what is inevitably assumed in the debate is the possibility of drawing and/or locating a dividing line between the practical and the theoretical. This article explores the inherent contradictions of this dichotomy, that make the traditional definition of thesis – a theorem or a hypothesis regarding the nature of the phenomenon under investigation – a problematic definition for architecture. Inasmuch as architecture is, in each iteration, a cultural construct, it is always and already the formal expression or embodiment of a theory. To avoid the tautology of positing a theorem about a theorem or a hypothesis regarding a hypothesis, the design thesis may be defined, not as a theorem or a hypothesis, but as an analytical posture assumed or a critical stance taken on the theorem that is or should be the phenomenon under investigation. In this case, the question to ask at the outset of a design thesis is not what patent ‘theory’ should the proposed building speak of, but what arcane theory does its type historically hide under the rubrics of ‘function’ or ‘practical’ requirements? It must begin, in other words, by de-familiarising the familiar.
A Dialectic of Disinterested and Immersive Aesthetics: Santiniketan Art Education and Labour Translated (pages 132–144)
GALL, DAVID A
This article argues for art education's potential to transform mundane work, mindful of the steep challenges of the aesthetic and mundane dialectic. Those challenges, magnified in the context of capitalism and industrialism, confronted twentieth-century Indian artist educators Rabindranath Tagore and Nandalal Bose, but also confront twenty-first-century art educators. Tagore created Visva-Bharati University to counteract the excessive materialism of modernism, recognising diversity and the immanence of the transcendent in humanity. Tagore's aesthetics, though deeply relational, nevertheless regard the mundane as essentially irredeemable. It is in Visva-Bharati's environment, however, that Nandalal Bose was able to conceive an aesthetic, developed from Yogic ideas of immanence and Far Eastern aesthetics, which envisioned the transformation of the mundane through creative activity