This paper examines the connections between the training models of late 19th century Schools of Design (Art) as exemplified by the first municipal School of Art (Margaret Street Birmingham) and the current preparation of specialist teachers in art and design. A recurrent theme is the paradox of measurable standards, pitted against notions of independent learning, individual learning, individual relevance and choice. Consistent with other Papers from this author, the thrust of the perspective is questioning the compatibility of an examination-dominated agenda and opportunities for experimentation, creative risk, talking and forms of purposeful play. Continuing research explores the concept and purpose of drawing in an increasingly technological, global information society.
Historically, 'drawing' is regarded as profoundly important as it represents the basis of visual thinking and understanding. Conversely, those believing that its significance may have been lost in a postmodernist visual culture have questioned the process of drawing as the foundation, for the study of art and design at all levels of education.
This polemic is about definitions and ideas about the function of drawing, its purpose and to what extent it contributes to the' building blocks of knowledge'. Considering its antecedence in education, this particular School of Art offers an interesting case study and archival evidence of the subject's heritage and the centrality of drawing in the curriculum.
Dictionary definitions while often insufficient, serve to remind us of 'line' in the appreciation of broader definitions.
⦁ Drawing n. (esp.) Art of representing by line; delineation by means of a pen or pencil or other pointed instrument, esp. with little or no use of colour; product of this, sketch;
(Source - Oxford Dictionary)
⦁ Drawing a figure, plan, or sketch by using lines (Source - English Dictionary, Geddes and Grosset 1996)
The educational purpose of drawing is well documented in the literature with much supporting Ruskin's view of understanding and representing the natural world.