An exploration into value in relation to the subject and teachers of art and design in secondary education in England

PhD Thesis

Sutton, E. 2021. An exploration into value in relation to the subject and teachers of art and design in secondary education in England. PhD Thesis Canterbury Christ Church University School of Teacher education
AuthorsSutton, E.
TypePhD Thesis
Qualification nameDoctor of Philosophy

This dissertation aims to capture a picture of the current value of the visual arts within education, largely through the eyes of those who teach it, with a particular focus on Secondary schools in Thanet, Kent, England, between the years of 2014 – 2018.

A qualitative methodology has been used to inform findings, using autoethnographic and feminist approaches, involving a focus group, semi – structured interviews held with art teachers, case studies and an art exhibition held in a public gallery developed through a collaborative photo-voice challenge undertaken by art teachers working in secondary education. The work of Irwin (2004) has largely influenced the choice to use a visual and written research journal, a/r/tographical and arts – based approaches.

Findings have emerged through thematic and semiotic analysis of artefacts, photographs and the key topics discussed through focus groups and interviews, alongside recognition of insights that emerge in the spaces between identities of artist, researcher and teacher. My original contribution to knowledge lies in the research design and methodology of this study, creating opportunities for art teachers working within schools in Kent to collaborate in exploring, reflecting upon and exposing key issues in their professional lives, during this period of time.

I argue that several factors contribute to issues of undervalue. These include misinterpretation and understanding of the subject art and design, alongside those who teach it, from those who heavily influence teaching and learning in secondary schools, the effects of policy and the struggles between a seemingly widely accepted bias towards scientific rationalist knowledge. This is made apparent through the narratives and experiences of art teachers and key themes,
such as communication and connectedness, expression, experimentation and play, pride, celebration, loneliness, isolation and frustration, which have emerged from analysis, findings and discussion.

KeywordsArt and design in secondary education; Thanet; England; Value
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Deposited22 Aug 2022
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