K-12 Arts Pedagogies and Technology Use Transitioning into Higher Education: I Want to Be a 21st Century Artist or Designer

K-12 Arts Pedagogies and Technology Use Transitioning into Higher Education: I Want to Be a 21st Century Artist or Designer

Megan J. McPherson (Monash University, Australia)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-8271-9.ch014
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Abstract

Art and design students' transitions in the university studio and their careers are now a significant issue in higher education. There is a more explicit articulation of the graduate capabilities that students now need to cultivate to become artist and designers. The author focuses on the transition into the university setting and the pedagogic relationship with the graduate capabilities of artists and designers and their portfolio careers as a way to contextualize art pedagogies and technology use in K-12 education. The author argues that supporting students' expectations and aspirations in their desires to become artists and designers is relational to graduate capabilities and the notion of a portfolio career. The author concludes by suggesting that the use of arts education and technology have a pivotal role in helping students develop transitioning skills, graduate capabilities and portfolio careers.
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Introduction

After interviewing third year university studio art students for a study of the crit1 in the university studio I struck an assumption. I asked why the students had chosen to come to art school, who suggested that they go to art school and why they choose a particular specialization within the art school. I thought I was asking a simple opening question about where the students where coming from and how they got to art school. What I did not expect from these discussions was how important their high school art teachers were in this decision for many of these students. This relationship affected the choice of which art schools they applied to, what they presented in their folios for interview and their studio specialization choice in university. For some of the students I spoke to, being in the high school art studio was a context and a way of being ‘good’ at something, with a number of students saying art was the only subject they were good at. What I realized when I was asking this question was that this was identity work, brimming with affect and agency.

The proposition I am examining in this chapter is how arts pedagogies and the use of technology in K-12 education can support students choosing and transitioning into the university art studio and then into a professional artist practice. To this I am concentrating on how three students in art school talk about how they transitioned into art school and what their aspirations were in their future practice as artists. To contextualize art pedagogies and technology use in K-12 education, from the perspective of the higher education studio, I focus on the transition into the university studio and the pedagogic relationships in the studio to attend to the notion of becoming an artist. The inclusion of graduate capabilities is a way to articulate expectations and assumptions of what artists do and the conceptualization of portfolio careers. A portfolio career is where a person self manages their career, encompass periods of working freelance, for an employer and in their own businesses. It may include working in industries inside and outside of their university course.

This chapter is a problemization of how we prepare students to transition into the university studio and then into professional practice. Understanding the next step in the preparation of becoming an artist, the transitioning into art school and entering the career of being an artist could inform how K-12 arts education prepares students for an artists career. How do students imagine what an artist career is like without acknowledging the ‘business’ of being an artist that may have little to do with the creative capabilities of being artistic? This allows a space to consider how K-12 arts education curriculums and the use of technology affords imaginations and conceptions of becoming an artist in the contemporary art world where sustaining an artistic career may have to do capacities other than making creative artworks.

There is developing understandings of what are the graduate attributes are of artists and the capabilities that support an artist’s career (Holmes, 2010; Bridgstock, 2013). Artists have multiple ways of becoming and being an artist. Illuminated is how we can think through the notions of agency and affect in the university studio and how this can be developed in K-12 arts education and the use of technology. This discussion is informed by contemporary research about what is to be an artist, how artists conduct their careers and how artists develop and maintain their identities as artists (Bain, 2004; Bridgstock, 2009, 2013; Murray, 2014). It is informed by recent studies of creative industry graduates (including visual artists) responding to questions about what capabilities they need to operate as professionals (Bridgstock, 2009, 2013; Murray, 2014; Throsby & Zednik, 2010; Ball, Pollard & Stanley, 2010). This professional career is not just about the creative output of artists, the work they show in galleries and exhibitions, nor is it about “talent, creativity, achievement and potential” (McManus, 2010, pp. 48), some of the characteristics that art lecturers say they are looking for when the interview students for their courses.

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