COHERENCE? (‘Here is your theme. Stick to it for the next two years’)

Reconsider the theme: is it always a bad idea? There are many things wrong with these two sentences, as uttered by a visual arts teacher to one of his students. First of all, you don’t need to have a ‘theme’. Second, if you – the student – want a theme, it should NOT be selected and ‘enforced’ by your teacher. I've been told that some teachers give their students a 'theme' that has to be followed for two years. If ...

Are You “Critical, Informed and Discerning”‘?

Great new art… Much new, contemporary and recent art is fantastic – intelligent, thought-provoking, sometimes perplexing and mysterious, frequently posing deep and/or unsettling questions. But of course, it’s not all fantastic. How could it be? Some of it is conceptually vacuous and says nothing new, or superficial, pretentious and takes itself a little too seriously. Not so great new art I don’t want to be sued by anyone, so I’m not mentioning names, but check out this and this – online reviews of two 2017 ...

Its All about RELATIONSHIPS (Thematic or Stylistic) in Your Visual Arts Exhibition

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away... I started teaching DP Visual Arts a little over thirty years ago, in Tanzania, in the 1980s (at ISM). At that time both the IB and ISM were relatively new – the IB started in 1968 and ISM started in 1969. I was entering a new stage in my life:  living in the foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro, going on regular safaris into the Serengeti, learning about a new school, a new country, new ...

Curious Curatorial Rationales

Curatorial issues As an examiner I've  read a lot of curatorial rationales over the last few weeks, and I wanted to share some rationale-related reflections. If you are a Visual Arts student in your first year (and in a May session school) then in around 9 months – or before – you will be writing one…  The words of the top HL Curatorial Rationale descriptor There are two strands – but many students hardly even address one. “…fully justifies the selection and arrangement of the ...

‘My work looks like a child did it compared to all the other students in my class with experience’

This month my post is a reply to a heartfelt comment written by a student. As you may know, its possible to leave comments after a blog post, and on 1st April a student made a comment in response to a post titled 'EXHIBITION ISSUES (part 3)' from August 2016. The comment did not refer directly to issues discussed in this particular blog (the ‘theme’, the curatorial rationale, optional supporting photographs etc.) but he was clearly venting! I have included the whole comment at ...

Everything you always wanted to know about the Visual Arts upload process…but were afraid to ask

Ibis Yes, its time! Gather your files/digital documentation of student work and go to IBIS! No, not the bird: I mean IBIS: the International Baccalaureate Information System (https://ibis.ibo.org/)   Collect your students' files, take a deep breath, stay calm, try not to get flustered or exasperated...its UPLOAD time! Here is your upload overview/guide to enlightenment, with instructions, reminders, advice, file information and dates and deadlines...what more could you want? *** Don't be confused when you see two dates (e.g. 20 April/20 October). April is for most 'May session' ...

Reminders for November session schools

If you are teaching in a “November session” school, October is a busy month! Here are some reminders: IBIS upload deadlines: 10 Oct         Predicted Grades and Internal Assessment marks 20 Oct            Internal Assessment (Exhibition) upload 30 Oct            Comparative Studies and Process Portfolio upload   Exhibition Reminders Students can use as many or as few processes/techniques as they like: there are no restrictions in the exhibition criteria for the range of media used. Students will not be penalised for only using ...

The Rationale (talking the talk vs walking the walk)

There is a DP Visual Arts Curriculum Review in progress at the moment, with a lot of art teachers voicing a lot of art teaching and art education concerns. Their voices are expressed through a lively and fascinating forum, with a lot of thoughts and opinions about art, art teaching, art issues, etc. A couple of recent posts relevant to examination experiences with the current course caught my eye. The authors of both posts are, like me, examiners of the Exhibition component.   1 My ...

“When NOT to…” (Visual Arts Exhibition No Nos)

By now I expect that many of you (students) are on holiday – so I’m pleased to see that you have spared a moment to check on the visual arts blog! If you have graduated I’m happy to see you and good luck on July 6th (RESULTS day!) If, on the other hand, you are in between the first and second year of the course, some of this blog may prove useful. I’m reflecting on more things seen during the last visual arts ...

WRITING FOR THE EXHIBITION

Hi students, if you are in a Northern Hemisphere school and in your final year as a DP visual arts student, the end is nigh. DP Arts deadlines are earlier than the deadlines for other DP subjects, and your teacher will probably ask for various files even before the ‘official’ deadlines so that he/she can check that all is OK. It’s probably a little stressful for you, but I know quite a few teachers who find this time of the year very ...