Race and Culture in Art and Design Education

Chris Toye
1985, Vol. 17, No. 2,

Abstract


Art and design education in England is probably the most ethnocentric of subject areas, being almost exclusively based on a European Post Renaissance conception of art. Pupils need to have a 'concept of culture' if they are to be aware that their own activities are, to a large extent, predetermined by the Anglo-centric culture in which they live.

Alternative approaches to studying the art and design of cultures other than one's own are considered and a framework is developed for teaching a concept of culture. An international perspective, rather than a national pluralist perspective, is proposed as the basis for the selection of cultures. A practical example is described from a secondary school pottery lesson in England where a clay pot from Papua New Guinea is used as a teaching aid. It is demonstrated that the outcomes of a lesson of this type have much in common with the desired outcomes of anti-racist education. Although the rationale is generalizable for all schools there are special implications, in terms of teaching procedures and possible outcomes for schools which are multiracial and multicultural.


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