“Raising awareness of world issues” – The pitfalls (Concepts and Exhibition)

Conceptually speaking, the trouble with 'raising awareness' of world issues in your visual arts exhibition is that in most cases, awareness has already been raised, and examiners will probably have seen your video of ice melting - or a person swimming with plastic bottles, or a collage made of rubbish, or a Photoshopped photo of chimneys belching smoke, or cars polluting with their exhaust fumes, or oil pouring into the ocean etc - many times before. Conceptual qualities mean you ...

Two issues with curatorial rationales

As an IA (Exhibition) moderator I very often read a) eloquent and frequently passionate curatorial rationales that do not achieve the mark that perhaps the student expected, and  b) rationales that are not eloquent, but instead tend to be convoluted, frustrating and impenetrable. Here are some tips in relation to these two issues that you might want to pass on to your students when they go about writing their curatorial rationales: a) rationales that do not achieve the mark that perhaps the student expected This is about assessment: ...

Process Portfolio (PP) Questions

8 PP questions from new teachers Here are some Process Portfolio questions I have been asked in recent visual arts workshops. I’m posting them here on the visual arts blog because I suspect that some teachers may also be wondering about some of the issues raised. I have a doubt and want to know if the single art teacher for Visual Arts must be perfect in all the skills mentioned in the art-making forms table. I am not technology savvy ...

The Visual Arts Upload Reminders/Advice

If you are teaching Grade 12/Year 2 Visual Arts students, by now you should be making final preparations for the upload to IBIS. The deadlines (next month) are listed below with details of what you need to upload. This information is available of course on My IB but here is a brief overview… These are the final deadlines. I encourage you NOT to wait until the deadline! Have all your visual arts upload files ready and start the upload process for each component at ...

“No sevens ever seem to be awarded? Even sixes are rare…”

In my last workshop, a teacher commented “One particular post on My IB raised an issue that has been on my mind a lot lately, the question of how to coach my students to get a seven - or near as possible to it – when no sevens ever seem to be awarded? Even sixes are rare, it seems.”  Another teacher replied "…no sevens ever seem to be awarded? Even sixes are rare - Okay, this is my first year doing the ...

Blast from the Past

Thirty Years Ago In December I thought I’d dig a little into some IBDP visual arts memories and look at the course as it was 30 years ago, when I was a young and eager art teacher (not so young now but still eager!). I confess I have a slight tendency to hoard, and up in the loft there are many boxes of ‘old stuff’. Some of it dates from the 1980s – a period when computers were primitive by today’s standards ...

Nudes vs. Prudes

Discussions, and what is 'acceptable' I recently had a conversation that reminded me that even in my school, which I considered to be fairly enlightened and progressive, there are corners of old-fashioned, conservative and conformist thought. The discussion was about our regular figure drawing workshops for DP visual arts students, and it clearly made this person uncomfortable. Of course, if my school was located in a more conservative culture, this attitude would be predictable and understandable. But my school is located just outside ...

What Price Freedom of Expression?

It would be stretching things to call me a rebel, or subversive, or even a dissident, but I have recently had my words censored! Well, OK, maybe not 'my' words exactly, but the words of a student in two pages of a book I co-authored together with S. Poppy and J. Paterson, The Visual Arts Course Companion (Oxford University Press, 2017). What happened? Large sections of two pages were obscured by what looks like brown paper, because the Chinese authorities clearly took exception ...

New Art Teacher? 5 Visual Arts Starting Points!

5 visual arts starting points It's September and in art rooms all over the world DP visual arts teachers are starting to teach this two year course. I recently received an email from an old friend who is now Associate Head of School at an IB school in North America. He wrote: 'We have an extremely talented art teacher who was new to the IB last year and, understandably, had some moderation issues.  She needs some guidance and I immediately thought of ...

PP Reminders: Pictures and Process

Two PP points! 1. Show me pictures (“visual evidence”) There must be visual as well as written/text documentation of process. It should be obvious - but of course just writing comments and explanations is not enough: is there visual evidence of what has been happening? Don’t just write about it; you must also show what has been considered, explored, etc. (Just saying that you did something is easy and lazy and open to question: how does the examiner know that you actually did ...