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Critical Studies in Art and Design Education

This book reviews past practice and theory in critical studies and discusses various trends; some papers keenly advocate a re-conceptualisation of the whole subject area, while others describe aspects of current and past practice which exemplify the "symbiotic" relationship between practical studio work and critical engagement with visual form.

Rod Taylor, who has done much to promote and develop critical studies in the UK, provides us with examples of classroom practice and gives us his more recent thoughts on fundamental issues – "universal themes" in art – and gives examples of how both primary and secondary schools might develop their teaching of art through attending to themes such as "identity," "myth," and "environments" to help "re-animate the practical curriculum."

Although some of the discussion in this book centres on or arises from the English National curriculum, the issues are more global, and relevant to anyone involved in developing or delivering art curricula in schools. An American perspective is given in papers by George Geahigan and Paul Duncum. Geahigan outlines an approach to teaching about visual form which begins with students’ personal responses and is developed through structured instruction. In Duncum’s vision of ‘visual culture art education’ sites such as theme parks and shopping malls are the focus of students’ critical attention in schools; Nick Stanley gives a lucid account of just such an enterprise, giving practical examples of ways to engage students with this particular form of visual pleasure.

This publication serves to highlight some of the more pressing issues of concern to art and design teachers in two aspects. Firstly it seeks to contextualise the development of critical studies, discussing its place in the general curriculum – possibly as a discrete subject – and secondly it examines different approaches to its teaching.

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Table of Contents

John Steers
Notes on Authors 
Richard Hickman
1: Introduction: A Short History of Critical Studies in Art & Design Education
Richard Hickman
2: Don’t Judge Pianists by their Hair
Arthur Hughes
3: Theoretical Comments
Leslie Perry
4: Curricular Development in Critical Studies
David Thistlewood
5: What do Dragons Think About in their Dark Lonely Caves? Or Critical Studies: The Importance of Knowledge
Alison Bancroft
6: Universal Themes: Content and Meaning in Art and Design Education
Rod Taylor
7: Critical Discourse and Art Criticism Instruction
George Geahigan
8: Critical Enquiry in Art in the Primary School
Sue Cox
9: Art and Worldview: Escaping the Formalist and Collectivist Labyrinth
Lesley Cunliffe
10: School Students’ Responses to Architecture: A Practical Studio Project
Richard Hickman
11: Visual Culture Art Education: Why, What and How?
Paul Duncum
12: Out of this World: Theme Parks’ Contribution to a Redefined Aesthetics and Educational Practice
Nick Stanley
13: Who’s Afraid of Signs and Significations? Defending Semiotics in the Secondary Art and Design Curriculum
Nicholas Addison
Appendix I: Breakdown of Images from Seven Packs
Alison Bancroft
Appendix II: The Domains of Subject Knowledge in Art and Design
Nicholas Addison
IIa: Ways into the Object: Object-based Analysis
Nicholas Addison
Appendix III: The Inter-dependence and Inter-relationship of ‘External’ or ‘Non-present’ Aspects of Works of Art and their ‘Internal’ or ‘Visually Present’ Features
Leslie Cunliffe
Appendix IIIa: Semantic Differential Techniques
Leslie Cunliffe
Appendix IV: React, Research, Respond, Reflect - Engaging Students with Visual Form 201
Richard Hickman

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