Myth and Mystique in Art and Design Education: A review of the confused state of visual art/design education in the Art and Design Departments in the Polytechnics and some of its implications for the schools
Art and Design Departments in Polytechnics are obliged, through the Royal Charter given to CNAA, to apply practical research, as opposed to the more pure research of the Universities (what is the difference?); in the Polytechnic gallop to Supertech the so-called 'exceptionally able' student is being squeezed right out' of the market; the vocational courses are receiving relatively less and less money; sixth-form Colleges are emulating art schools in their foundation departments; inmany cases a secondary visual education is unrelated to tertiary visual education";and no-one seems very concerned; and the infrastructure becomes more a remedial expression centre than an applied cohesive part of the whole. A brief glimpse into the disorganised system of art/design education reveals an insular structure travelling both vertically and horizontally. There is no generally accepted concept of art as anyone involved (e.g., the man-in-the-street, the teacher, the student) could recognise: it exists, or non-exists, on too many levels. It is shrouded in myth and mystique; it is too easily influenced by whim and fancy; its infrastructure is filled with contradictions. Often public consumption is dictated by the voices nearest the microphone, they not realising in the publicity-ridden hierarchy voices out of earshot could be much nearer the truth. Any supernova exponential soon dies out in the vastness of traditionalised, ritualised space--space occupied by non-reference bodies totally out of proportion to their educational worthiness to the general public.