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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.

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TAGS

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

CONTRIBUTOR

Simon Perkins
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