University Of Tasmania
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What might count as art in schools?

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posted on 2023-05-26, 02:45 authored by Broughton, L
Art as a school subject embraces a broad epistemological dornain. It is quite acceptable for an art teacher to include in a single art curriculum - in other words, to count as 'Art' - such diverse fields as art history and ceramics, drawing and metal casting, paper-making and basic design, furniture design and the making of videos, conceptual art and weaving, book-binding and body art, computer graphics and -wood-carving, clay modelling and photography, painting and perfonnance. In the light of such a diverse range can it be reasonably asswned that an art teacher teaches a single discipline? For one may deduce from the forms listed that Art in schools may comprise not one fom of knowledge, involving essentially one way of knowing, but that in fact there may exist instead several forms of knowledge involved in the subject called 'Art'. Is the art teacher therefore, not a teacher of one subject but a teacher of many? And what are the possible implications of the concept (and expectation) of diversity in school Art curriculum for what a student may actually learn in, and through the subject, including what he or she may learn about the nature and purpose of art in society? Tb tackle these questions exclusively from the standpoint of art would be to deny significant educational considerations, for the questions are concerned not only with art but also with education. And conversely, failing to explore struc~ural characteristics of art, conceding (for instance) that normative conditions in schools should principally determine the content of art curriculum, would also be patently inadequate, however prevalent such practice may sometimes be in schools themselves. The intent of this dissertation is to inquire into that apparent morass of diverse knowledge in art - into the educational potential of the various philosophies, ideologies, processes and techniques all of which can, it seems, legitimately constitute the content of school art curriculum. Behind this inquiry is a desire on the part of the writer to simply resolve, if only for himself, a long-held problem: the problem as to what should count as Art in schools.


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