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The paradox of ‘teaching’ transformation in fine art studio practice: Assessment in the South African context

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Underpinned by an awareness that education systems inherently maintain the status quo, this article explores a paradox at the heart of fine art studio teaching, learning and assessment in the postcolonial context of South Africa. The content of most current curricula evidences a concern with power, and the politics and problematics of representation. As such, encouragement of student engagement around and negotiation of notions of transformation, critical dialogue and identity is espoused. However, in the article it is argued that current approaches to assessment often unquestioningly replicate inherited systems, and in so doing, unwittingly reproduce systems of cultural capital that may be non-transformatory and non-pluralistic. Thus, because of the way assessment is practiced, that which is taught may be radically different from that which is experienced and thereby learnt in the studio.
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Keywords: assessment; fine art; higher education; postcolonial; reproduction; transformation

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Rhodes University, South Africa

Publication date: October 1, 2014

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  • The International Journal of Education through Art is an English language journal that promotes relationships between art and education. The term 'art education' should be taken to include art, craft and design education. Each issue, published three times a year within a single volume, consists of peer-reviewed articles mainly in the form of research reports and critical essays, but may also include exhibition reviews and image-text features.

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