Later this month I will be going to Cardiff to join a select group of people to discuss the current IBDP visual arts course – what’s wrong with it and what’s right with it.
There will be teacher representatives from all over the world, including those journeying from Canada, Hong Kong, Australia, North America, Poland and Germany.
The idea, of course, is not just to cast a critical eye over the current course; the real purpose is to start to think about the next version of the IBDP visual arts course – the one that will kick in when the current one has been laid to rest in five years time (around 2015).
One major aspect of the current course that I support is the fact that in almost all cases a student’s experience of a final examination is a discussion with an external visiting examiner. The discussion may focus on the investigation workbooks (option B) or the studio work (option A) but either way, most candidates seem to enjoy and get a lot out of the experience.
Of course, it’s expensive to operate.
IBDP visual arts is probably the only pre-college/university school based art programme in the world to send examiners all over the world, twice a year, to interview students (examinations for schools in the northern hemisphere occur in March/April, and in October/November for southern hemisphere schools).
But it’s hugely popular – with teachers, examiners, parents and students. Its a great way to end the course, its generally an enjoyable (if inevitably a little nerve-wracking for the candidate) encounter, and – generally – it works!
(By the way, if you are wondering about the stone animals – they can be found climbing over the walls, escaping from the grounds of Cardiff Castle.)