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What to teach? Qualitative Research into Fine Art Undergraduate Programmes

Corner, Frances (2002) What to teach? Qualitative Research into Fine Art Undergraduate Programmes. In: 1st International conference.

Type of Research: Conference, Symposium or Workshop Item
Creators: Corner, Frances

The presentation and the paper explored the research structure and methodology for a qualitative study into a subject discipline and reflected part of a broader body of research investigating the changes taking place in Higher Education, notably, the Government’s agenda of expansion, excellence and equity and the implications for a subject discipline such as fine art. The current structure of a fine art education (NAFAE 1996) was set against policy documents (Dearing 1997, Fryer 1997, DfEE 1999) and referenced against research that looked at the philosophy and practice of fine art education (Abbs 1997, Allison 1982, Reid 1969 and 1986, Hillier 1996) to investigate how courses were adjusting to the expansion of Higher Education.

The stages of the research notably, the literature review, a potential definition of fine art, current status of fine art courses, research questions, interview structure, initial findings and possible recommendations were set out. This demonstrated how a series of perspectives were elicited, how external pressures are affecting a fine art education, concerns as to whether fine art as a subject in its current configuration had a future, and how fine art educators might draw a line against the effects of the massification of Higher Education.

External scrutiny was involved in the presentation and conference publication. Its significance is that it sets out how qualitative research in art and design can be structured to reflect the needs of a subject discipline and this in turn has helped further pedagogic research in art and design, a developing area.


Questions about how fine art courses have adapted to the higher education agenda of expansion as well as the requirements to maintain excellence and increase equality of opportunity, prompted me to undertake a qualitative study into how this was affecting the fine art sector. Factors such as accountability, standardisation, increased student numbers, the diverse student body, graduateness,
lifelong learning and their impact on fine art undergraduate
education were all explored in a series of 12 interviews. The research aimed to identify how extensively such changes are affecting a fine art education and how fine art educators are adjusting to this new agenda. This paper sets out the stages that this research went through and indicates, briefly, a number of the major concerns, as
well as possible ways forward for the fine art sector. This is a brief synopsis of what has been my doctoral study.

Additional Information (Publicly available):

Frances Corner

Research Interests

Sustainability, Fashion consumption, Health and well-being, Pedagogy, Arts and Design Education

Current Research

Professor Frances Corner has been Head of College at London College of Fashion since October 2005. She was previously Head of the Sir John Cass Department of Art, Media and Design at London Metropolitan University and has over 20 years experience within the Higher Education sector on both a national and international level.

Frances Corner believes London College of Fashion's dedication to widening participation and commitment to research and employability, combined with its links with the associated industries, make it a strong model for 21st century Higher Education. Frances aims for the College to become the global leader in fashion related education, research and consultancy and has recently pioneered the adoption of sustainable and ethical practice into the fashion education curriculum. Frances has spoken at a number of high profile and international conferences on this subject and contributes articles to a range of publications and media articles.

Her own research projects have examined issues such as lifelong learning, employability and skills as well as teaching and learning methods, whilst her professional experience includes work for a number of bodies including DCMS and NESTA supporting the creative and cultural industries.

New LCF initiatives - Better Lives

The thinking behind fashion as a discipline needs to extend and expand its influence, to counter the traditional stereotype of fashion as a light weight subject, not quite worthy of research and instead to clearly make the case and set the pace for developing areas of research that extend fashion's influence - issues that will come to play a key role in the future of the College and the wider fashion industries over the next generations.
Areas such as health, textiles, sustainability, ethical design and science, (including nanotechnology, medicine, engineering and cosmetic science) and well-being are presenting fashion with a paradox. How do we bring these issues into the mainstream whilst also meeting the fashion industries' need to be ever changing and consuming. Establishing a Research Centre, in the near future, which is concerned with these issues is therefore a key priority for the College.

Keywords/subjects not otherwise listed: teaching and learning research
Your affiliations with UAL: Colleges > London College of Fashion
Date: 1 October 2002
Date Deposited: 07 Dec 2009 12:46
Last Modified: 02 Aug 2016 13:53
Item ID: 857
URI: https://ualresearchonline.arts.ac.uk/id/eprint/857

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