International Journal of Art & Design Education

2017 - Volume 36: Number 3

Thinking Drawing (pages 244–252)


VOL 36.3

This article draws heavily on the author's critical autobiography: Eileen Adams: Agent of Change. It presents evidence of the value of drawing as a medium for learning, particularly in art and design, and argues that drawing is a useful educational tool. The premise is that drawing makes you think. This article explains various functions that drawing serves to prompt different kinds of thinking, and shares a framework that describes the purposes of drawing in supporting learning. It explains how action research was used to initiate change in the way teachers in schools and educators in other settings think about drawing, and how they might utilise it to support learning. It offers a glimpse of how evidence was generated, interpreted, validated and disseminated to illuminate practice and prompt development. It challenges teachers and researchers to create a fresh impetus for drawing as a medium for learning.


drawing, thinking, learning, education, research, development

DOI: 10.1111/jade.12153

Transformation through Repetition: Walking, Listening and Drawing on Tlicho Lands (pages 253–260)


VOL 36.3

As part of my PhD practice-based research on Tlicho lands (a self-governed Indigenous region in Canada's Northwest Territories), drawing is being used to embody intangible cultural heritage (which includes activities such as oral history and the social practice of walking). Recent work to emerge from this research consists of two drawings created by Tlicho elders, and an animated film made of 900 graphite drawings referencing regional oral history. The process of rendering these drawings embodied experiences on the land that are repetitive, albeit transformative, such as walking or listening to multiple versions of a single story. The entanglement of continually moving lines, evident through the animation, provides a counter-narrative to colonial interpretations of the land – particularly narratives constructed through Cartesian coordinate systems (on which computer graphics and the geometry of built environments are based). This article will describe the production of this film, while also inquiring into how line-making provides a trace of memory, rhythmic movement and epistemology.


Animation, culture, drawing, indigenous, intangible, memory, movement, epistemology

DOI: 10.1111/jade.12156

Reflective Drawing as a Tool for Reflection in Design Research (pages 261–272)


VOL 36.3

This article explores the role of drawing as a tool for reflection. It reports on a PhD research project that aims to identify and analyse the value that co-design processes can bring to participants and their communities. The research is associated with Leapfrog, a three-year project funded by the UK Arts and Humanities Research Council (AHRC). It aims to transform public engagement through activating participation using co-design practices. The article reports on the analysis of initial research findings arising from a series of workshops with members of non-profit organisations on the Isle of Mull, in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland, in which co-design practices were used. The article reflects on the use of drawing used as a tool to capture the author's reflections and her own personal development as a researcher. In this study the term ‘reflective drawing’ refers to the use of drawing as a tool to support the research reflection process within an ethnographic approach to the fieldwork. Reflective drawing is used in two different stages of the reflection process: (1) to record data during fieldwork enabling reflection-in-action, complementing field notes and disclosing visual and kinaesthetic learning; and (2) to recall lived experience during the reflection sessions conducted after the observed activity, which helps to establish a bridge between theory and practice. Reflection is defined as an intuitive process that enables the understanding of oneself within a context of practice. Hence, understanding reflective drawing requires exploration of the reflection process.


reflective drawing, co-design, design ethnography, reflective practice, autobiographical research, socially active design, leapfrog tools

DOI: 10.1111/jade.12161

Drawing as Driver of Creativity: Nurturing an Intelligence of Seeing in Art Students(pages 273–280)


VOL 36.3

The article reasserts the primacy of drawing as a driver of creativity within art schools. It reviews specific aspects of visual perception theory and visual communication theory relevant to a pedagogical strategy as a means of nurturing an ‘intelligence of seeing’ in art students. The domain of drawing is theorised as a systemic-functional semiotic model informed by Michael Halliday's model for language, as adapted by Michael O'Toole in his 2011 The Language of Displayed Art. The model is demonstrated as an aid to the production of drawings, rather than its more-recognised efficacy as a means of negotiating meaning from existing works. The article is illustrated with examples of drawings by the author.


drawing, pedagogy, intelligence of seeing, modes of perception, systemic-functional semiotics

DOI: 10.1111/jade.12157

Beyond Representation: Exploring Drawing as Part of Children's Meaning-Making(pages 281–291)


VOL 36.3

Drawing is an everyday feature of primary school classrooms. All too often however, its role within the classroom is limited to a ‘representational’ one, used to demonstrate the accuracy of children's images and representations of the world. Furthermore, drawings, which most closely ‘match’ objective, dominant perspectives are generally given greater value. Reflecting on the role of drawing in the classroom is particularly interesting at a time when there is increasing emphasis on ‘evidenced-based’ and research-informed practice within schools. Such a policy context, which is primarily concerned with ‘objective’ forms of evidence, raises questions about a possible role for drawing to support a more nuanced understanding of learning processes, taking account of the uniquely contextualised experiences of the children. In response to this context, this article reports on my engagement – as a primary school teacher in Scotland – with a Participatory Action Research (PAR) project with children aged five to seven. The project enabled us to explore how drawing could support our own, collective meaning-making. The process involved employing walking and drawing as methods to open up rich linguistic spaces to enable the children to engage with and reflect on their lived experiences. The analysis of the drawings that were created surfaced many tensions within the Scottish education system, highlighted from the perspectives of the children. Such findings point to the need for more relational interpretation of ‘evidence’, arising from classroom actions and interactions, which include the perspectives of children.


children's drawings, meaning-making, evidence, complexity, phenomenology

DOI: 10.1111/jade.12158

Drawing on Curiosity: Between Two Worlds (pages 292–302)


VOL 36.3

This narrative of my research on drawing shares my experience of relearning drawing by hand and how the act of drawing can stimulate curiosity. This article examines its potential to enhance learning/observation in science. It describes a kinaesthetic drawing methodology and addresses pedagogical solutions for overcoming a student's declaration that ‘I can't draw’. This art creation experience was an interdisciplinary study in the faculties of art, science and education. My claim is that a hands-on, interactive approach to learning is at play where strategies of creating images are not predetermined. What emerges is both a subjective and objective phenomenon. As knowledge production arises after the fact of drawing, an emergent process allows for reflexive methodology and intuition to come into play. As Derrida describes in Memoirs of the Blind, drawing emerges from the temporal space between the seeing and the unfolding of the drawing. This art-based research flows in the direction of reflective practice-based research through drawing, to address these questions by calling on the tactile and kinaesthetic dimensions of sense that drawing can engender.


drawing, kinaesthetic, drawing and seeing, arts-based research, seeing and observation, practice-based reseach

DOI: 10.1111/jade.12159

From Sketch to Screen, from Scratch to Competence (pages 303–314)


VOL 36.3

This article is about nature artists, design researchers and scientists collaborating in a research lab with scarce resources, where communication is doubled by an art installation of drawings. It aims to identify how drawings can be used in academically different environments in order to improve co-work processes. Data was collected in a South Korea college for two years in 2015–2016. The research question is: how do drawings influence the communication between colleagues, beyond their different backgrounds? This question seeks to examine how drawings can be used to enhance communication. Based on participants’ experiences, the case study is described according to five categories: concept and architecture communication with drawing, toilet design drawing, kindergarten students’ feedback by drawing, agar art drawings with algae and computer drawings with media art drawings. The premise here is that drawing makes you think more, learn from each other and more easily understand difficult information. This article offers a glimpse into how the evidence was generated, interpreted and disseminated in order to illuminate the benefits of drawing, using some cases as examples. It identifies the current challenges experienced by schools and argues for a fresh impetus behind drawing within interdisciplinary team projects.


drawings, sketching, communication tool, benefits of drawing, drawing within interdisciplinary team projects

DOI: 10.1111/jade.12160

Drawing Analogies to Deepen Learning (pages 315–324)


VOL 36.3

This article offers examples of how drawing can facilitate thinking skills that promote analogical reasoning to enable deeper learning. The instructional design applies cognitive principles, briefly described here. The workshops were developed iteratively, through feedback from student and teacher participants. Elements of the UK National Curriculum's key stage 3 science were covered in these examples, but the method of ‘drawing analogies’ can theoretically be applied in any subject.


meta-learning, analogical reasoning, key stage 3, transfer, drawing

DOI: 10.1111/jade.1


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