Artists' expectations were aligned with their disciplines

Some artists brought discipline specific knowledge to the fore in their projects. They were not simply concerned that students behave like professional adults, they expected students to become inculcated into a tradition of thinking, doing and being.

A story of disciplinary expectations

At Spencer Comprehensive, the framing of the creative arts practice was very strongly through the discipline of Fine Art.  Students worked autonomously, alongside their teachers and an artist in residence. The language used was about self-expression, form, technical and aesthetic problems. Some aspects of the pedagogy were like professionally framed sessions: the focus on individual skill development, for example, and on spending the time necessary to get the task done properly, rather than fitting the tasks to the allotted time. But the ‘rules of the game’ were laid down through modelling, the organisation of space and – more explicitly than in the case of the professional norms – through direct instruction in the lower years of the school. Within this disciplinary framing, and in contrast with the professionally oriented sessions, the traditions of fine art were a frequent point of reference as the students learned about and looked at work from different periods and different artistic movements.

Video materials

A selection of videos from our Vimeo channel on alignment with disciplinary expectations can be viewed below.