“In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes”



By Kightlinger, Jack E., White House photo [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

“15 minutes of fame is short-lived media publicity or celebrity of an individual or phenomenon. The expression was coined by Andy Warhol, who said in 1968 that “In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes.” The phenomenon is often used in reference to figures in the entertainment industry or other areas of popular culture, such as reality television and YouTube. It is believed that the statement was an adaptation of a theory of Marshall McLuhan, explaining the differences of media, where TV differs much from other media using contestants. A similar saying used in the UK is “nine day wonder”.”


As many of you are by now aware, there are some more upcoming changes to the interview process: there is now a choice – a 15 minute student interview or a 1000 word statement. One or the other is compulsory.

Personally I think these are good changes and will generally help the assessment process and make for a better understanding of the student’s work, providing both art teachers and their students understand what they need to do.

I understand that many teachers and students love the idea of a 20 (SL) or 30 (HL) minute interview as an important way of explaining, presenting, justifying, discussing and/or describing the achievements, challenges, processes etc of the course.

Yes – as a culminating event it’s great.

But as an assessment tool (or even as a supplement to assessment), unfortunately its somewhat unreliable, and in the hands of many teachers, it can be clumsy and ineffective.

As an examiner in the last session, I watched all interviews all the way through (or up to the 20- or 30-minute maximum) – but in the case of many I gained very little that was not already evident in the investigation workbook pages or the candidate statement.

The IB is busy working on the guidance documents both for the 15 minute interview and the 1000 word statement, which should help teachers and students make whichever one they choose more effective and more useful for assessment in 2014.

I’ll be reviewing these as soon as they are published – stay tuned!

In the future, everyone will be world-famous for 15 minutes!

  • Lesley Drummond
    October 16, 2013

    Hey Andrew…..
    Would help if we had gotten specific feedback about the interviews we did with kids…..there were a few general comments, but any issues maybe need to be sent to the teachers directly in order to improve.??? If things are changing up,perhaps the guidelines will be enough to make them all worthwhile for the examiners.
    When will these changes occur? We do our evaluations in January, as that’s the end of the course.

    • Andrew Vaughan
      October 22, 2013

      Hi Lesley,
      I agree that feedback can be really helpful, but in practical terms – of an individual response to every teacher – I can’t see it happening. Your own DP Coordinator could ask for specific feedback from the DP visual arts assessment team and see what happens, but other than that the feedback will come in terms of the subject reports, written by the examiners, twice year: its general but still worth reading.
      My understanding is that the changes – 15 minutes or 1000 words – will happen for the May 2014 session for northern hemisphere schools and November 2014 for southern hemisphere.

  • Yasha
    February 24, 2014

    Hi Andrew,
    Are the guidance documents ready yet? Where can we get them?

  • Andrew Vaughan
    March 11, 2014

    Hi Yasha,
    Check the OCC – all the latest documentation appears there.

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