Design can be considered as a discipline that enables the learner to make careful choices, classify and order their creative thinking and actions in ways that enable them to better define and achieve their intentions.
It remains the ambition of NSEAD that art and design teachers will seek wherever possible to provide a curriculum that embraces art, craft and design, ensuring this curriculum addresses the aspirations, interests and ambitions of students in schools and colleges.
- When considering the emphasis we place on the teaching of design in art and design, we must also reflect on the appeal different design approaches have to different genders. Anecdotal evidence reinforces the view that girls are broadly ‘design neutral’ in their creative approaches, boys on the other hand are broadly ‘design positive’, seeing far greater value in design-led (design brief) approaches with particular emphasis on real-world applications.Connected to this, all teachers should reflect on whether their design teaching is sufficiently emphasised or offers suitable design-led opportunities to engage those with an interest in design contexts and these approaches.
Link to the NSEAD Briefing Paper/Powerpoint presentation entitled: The Distinctiveness of Art & Design and D&T Departments. http://www.nsead.org/news/news.aspx?id=881
The Powerpoint briefing paper http://www.nsead.org/news/news.aspx?id=881 has been issued by NSEAD in response to two contexts.
- The changes in schools brought about by the EBacc and budget pressures, that have resulted in schools cutting provision and in many cases amalgamated, or placed art and design and D&T departments into a more tightly structured working relationship.
- The challenges of the revised D&T GCSEs have resulted in increasing numbers of D&T departments using art and design GCSE specifications in preference to their own GCSE examinations, to maintain examination success.
Both of these issues are having a ‘knock-on’ impact on art and design departments, management structures, GCSE option systems, option numbers and staffing. In more extreme circumstances it is resulting in reductions at Key Stage 3 or even an amalgamated curriculum.
- The purpose of the briefing is to ensure that art and design teachers are briefed as to the reasons for these changes, if they happen in their school. To be aware of the possible consequences and to enter into any planning and discussions with an understanding of possible consequences and outcomes that might have a damaging impact on the art and design curriculum, the breadth of opportunities, staffing, budget and examination changes that might result from such change.
- Any differences in approach to design between art and design and D&T are often a product of the understanding and agreement regarding teaching approaches of the staff in respective departments, rather than being based on an accepted definition. In reality, there is common ground and no clear line of demarkation. This is particularly true as we move through GCSE into A Level into FE and HE where in colleges of art and design, students study functional design based courses with direct pathways into design based careers and occupations.
- The illustration below from Mick Davies (Northern Ireland Curriculum), identifies differences in emphasis within both subjects and those areas of common ground.
The way design features in a sketchbook
The idea of a sketchbook is often thought of as a tool for artists, but designers working in many areas of design will use them too. The word ‘sketching’ has connotations that stretch back to historic times and infer the activity of making drawn studies from life. But in education, we refer to a sketchbook as a place where pupils organise their visual thinking and learning. In the book, Think inside the sketchbook (Collins Educational 2011), Robinson, Mountain and Hulston suggest that:
‘Sketchbooks can take many forms: they can be thin, fat, large, tiny, square or regular. They can be commercially produced, or hand made, soft covered, sewn, stuck, stapled, tied with string, loose leaf, each page a different size, colour, shape or texture. In fact almost anything goes. Some tiny sketchbooks live in the pocket and are used at every opportunity. Some are constant companions, going wherever you go, others remain in the studio for receiving and resolving ideas.’
This statement explores how flexibly artists might think about a sketchbook, but many other professions use them too, perhaps with a different type of paper or in a virtual/digital form that better suits their professional needs. Designers might use cartridge paper, or layout paper in a layout pad, so they can trace and overwork/modify or produce variations on an idea. As an example, surgeons may use a sketchpad to visually describe and plan their actions in an operation, to understand the three-dimensional complexity of access and actions when operating on human organs. Sketchbooks are commonly used by creative professions to plan and share their ideas, intentions and visual thinking with others.