11 Course Leaders: 20 Questions

For instance, the split in teaching models, between the conceptual-led versus the material-led, can be thought of as a criteria to differentiate art schools. However, in actual fact, most schools do not define themselves so rigidly. When asked about the common stereotype towards the Slade School of Fine Art as the ‘materials-led’ school, the Slade’s then director, Professor John Aiken, refused to identify the school as such, denying any opposition to the conceptual-led model. He referred to alumni, well recognised in the contemporary art world in recent years such as Angela de la Cruz and Tacita Dean, claiming that they both exhibit a highly discursive practice whilst still maintaining incredibly good ‘craft-based’ skills. Aiken does not believe the word ‘skill’ to be the most appropriate word to negotiate definitions of art school, however, he thinks that material culture is strong at the Slade, and the debate surrounding ‘skilling and de-skilling’ is very active in the school.

例如,在純藝專業中,以觀念為創作起點或是以材料為中心曾是一個能區分學校特色的指標。然而,在當今藝術教育中,大部分的學校已經不會再用這樣死板的二分法來定義自己。當被問及如何看待斯萊德美術學院(Slade School of Fine Art)常被看作是‘以材料為創作起點’的學校時,斯萊德的課程主任約翰·艾肯(John Aiken)教授不同意這種簡單的兩兩相對的比較。他舉出學校的知名校友,同時又是近幾年活躍在當代藝術界的藝術家馬丁·克裏德(Martin Creed)和塔其塔·迪恩(Tacita Dean)為例,他們二人均以觀念藝術創作見長,但同時都具有紮實的技巧功底。艾肯教授並不認為‘技巧’是用來衡量藝術教育優劣的最佳詞匯。但同時他也同意對材料的深度鉆研在斯萊德學院是很常見的,而學校裡關於‘技巧’和‘去技巧’的討論也相當的普遍。

This model of ‘first skill, then de-skill’ was too often used on students who came from a non-Western educational background. Aiken gives the example of students from the Far East who, in their undergraduate education at home, experienced a heavy emphasis on learning traditional skills. When they arrived in the UK for their Masters degree, they found the different approach to teaching contemporary art practice very challenging.


This rather outdated East/West split may also have a parallel in to the divided pedagogical pathways of Painting, Sculpture, Photography and New Medias. A more traditional art school in a non-Western region is likely to be organised around such pathways, an approach many art colleges in the West have abandoned, replacing it with a broad-based BA Fine Art course.


However, not every art school agrees with the division-less educational model. Wimbledon College of Arts, part of the University of Arts London, still offers subject-specific Fine Art provision. As Dereck Harris, Wimbledon’s BA Fine Art courses leader comments, Wimbledon, as a small and originally independent art college, maintains a friendly and supportive atmosphere, and this works well with subject-specific learning. Wimbledon offers three divisions: Painting, Sculpture and Print & Time-Based Media. Harris discussed how broad-based art courses often promote a ‘prior-conceptualisation’ of art practice, in which the discussion of ideas usually precedes the making process itself. Again this is a question which activates the debate surrounding skill/de-skill and process/concept.

儘管如此,也並不是每所倫敦院校都不再分專業方向。倫敦藝術大學溫布爾登藝術學院(Wimbledon College of Arts),仍然堅持著按方向區分的本科純藝學位。溫布爾登學院的藝術課程主任德雷克·哈裡斯(Dereck Harris)談到,作為一個規模相對較小、同時具有悠久獨立歷史的藝術學校,溫布爾登保留了一個友好而互助的學習氛圍,而這種氛圍對專業分化的設置很重要。溫布爾登學院的本科純藝專業有三個方向:繪畫,雕塑,多媒體。而哈裡斯認為單一而不分方向的專業設置通常會偏向於以觀念為中心的創作模式,而在此之中,對於觀念的辯論往往超越了創作過程本身。而這也是一個有關於‘技巧/去技巧’,‘過程/觀念’的藝術教育大討論。

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