From Foundation to Future Artists

However, such a generalist foundation course model seems to have been abandoned as the foundation course has been become more and more subject specific over the years. Art institutes have started expecting and demanding that their applicants have an increasing amount of knowledge that is specifically related to the art practice they aim to pursue in the future. Therefore foundation courses nowadays have gradually become ‘subject-specific preparation courses’. The following possibilities might be identical to the formation of the contemporary foundation course:

• Fine art: drawing, painting, photography, printmaking, sculpture, textiles.
• Visual communications: advertising, animation, film and TV, forensic photography, graphics, and illustration.
• Design: ceramic, fashion, furniture, glass, interior, jewellery, knitwear, costume, theatre.


• 藝術:素描、油畫、攝影、版畫、雕塑、紡織
• 視覺傳播:廣告、動畫、電影電視、法醫攝影、圖像設計、插畫
• 設計:陶藝、服裝、傢俱、玻璃、室內、珠寶、針織、戲裝、銀器、戲劇


Education critics and workers believe that the foundation course system is a great way to help art students develop their future interests before making a final decision on their major. Moreover, foundation courses are not only subject to art and design but other disciplines as well. According to a report from the Guardian newspaper in 2012, UCAS lists 2,922 different foundation courses in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Though art and design are the most common subject areas, studied by more than 20% of foundation students starting in 2008-2009, the report indicates, ‘some 65% of full-time students were still studying six months after gaining their foundation degree, and 47% were working.’ Thus foundation courses nowadays not only prepare students for an academic future but can also be seen as a practical pre-career training. In ‘Foundation degrees offer a strong vision for the future’, an article published in the Guardian in 2012, Susan Young argues, ‘Foundation degrees are excellent for people who want to get practical knowledge of their chosen industry.’ ‘Staff are industry professionals and bring that world in with them, and conversations always lead to how it is in the outside world’, says Jeb Haward, head of Higher Education in the arts at SCC. This idea is agreed by the education consultant Maggie Greenwood who suggests, ‘[On a foundation degree] the student learns their way around the industry and can see if they like it first. You could be sitting alongside someone who has been in industry for five or six years. If you just do a degree you may not have that depth of experience.’

藝術評論家和藝術工作者們相信基礎課程體系在幫助學生決定他們未來的興趣和專業方面是非常有效的。而如今基礎課程的設立不僅只是在藝術和設計領域。2012年《衛報(The Guardian)》的一篇報告統計,在英格蘭、威爾士和北愛爾蘭地區UCAS列出了2922個不同的基礎課程項目。其中從2008年到2009年開始,有超過20%的學生學習與藝術和設計相關的基礎課程。此項報告還明確指出65%的學生在完成基礎課程的學習以後選擇繼續學習,47%的學生選擇并有能力進行實踐工作。因此基礎課程如今不僅僅只是幫助學生們完成從中等教育到高等教育的過渡,它同樣也有效地輔助學生從課堂走入社會。蘇珊·揚格(Susan Young)在2012年發表于《衛報》上的文章《基礎課程著眼于未來(Foundation degrees offer a strong vision for the future)》中寫到,“基礎課程是那些計劃在相應產業進行發展和深造的人們的最佳選擇。‘很多在基礎課程任教的老師們同時也在相應的領域工作,所以他們自身的實踐經驗可以幫助學生們更好地了解他們即將接觸的工作環境,傑布·哈維德(Jeb Haward)說。” 教育顧問麥琪·格林伍德(Maggie Greenwood)也贊同這樣的觀點。她說,“基礎課程讓學生們在做決定之前提前感受他們將會面臨的挑戰和環境。你身邊的同學可能已經有五、六年的工作經驗,與他們一起進行實踐學習與討論是一般學位課程無法給予的經驗。”


Over the years, as art education has evolved in the UK, the foundation course has transformed itself into a more pragmatic pedagogical model and moved away from its original generalist concept. However, it is difficult to say whether such skill-concentrated practice is comprehensive enough to produce future artists, which echoes the current concern surrounding the desire of students to learn ‘how to draw’,rather than,‘how to think’.


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