“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 ...

Photography (only?) in the Exhibition

Let’s be clear: unlike the Process Portfolio, there are no requirements that students explore a range of media/processes in the Exhibition. A successful exhibition could consist of, say, ten artworks that all explore the same technique, or ten artworks that explore ten different techniques/ processes, or anything in between. Its May so – as an IA moderator - I’m enjoying looking at student exhibitions from all over the world.  Its always an exciting and often inspirational glimpse into the minds, concerns, ...

Seven Questions about Starting to Teach the Course

In recent category 1 visual arts workshops I have been asked some great questions about our subject; for example, what to teach, how to balance the things we teach, how much time we should have to teach in, how to connect to other subjects, etc. Here are the questions with my answers. If you would like to attend an IB authorized teacher training professional development workshop, go here. There are 36 visual arts workshops between now and December. 1. “Do I teach about techniques ...

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 ...

Exploring the World Around You

The senior examining and assessment teams have been looking through examples of work submitted in the recent visual arts examination sessions (May and November 2017 and 2018) in order to find helpful samples for teachers. It has become clear that occasionally art teachers award marks for the exhibition component that do not really reflect the quality of the work submitted. When this happens, the marks are usually too generous, although in a few cases they are too harsh. Either way it’s not ...

From the Ridiculous to the Sublime: The Visual Elaboration of Ideas

The Ridiculous (or at least, misguided) As an exhibition moderator I sometimes encounter work that seems to be based on a misinterpretation of the visual arts course. Of course the work is not really ‘ridiculous’, but let’s say it might be a little misguided. For example, in one case a student submitted (as artworks in their exhibition) a single Lego brick, and Lego ‘Batman’ and ‘Superman’ figures. Source: Wikimedia Obviously, there is no technical competence involved here: the Lego belonged to the student’s ...

“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 ...

NUDITY, GOLDFISH AND ETHICS

Both my June 2017 blogs are in response to things encountered as a visual arts examiner/moderator. This one is aimed at teachers and to some extent is about ethics and the limits of art submitted for assessment. The other one - YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS… - is for students and relates to assessment and the differences in perception from the perspective of a teacher and that of a moderator, but the audience for each could be reversed. (Feel free to read both!) Anyway, ...

Wednesday 10th April 2013

Apologies all for the gap since my last blog – about 3 months have elapsed. During that time we saw Christmas come and go, then hello to 2013, then my birthday, and now it’s February and I’m starting to alternately berate, persuade, nag and enthuse my final year visual arts  students about all the exciting events in March. What fun we’ll have! Actually we’ll have until April 10th, although as my school has its Easter holiday from 23rd March to 7th April, we ...

My Final feedback from the Internal assessment moderation process

Almost finished. I have 15 students left which could mean anything from 30 to 9o separate experiments to read through (my present school I am working on has 6 students and 36 separate assignments). My last school had 8 students and sixteen experiments as each student designed two complete experiments. I have found the whole experience invaluable. It has shown me what other schools do and really brought home to me what to look for in each criteria that I mark. ...