Visual Arts Grade Award June 2012, part 1 – the evils of the Internet

The Chief Examiner, Deputy Chief Examiners and other senior examiners have just spent a busy, challenging but enjoyable few days in sunny Cardiff (Wales), looking through the studio work and investigation pages of visual arts candidates from schools all over the world.

The diversity of work and the creativity  of our students never fails to impress, and at the end of the meeting we were able to make time to select some outstanding pieces for inclusion in the virtual gallery.

The main focus of the meeting, however, was to ensure that all the marks awarded by our examiners are accurate and fair.

Most of the time was spent looking at images of studio work and copies of investigation pages, referring to the good old assessment descriptors, and frequently discussing where  the strengths/weaknesses might lie.

One issue in particular cropped up – images taken from the internet and used as the basis for artworks in exhibitions.

This is not necessarily a problem, providing that the image source is not subject to copyright and is properly acknowledged as part of a developmental process in the investigation workbook.

I have seen some great art pieces, involving intelligent ideas and including reference to appropriated images from a variety of sources; on the other hand I have also seen work simply copied because the student found the original on the Internet and wanted to recreate it, sometimes as a careful copy, and sometimes with a few changes.

The IB have guidelines on plagiarism.

It is not acceptable in any subject, including art, and students run the risk of not being awarded their Diploma if they are found to have plagiarized. It is the responsibility of the student to cite all sources but the teacher must also sign off on this, confirming that all the work is the student’s own.

The images are photographs taken in Cardiff during the June Grade Award meetings.

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