100 EXHIBITION HOURS (the conundrum of time and quality)

Lawrence is one of my visual arts students. He has repeatedly asked how much time each he should devote to each of the course components. (Hi Lawrence, I know you read my blog!) Of course, the course is taught holistically and there is no ‘hours per component’ recommendation in the visual arts guide. Visual Arts guide page 16: “Although the core syllabus is identified in this guide through subdivided segments, teachers are encouraged to approach the teaching of the visual arts course in a ...

“When NOT to…” (Visual Arts Exhibition No Nos)

By now I expect that many of you (students) are on holiday – so I’m pleased to see that you have spared a moment to check on the visual arts blog! If you have graduated I’m happy to see you and good luck on July 6th (RESULTS day!) If, on the other hand, you are in between the first and second year of the course, some of this blog may prove useful. I’m reflecting on more things seen during the last visual arts ...

YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS! – 10 SNAPSHOTS FOR AN EXHIBITION? 24/30? AGAIN, YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t0hK1wyrrAU John McEnroe coins "You cannot be serious" “classic McEnroe outburst. John McEnroe v Tom Gullikson at Wimbledon in 1981. Umpire was Edward James”. Both my June 2017 blogs (for teachers and for students) are in response to things encountered as a visual arts examiner/moderator. This one is for students and relates to assessment - and the differences in perception from the perspective of a teacher and that of a moderator. The other is aimed at teachers and to some extent is about ethics ...

Your PP needs mistakes! (its GOOD to make mistakes)

It’s obvious. It’s probably so obvious that it doesn’t need saying. But I sometimes encounter students who are perfectionists - or at least try to delete/hide all evidence of mistakes in their visual arts journal and/or Process Portfolio. It’s not that they hate making mistakes, its more that they don’t like to leave any evidence behind. I get it – why reveal your “weaknesses” when you are up to your neck in assessment worries? You want to impress the examiner with the consistently high ...

WRITING FOR THE EXHIBITION

Hi students, if you are in a Northern Hemisphere school and in your final year as a DP visual arts student, the end is nigh. DP Arts deadlines are earlier than the deadlines for other DP subjects, and your teacher will probably ask for various files even before the ‘official’ deadlines so that he/she can check that all is OK. It’s probably a little stressful for you, but I know quite a few teachers who find this time of the year very ...

BLOOD, DUST AND CULTURE

I was forced to re-evaluate my definition of culture (and perhaps the many meanings of the word 'civilization') one night in Northern Tanzania when a group of Maasai tribesmen suggested that I drink the hot blood of a freshly slaughtered goat. This is life, Jim, I thought – but not as we know it. I’d watched the killing of the goat, and the invitation to drink the blood was a generous gesture of their hospitality, but no more than that – a ...

Part 2 of WHERE DO IDEAS COME FROM?

Last month I asked "Where do ideas come from?" (pretty much anywhere!) and wrote about one way of coming up with art ideas - by being aware of what has gone before (“standing on the shoulders of giants”)   This month I want to remind you of the importance of your VAJ – never go anywhere without it – and flag up a great YouTube video! 1 The JOURNAL (VAJ) (“Does your idea have legs?”) The journal is VITAL! The first suggestion I make to any ...

SIX TIPS FOR YOUR VISUAL ARTS COMPARATIVE STUDY

My year 2 students are in the process of finalizing their Comparative Study and my year 1 students are undertaking a ‘mini’ Comparative Study to introduce them to some of the important concepts and ideas. Here are six things I’m emphasizing to both groups. 1 Know what the examiner wants! Do you know what the assessment criteria are? It will really help the structure and content of your comparative study if you become familiar with the things the examiner is looking for. If you ...

PROPOSED CHANGES TO THE VISUAL ARTS ASSESSMENT CRITERIA

Are you mad? Changing the criteria? The course has only just had its first examinations session and they are thinking of changing them already?     Like any good organization, the DP visual arts curriculum and assessment teams review, consider and where necessary adjust. And having scrutinized the files of many thousands of students in May, June and July, the decision was made to tweak the assessment criteria for the 2017 examination sessions. “Tweak” is the operative work here. There are of course no big ...

ART AND CONCEPT: What’s in a Glass of Water?

This post is about the visual arts course with reference to contemporary art, conceptual qualities, conceptual art and found objects ***The visual arts “Conceptual Qualities” criterion does not necessarily mean Conceptual Art, and Conceptual Art does not necessarily mean Found Objects. In the recent examination session a number of students went down a strongly ‘conceptual’ route and having chosen that route then went down the avenue marked ‘Found Objects’. CONCEPTUAL ART “Conceptual art can be – and can look like – almost anything. This ...