Six of the Best (comparative study issues and advice)

It’s September, so some of you will be just starting the bright and shiny adventure that is IBDP visual arts, while others will be returning for your final year. So (unless you have already completed it) part of the visual arts coursework that you will be/are engaged in is the Comparative Study. Examiners have now seen work uploaded for three examination sessions (May 2016 and 2017, and November 2016), and some issues and patterns are beginning to emerge. This blog is not intended ...

Sound and Vision in the Visual Arts Digital Upload

Just so we’re clear, NO MORE ‘INTERVIEW’ VIDEOS NO VIDEOS IN THE COMPARATIVE STUDY NO VIDEOS IN THE PROCESS PORTFOLIO VIDEOS OK IN EXHIBITION BUT MAXIMUM 5 MINUTES NO SOUND IN VIDEOS  "Only 5 minutes and no sound????” VIDEOS: 5 minutes maximum Yes, but you can do a lot in 5 minutes. You can actually do a lot in two minutes, so just think “less is more” when your students are wielding that camera. In fact don’t just think it, write in on a big board in ...

CONCEPTUAL QUALITIES (and experimentation, cliché, objet trouvé & the senses)

Conceptual art can be stimulating, provocative and even fun, so it’s no surprise that DP visual arts students occasionally upload files for their final assessment  that have an emphasis on idea and concept rather than, say, technical skill. They are often in the form of a found object – a feather, a glove, a light-bulb, a chess piece, rubbish, a clock, a computer circuit board, dead flowers - not forgetting, of course, Barbie (etc.) They all represent something and - given the ...

Visual arts examiner training and qualification (…and the introduction video)

A couple of weeks ago I travelled through the Spring sunshine to the hallowed halls of the IB Assessment Centre (Cardiff, Wales). The Subject Manager for visual arts met me there. The purpose of my visit was to film a video for examiners, so we spent the morning discussing, amending and finalizing the things that would be said. Although of course examiners have been going through a pre-examination qualification process for years, this is the first examiner qualification video, and all examiners ...

Skills vs Concept

“How much time do you spend teaching skills, as opposed to, say, discussing originality or the art and culture of different times?" There is no simple answer - because students are all different. It depends on who you get in your art class. It tends to change with every new group of students, and it also changes over the course of the programme. My school has a very fluid student population and a fairly wide ‘open door’ policy with regard to admission ...

How many Investigation Workbook pages should students produce?

Some examiners have recently expressed concern that some teachers are allowing their students to create a relatively small small number of investigation pages. In one case an HLA student completed only about 50 pages over the two years and chose half of this number to be assessed in the final examination. Perhaps predictably, this student did not do very well. As is so often the case, its a quality vs. quantity issue. Obviously it serves very little purpose  if students just  produce a ...

Is it a Plane? Is it a Bird? No! It’s a CLICHÉ (Part 1)

A recent comment (thanks Greg!) made me think about images that examiners see repeatedly, the stereotypes, the clichés. Greg’s particular bête noir is the half human, half robot face. It’s a cliché now, of course, but at some point – a long time ago – it wasn’t. When I first saw Westworld in the mid-70s (Michael Crichton director and writer, 1973) the Yul Brynner cowboy robot seemed at the time (to me) a great image. In fact I did some ‘human face/robotic structure drawings’ ...

Recruiting examiners, ‘IB Answers’ etc

I’d like to draws your attention to some useful IB Internet sites. Firstly, the IB needs visual arts examiners. 2012 may be the last year that examiners actually visit schools, but numbers of students taking visual arts continue to grow, so we still need examiners! Visit http://www.ibo.org/examiners/assistant_posts/assistantexaminers/visualarts/ for an overview and a list of countries where need is greatest. There is also a pdf document called “Examiner recruitment policy” available at  http://www.ibo.org/examiners/documents/ExRecruitmentPolicyV1.2.pdf Secondly, there is a great IB online question and answer site “IB ANSWERS”  http://ibanswers.ibo.org/app/home/session/L2F2LzEvdGltZS8xMzE1MDM5NzQ1L3NpZC9zb2wxSDhEaw%3D%3D The ...