“Forget the Process Portfolio! The Process Portfolio does not exist!”

Ah, the sparkling skyscrapers of Dubai.

I was there fairly recently, involved in a visual arts teacher-training workshop, with a focus (of course) on the new programme.

For those participants who were there and who may now be reading this I’d like to say thank you once again for all your creative and positive contributions! Your willingness to share was itself a great reflection of the philosophy of the International Baccalaureate.

1 One area that seemed to cause some confusion for some was the nature, role and purpose of the visual arts journal, and the relationship between the journal and the process portfolio.

I was getting the feeling that some teachers were thinking of the Process Portfolio as an actual and separate folder that existed alongside the journal. I was trying to get across the idea that the process portfolio will not really exist as a component until towards the end of the course, when all the records of process would be gathered, reviewed and assembled.Dubai 4


Dubai 2Which is why I stated loudly and fairly bluntly to the group Forget the Process Portfolio! The Process Portfolio does not exist

What I meant was that it’s a somewhat metaphysical entity. As a “portfolio”, it will probably be rather empty until some point in the second year. It will be created for assessment, with its content drawn from process mostly in the Visual Journal and resolved and/or unresolved artworks created during the course.

2 There still seems to be some confusion about whether resolved artworks can appear in the Process Portfolio, so I’d like to state loudly (again), “Yes, the Process Portfolio can include resolved (and or unresolved) artworks! (But not if they are included in the exhibition)

3 Another question I’ve been asked is, do students take their process portfolio from the journal?

It’s very likely that a lot of media experimentation, trial and error, exploring techniques etc will occur in the journal: this would be the logical place for the student to explore media and also explain his/her ideas about what they are doing.

Gradually, therefore, over a period of weeks and months, the journal would build up into a record of the development of ideas, aims and intentions, different processes, the acquisition of technical skills, including some successes and failures, etc.

Dubai 3

Some of these pages (if it’s a book) could very well become files submitted for the process portfolio at the end of the course.

However, since some processes may occur outside the book (ceramics, video, installation, large scale 3D work etc) , files of these processes could be uploaded as part of the process portfolio and not be from the journal.

So not ALL process needs to happen in the book (although if photos of some of these could be stuck onto pages, it would allow for accompanying written explanations).

And I suspect some teachers and students will spend a lot of time constructing a slick Process Portfolio when that time might be better spent making art!


  • Barbara
    January 18, 2015

    I am curious about the potential content of these process screens. The descriptors imply that some written content would be helpful in support of the visuals that describe the processes learned… Can comments, reflections, research and analysis be added as typed text to the screen as it is being ‘assembled’? To that end I have asked the students to keep an online typed journal of their thoughts and reflections that can be excerpted onto their final screens before submission. My rule of thumb will be the text should be easily legible on a standard 17 inch monitor or screen….

    • Andrew Vaughan
      January 19, 2015

      Hi Barbara,
      It sounds like you are definitely on track here!

      “Can comments, reflections, research and analysis be added as typed text to the screen as it is being ‘assembled’?”

      Yes, absolutely! The examiner will be looking for evidence of the communication of ideas and intentions and a process of review, refinement and reflection, so adding comments, reflections, research and analysis to the screen as it is being ‘assembled’ makes perfect sense. The criteria also emphasize the importance of subject-specific language.



      • Barbara
        March 9, 2015

        Hi Again,
        I would like some clarification.
        Apparently pieces used in the final exhibition are not permitted to be part of the PROCESS SCREENS… What about using the pre-drawing of a painting, conte crayon piece on a DRAWING PROCESS SCREEN… OR any of the ‘work in progress’ photos the student may have taken that show skill development but are also the early stages of a studio piece… It seems sensible not to be permitted to repeat the final realized studio piece on a process screen but what about from the developmental stages?? Thanks!

      • Andrew Vaughan
        March 12, 2015

        Hi Barbara,
        It’s fine to include ‘work in progress’ photos to show skill development in the Process Portfolio.
        An important part of the process portfolio is experimentation and manipulation of skills, techniques and processes, showing the ability to select and use materials – which sounds very much like ‘work in progress’.
        The Process Portfolio can also include any resolved works that have not been selected for the exhibition, so it is possible to show examples of the whole process ‘journey’ from starting points to end product.

  • Barbara
    March 12, 2015

    Thanks for your reply, Andrew. Not sure if you understood that I was enquiring specifically about ‘work in progress’ images taken of a piece that is eventually used in the Studio Collection… (not images of the completed piece, but progress shots) If these particular ‘work in progress’ images cannot be used because the piece ultimately gets selected for studio, it means that some of the PROCESS SCREENS cannot be composed until very late and only after the studio work and been curated and selected… Thanks.

    • Andrew Vaughan
      April 17, 2015

      Hi Barbara,
      I’m not exactly sure what the issue is here.

      You asked if ‘work in progress’ images could be included in the Process Portfolio, and I said yes they can.

      But now you write “If these particular ‘work in progress’ images cannot be used…”.

      Please could you explain why you think that work in progress images cannot be used?

      I’ve already said that they can be used.
      I don’t know how to say it more clearly.
      Images showing work in progress can be used in the process portfolio.

      It makes sense to include images of process in the Process Portfolio.

      I’m somewhat puzzled by this correspondence!


  • Goutam
    August 16, 2015

    Dear Andrew,

    Thanks for all the continuous updates and your immense cooperation.

    A very basic question please.
    What is the current requirement for Option A HL and SL both candidates in terms of the quantity of the studio works submission (total completion of the projects along with the IWB)for the batch of May 2016.

    I mean previously it used to be clearly stated in the Assessment details page of the guide under the header QUANTITY OF WORK…like HL: Selection of 12-18 and SL: 8-12 pieces as it was needed to be referred in CRB.

    In the current guide such information is not there. It is only mentioning about the exhibition requirements. I request for a clear clarification about the number of works required to be finished at the end of the 2nd year for both HL and SL and how are to be exhibited please.

    Appreciate your great cooperation once again.


  • Kimberley
    September 16, 2015

    Dear Andrew,
    Thank you for these very informative and thoughtful answers. In terms of “the Exhibition SL requirement is 4 – 7 artworks and HL is 8 – 11 artworks”, what should students do if an artwork is comprised of multiples-for example a tryptic or a sculpture that includes multiple objects that are physically separate but relate. Do these count as 1 artwork?
    Thank you, again,

    • Andrew Vaughan
      September 21, 2015

      Dear Kimberley,
      It’s up to the student. If parts/components of a larger, whole artwork are submitted individually they obviously take up more ‘slots’, but that is not necessarily a problem.

      In this case the component should be stated as part of the title, presented in parentheses.
      For example: Title of the piece (diptych).

      There is also the option of submitting one or two additional photographs in support of each submitted artwork, so in this case the individual panels of a diptych could be uploaded as details, with the ‘whole’ diptych being uploaded as the main submission.

      I hope this helps,



  • bk dey
    October 10, 2016

    Hi i need to see a sample copy or completely filled up sample
    The Visual Arts Planning & Progress Form (6/VAPPF) if you have on occ let me know link .

    Thanks & regards,

  • Sophie
    April 3, 2018

    Hi Andrew,
    I am a little confused as I was under the impression that as long as the students stated clearly that the work was ‘Resolved’ they could include the pieces that were shown in the exhibition. I have told my students this and just want to clarify before I tell them all that this is not acceptable after all! I thought that ‘double dipping’ was no longer an issue. It just seems to make sense at times to show the final, finished piece that the portfolio work has been leading up to even if it is actually exhibited. I would really appreciate clarification on this one!

    • Andrew Vaughan
      April 3, 2018

      Hi Sophie,
      Please always check the date of the blog post!
      The post you are commenting on was written in November 2014 and when posted was correct. I am careful to ensure that my blogs are accurate when written! The senior assessment team decided to adjust the rule after discussions in 2015/2016.

      If you check out my blog “CH-CH-CH-CHANGES (to the Visual Arts Guide)” from May 2017 you will find the statement “But two years on, things have changed: the use of final images of work from the exhibition is now permitted providing it is identified as such with an appropriate annotation or label. “Students should declare when an image in the final version of the work is also used in part 3: exhibition assessment task”. PAGE 46 of the 2017 version of the visual arts guide”.

      I hope this helps.

      • Sophie
        April 8, 2018

        Thanks so much Andrew, yes, very helpful indeed and from now on I will be checking the blog dates carefully! 🙂

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