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 ...

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 ...

“The IB do not value or even recognize effort!” Commitment, effort, motivation, passion – what’s the point?

Last month I wrote about some teacher reactions to the grades their students achieved. (At the end of every examination session, some teachers express concern about the results). One complaint that I hear from teachers who are disappointed in the mark relates to how committed the student was, how hard he/she worked and how much time he/she put in. “My student was thoroughly engaged but the IB do not value or even recognize their effort! There is no correlation between the work they ...

PROCESS vs IDEAS (making art rather than buying objects?)

It’s easy to come across mirrors in art – they certainly feature in many well-known paintings, including the  Arnolfini Wedding, Las Meninas and the Rokeby Venus, both by Velazquez, Rubens’ “Venus at the Mirror”, Picasso’s “Girl Before a Mirror”, Manet’s Bar at the Folies-Bergere, Patrick Caufield’s “Bathroom Mirror”, Lichtenstein’s “Mirror  – and many others. And since that cheeky chap Marcel Duchamp we also have real mirrors in artworks – the found object. Which brings me to the subject of this post. As ...

HAPPY NEW YEAR! (VISUAL ARTS GRADE AWARD December 2014)

Happy New Year, everyone! I’m going to start my 2015 Blog with a quick look back to the most recent Visual arts grade award meeting, which for the first time ever was VIRTUAL. Grade Award meetings occur twice a year (in November and June) and previously have always taken place in Cardiff (Wales, UK). Senior visual arts examiners together with the Chief and Deputy Chief examiners met (virtually) with the visual arts assessment team and the Subject Manager. Usually we also have ...

Farewell interview videos – both on the OCC and the real thing!

OCC interview videos have GONE! The four interview videos that have been on the OCC for more than two years have now been removed. They were made because up until 2012 the visiting examiner had come to the school, looked at the exhibition and asked the questions. When this process was switched to the teacher asking the questions, the IB received numerous worried emails from teachers who did not know what to do and were asking for advice and guidance. The IB ...

The Persistence of Pollock

In my last blog I talked about the regular appearance of Barbies in DP visual arts exhibitions. Following on from that – art styles/techniques that appear fairly regularly - an even more frequent offender is art that has been strongly influenced by the technique one particular abstract expressionist – and yes, I’m talking about Jackson Pollock, aka Jack the Dripper (1912–1956). Each session visual arts examiners tend see artworks that are the result of a process of splash, spatter and/or drip ...

Is Drawing Dead?

Do you teach basic drawing skills?   In February 2012 the always creative and occasionally provocative Jayson Paterson started a thread on the OCC forum entitled “Is Drawing Dead?” Since then there have been 16 replies and more than 360 views. Jayson explains “I want to emphasise again that I am not suggesting that drawing is dead in this discussion thread, but wanting to open up discussion as to what has been added to an artist's basic toolbox in this 21st Century ...

The visual arts INTERVIEW

Having been a visual arts examiner for the recent visual arts examination session, I have watched more than 100 interviews. I saw some really great interviews, with eloquent and articulate students speaking very well and enthusiastically about their work, providing me with insights and understanding. However, not all interviews were useful or even understandable… 1.      Audio or Video? Either is fine but if it’s audio it’s VITAL that the student identifies the piece of work being discussed. While listening to audio uploads I often ...