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22 OCTOBER 2013

Nottingham Trent University: celebrating 170 years of art and design

"Our creative journey first began 170 years ago in 1843, with the opening of the Nottingham Government School of Design in the city. Driven by a growing need for design skills in regional industries, most predominantly in textiles and lace, 20 years of rapid evolution in art and design education followed."

(Nottingham Trent University)



170th anniversary • 1843 • 186319th century2014applied artsapplied craft and designart and designart and design educationart schoolscelebrationdesign educationdesign schoolsdesign studio educationGovernment School of Designindustrial artsJon Burgermanlacelace manufacturinglace-making • life drawing • NottinghamNottingham city • Nottingham Government School of Design • Nottingham Trent UniversityNTUpurpose-builttechnical collegeUKvocational training • Waverley building


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
29 OCTOBER 2010

Education as a platform: A data-driven architecture could disrupt the school system and improve it the more students use it

"One possible criterion for education as a platform is whether the underlying services can be mashed up to serve different sets of goals. As Clayton Christensen, Curtis Johnson, and Michael Horn outline in 'Disrupting Class,' our educational system was originally created to prepare the elite to rule, then to prepare all people (or at least white men) for informed citizenship, then to provide all students with an equal opportunity to prepare for college or careers, and now to prepare every child for higher education. These changing goals have strained the current school architecture to the point where any number of responsibilities that schools have traditionally considered important, such as vocational training and the arts, are now being dropped in favor of 'the basics'. There are many who argue credibly that the goals of school ought to go beyond the basics to include modern work–force preparation (learning how to learn, collaborate, invent, communicate, etc.) and global citizenship.

By this criterion, the inability of our education system to accommodate these multiple and shifting goals suggests that it does not have the architecture of a platform (at least not a well–designed one). 'Disrupting Class' suggests that, much as the web disrupted many traditional business models, technology in the form of online learning will disrupt school. The argument is that computer–aided education and online learning will be welcomed into schools as a low–cost way to provide services they otherwise couldn't afford. These new offerings may be paid for by parents or schools and may give students school credit. Although the technologies will initially be very poor substitutes for classroom teaching, they will be much better than nothing and the schools will welcome them as they lose the resources to provide these services for students in traditional ways. Over time the technologies will continue to improve until they revolutionize what teaching and learning look like."

(Marie Bjerede, 28 September 2010, O'Reilly Radar)


2010citizenshipclassroomClayton Christensencollaborative learning • computer-aided education • Curtis Johnson • disrupting class • edu 2.0 • edu2tech • education • education as a platform • education reform • global citizenship • learning and teaching • learning how to learn • lifelong learning • Marie Bjerede • mash-up • Michael Horn • online learningpedagogysocial constructionismteachingtechnology • the basics • transformationvocational training


Simon Perkins
18 MARCH 2010

Major report warns of gaping skills gaps in Creative Media Industries

"Major research launched today by Skillset reveals gaping skills gaps and shortages in the rapidly changing media landscape.

It is predicted that the Creative Industries will grow at twice the rate of the rest of the economy – and creative media is pivotal to this [1]. But Skillset's Strategic Skills Assessment for the Creative Media Industries in the UK warns we must have the right people in place to make this reality.

One in two companies in the Creative Media Industries report skills gaps as we move out of Recession and look to the future, it reveals [2].

The first ever National Strategic Skills Audit, also released today by the UK Commission for Employment and Skills (UKCES), draws on Skillset's in–depth research. The UKCES audit was commissioned by the Government to provide vital intelligence to understand current and future skill needs for the economy.

Skillset's report says there is an 'oversupply' in many general creative media roles, but serious skills shortages in areas like digital technology and multiplatform capability, broadcast engineering, business and commercial know–how, visual effects and craft–orientated jobs."

(Skillset, 17 March 2010)


2. Skillset (2009) From Recession to Recovery. Based on a sample of 262 employers.



2010 • broadcast engineering • craft skillscreative economycreative industriescreative mediacreative media industriesCreative Skillsetdigital technologyemploymententerpriseknowledge-based economymediamultiplatformNational Endowment for Science Technology and the Arts • National Strategic Skills Audit • NESTAold mediaprofessionalismskillsskills gapskills shortagetechnologyUK • UK Commission for Employment and Skills • UKCES • visual effectsvocational training


Simon Perkins
20 NOVEMBER 2007

The Seven Liberal Arts: The Trivium & The Quadrivium

"Originally the liberal arts were seven in number. They were divided into the three–fold Trivium of Grammar, Logic, and Rhetoric, and the four–fold Quadrivium of Arithmetic, Geometry, Music, and Astronomy. These words mean, respectively, a three–way and a four–way crossroads, implying that these paths of knowledge are fundamentally interconnected –– and, by extension, that all other paths can be found to intersect here, as well. The T[rivium]. was the basis of elementary education (whence we probably get the word 'trivial'): Grammar taught the craft of reading and writing; Logic, of careful reasoning; and Rhetoric, of effective communication. The Q[uadrivium]. was the basis of advanced education: Arithmetic taught the science of number; Geometry, of form; Music, of sound (and of 'harmony' in the most general sense of the word –– 'number in motion', as it was often put); Astronomy, of time (of 'form in motion'). Moreover, from the very beginning, whether openly acknowledged or carefully alluded to, each of the Quadrivial sciences was accompanied by its complementary metaphysical art. Each dealt not only with the outer structures, but also with the inner meanings of its discipline. Thus, Arithmetic included Arithmology, the understanding that numbers were not merely quantities, but also qualities (that 'two', for instance, is also 'duality, polarity'); Geometry included what is nowadays called Geomancy, the understanding (in, for example, the design of temples or cathedrals, or in the graphic arts) that the spirit and the emotions can be affected in particular ways by particular forms; Astronomy included Astrology, the divination of the meanings of cycles of time; and Music included not only the study of 'practical theory', of nomenclature and technique (e.g. 'this is a minor third', 'this is the Mixolydian mode'), but also the study of 'speculative theory', of the meanings and influences of tones and intervals and scales.

Traditionally the seven liberal arts have been positioned in opposition to the 'servile arts'. In this sense while the liberal arts generally refer to knowledge 'appropriate for free men' (social and political elites) the servile arts have been associated with specialised tradesman skills and knowledge e.g. engineering and design."
(Steven C. Rasmussen 28 March 1996)




arithmeticastronomycathedralcraftcurriculumcycledesigneducationeducational modelemploymentengineeringEuropeangeometrygrammar • high middle ages • interconnectedliberal arts • liberalis arts • logic • medieval university • musicpremodernprofessionalismQuadriviumqualityrhetoric • scholastic guild • scienceservile arts • seven liberal arts • skills • studia generalia • studium • trade • tradesmanship • Trivium • universitas magistrorum • universitas magistrorum et scholarium • universitas scholarium • universityvocationvocational training

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