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Which clippings match 'Polytechnic' keyword pg.1 of 2
31 JULY 2013

Was Ways of Seeing the first pre-digital book?

"Everyone is talking about the way in which digital media is destabilizing print. I thought it was interesting to choose the reverse scenario: something that started digital but found its real audience in print. Ways of Seeing started as a four–part television series on the BBC in England conceived of and written by art critic John Berger. Berger was reacting specifically to the traditional connoisseurship of Kenneth Clark in the Civilisation series, another famous television program, which inscribed the canonical march of Western culture in heroic terms. As a critique of Clark, Berger created a popular reading of the icons of western art not as aesthetic objects, but deeply cultural artifacts that reveal, upon close 'reading', the limitation, prejudice, bias, and obsession of the culture from which they sprang.

This form of cultural criticism was established in the Universities, especially Marxist leaning polytechnics, but had never before had such a popular airing. The idea that classic paintings could be decoded to reveal social facts–and in fact Berger compared them to modern advertising–was heretical and his work was met with incredulity and anger in the hallowed halls of University Art History departments around the country, But Berger's position, especially his proto–feminist critique of female nudes, would grow to become the dominant form of art criticism in the years ahead.

The television program had moderate success but shortly after it aired Berger joined with producer Mike Dibb and graphic designer Richard Hollis to produce a printed version of the televised series. Clark had also produced a book to accompany Civilisation: a huge, lavish, full–color coffee table monster that must have weighted 10 kilos. In contrast Berger, Dibb and Hollis produced a slim paperback, 127 x 203mm, of only 166 pages. Even more radical, the book was produced in black + white, reducing the famous art to mere notations on standard, uncoated paper of a trade book. It was published by the BBC Books under the Pelican Books imprint, a division of the venerable Penguin Press organized to publish books to educate rather than entertain the reading public.

Even more striking was the book's design. Hollis starts the text of the first essay on the cover: 'Seeing comes before words. The child looks and recognizes before it can speak.' This simple typographic trick gives the book both a certain modesty (saves on pages) and an urgency (no time to waste). Starting on the outside also suggests a digital quality, the content is broadcast to the reader even as they pass the shelf.

The interior is equally unusual. Hollis set the entire book in a bold sans serif font, a very unlikely choice and aggressively un–civilized. There is no nod to classicism, the book is an entirely modern form. The text is broken down into short bursts, usually no more than a paragraph coupled with a visual example. Again reflecting its origin as a televisual experience the text and images work simultaneously, one form leveraging the other. There are five such text–and–image essays on everything from renaissance nudes to modern advertising. But Berger also adds for entirely visual essays. He assembles a series of examples that by the power of his selection and through their aggressive juxtaposition, he makes his thesis without any words at all. In so doing he presages the development of the curated playlist as a predominant contemporary form and creates the first pre–digital book."

(Michael Rock, 2011, 2x4)



2011 • 2x4 • aesthetic objectsart criticismart history • BBC Books • BBC Twoblack and white • canonical march • Civilisation (series) • contemporary form • cultural artefactscultural criticism • curated playlist • destabilising force • digital media • digital quality • educate rather than entertain • end of print • famous art • female nudes • heroic terms • John Bergerjuxtaposition • Kenneth Clark • Michael Rock • Mike Dibb • modern advertising • modern form • modestypaperback • Pelican Books • Penguin Random Housepolytechnic • pre-digital book • print and digitalprinted version • proto-feminist critique • renaissance nudes • Richard Hollis • sans-serif typeface • seeing comes before words • short formsocial factstelevision programmetelevision seriestelevisual experiencetext and image • trade book • typographic trick • uncoated paper • urgency • visual culturevisual essayWays of Seeingwestern artWestern culture


Simon Perkins
31 DECEMBER 2012

Privileging the collective: the tradition of the atelier method in art and design education

"Art and design education has broadly settled on two categories of pedagogical frameworks, both evolutions from historical precedents. The first of these categories is driven by the spirit of the 'design collective', and comprises the art school studio or atelier model. This was established by the private Florentine art schools of the renaissance from around the 15th Century (King, 2003), always with a focus on making as well as learning from the group – from both peers and Masters. Later, this model of learning through practice carried over to the art schools of England: in his 1858 inaugural address for the Cambridge School of Art, John Ruskin (Ruskin, 1858) spoke about the relative futility of formal teaching per se and instead the pressing need for students to learn by repeated and applied making. For applied craft and design, this studio approach was the method under the influential Bauhaus School (1919–1933) in Germany (Droste, 2005). The second category derives from the teaching of industrial arts and is typically driven by the far greater student volume processing needs of the institution. This category comprises the 'hot desking' or increasingly the 'no–desking' model, with large taught classes in lecture format, and occasional group tutorials. Such a model is often the norm for universities' academic courses. The model spread to the creative courses that were more typically offered by polytechnics in the UK. The first polytechnic dates back to the early nineteenth century (Fox, 1832–1854), although most were established in the 1960's with a remit of applied education in industry and science for work. In many countries, the term 'technical college' is the same as a polytechnic – in both the UK and Australia, many of these colleges converted into universities in the last 30 years."

(Ashley Hall and Tom Barker, 2010)

Hall, A. and T. Barker (2010). "Design collectives in education: evaluating the atelier format and the use of teaching narrative for collective cultural and creative learning, and the subsequent impact on professional practice". In Alternative Practices in Design: Past Present and Future. H. Edquist and L. Vaughan. Melbourne, Victoria, RMIT University: Design Research Institute.



2010academic coursesapplied craft and designapprenticeshipart and design educationart schools • artists studio • atelier methodatelier modelbaseroomBauhaus School • Cambridge School of Art • craft and designcraft skills • creative courses • creativity skillsdesign and makingdesign collectivedesign educationdesign studio educationdistance learningEuropean RenaissanceFlorence • Florentine art schools • formal teaching • group tutorials • Guild system • hot desking • industrial artsindustrial design • industrial practices • John Makepeace • John Ruskinlearning model • learning through making • learning through practicelecture formatlecturers • no-desking • Oxfordshire • Parnham • pedagogical modelpolytechnicremote learning • Rycote Wood • self-learning • studiostudio approachstudio practice • taught classes • technical collegetutorialsUKvocational trainingWilliam Morris • working environment • workspace


Simon Perkins
07 AUGUST 2012

Creative Tools: a handbook of 15 methods for design practice

"Creative Tools was co–authored by Alex Fung, Alice Lo and Mamata N. Rao based on their teaching and students' learning experiences in the Design Thinking subject. Foreword by Dr. Edward de Bono, this handbook is a comprehensive guide to 15 creative tools that help develop students' creative thinking, not only for design by other disciplines. Each tool has an introduction followed by a demonstration of its use with reflection."

(香港理工大學/Hong Kong Polytechnic University)

Alex Fung, Alice Lo, Mamata N. Rao (2005). "Creative Tools", School of Design, Hong Kong Polytechnic University.



2005 • Alex Fung • Alice Lo • art and designcreative problem solvingcreative thinkingcreative tools • Creative Tools (book) • creativitydesign methoddesign methodsdesign pedagogydesign principlesdesign processdesign studentdesign thinkingEdward de Bonohandbook • HK PolyU School of Design • Hong KongHong Kong Polytechnic Universityhow designers think • Mamata Rao • methods for design practicepolytechnic • PolyU • problem-solving • School of Design (PolyU) • student learning experiences • teaching • tools for creative thinking


Simon Perkins
15 MAY 2009

The Australian Technology Network (new universities, Post-1992 universities, land-grant colleges)

"The Australian Technology Network (ATN) comprises Curtin University of Technology, University of South Australia, RMIT University, University of Technology, Sydney and Queensland University of Technology. All were established as universities between 1987 and 1992. This group of universities has a common technology heritage, a common research focus on solving real world problems (73 per cent of all research income sourced from industry), and a willingness to learn from each other at all levels. The members of the group have worked together for more than 20 years."
(Department of Education, Science and Training, Commonwealth of Australia)

[The Australian Technology Network Universities in Australia are equivalent to the new universities (mainly ex–polytechnics and technical colleges) in Aotearoa/New Zealand, Hong Kong and Singapore, and Post–1992 or 'Plate Glass' universities in the United Kingdom and land–grant colleges in North America.]



19871992Aotearoa New Zealand • ATN • Australia • Australian Technology Network • Curtin University of Technology • Hong Kong • institute of technology • land-grant colleges • new universitiesnew universitypolytechnic • post-1992 • Post-1992 universities • Queensland University of TechnologyQUTRMITRMIT Universitysandstone universitiesSingaporetechnical collegetechnologyUK • UniSA • university • University of South Australia • University of Technology Sydney • UTS


Simon Perkins

Types of research in the creative arts and design

"scholarly research – creates and sustains the intellectual infrastructure within which pure, developmental and applied research can be conducted. it aims to map the fields in which issues, problems, or questions are located (what is known or understood in the general area of the proposed research already, and how addressing or answering the issues, problems or questions specified will enhance the generally–available knowledge, and, understanding of the area in question). it documents/compiles the knowledge, resources, methods, tools and models evolved through pure, developmental and applied research along with the subsequent results. pure research – asks fundamental questions in the field and explores hypotheses experimentally. it searches for pure knowledge that may uncover issues, theories, laws or metaphors that may help explain why things operate as they do, why they are as they are, or, why they appear to look the ways they do. it generates significant new facts, general theories or reflective models where immediate practical application or long–term economic, social or cultural benefits are not a direct objective. the results may be unexpected and yield original theories, discoveries or models that are unrelated to the disciplines in which the research has been conducted – they may be applied in another research context. developmental research – serves two purposes (a) it identifies the limitations of existing knowledge as evolved through pure research by creating alternative models, experiences and/or thought–systems so to generate useful metaphors for organising insight and expanding/reframing the base of existing knowledge (b) it harnesses, tests and reworks existing knowledge so to evolve special methods, tools and resources in preparation for the solving of specific problems, in specific contexts, through applied research. applied research – involves a process of systematic investigation within a specific context in order to solve an identified problem in that context. it aims to create new or improved systems (of thought or production), artefacts, products, processes, materials, devices, or services for long–term economic, social and/or cultural benefit. it is informed by the intellectual infrastructure of scholarly research in the field; it applies and/or transfers enhanced knowledge, methods, tools and resources from pure and developmental research; it also contributes to scholarship in the field through systematic dissemination of the results. the outcomes cannot usually be directly applied to other contexts because of the specificity of the situation in which the research has been applied although the methods/tools evolved are often transferable."
(Bruce Brown, Paul Gough, Jim Roddis, March 2004)

1). Brown, B., Gough, P. and Roddis, J. (2004) Types of Research in the Creative Arts and Design [online]. Bristol, UK: E–Papers, University of Brighton.


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