The Hidden Curriculum

Alternative Zones: Uncovering the Official and the Unofficial in Fine Art Practice, Research and Education

Strand C: The Hidden Curriculum


Rebecca Fortnum, Professor of Fine Art, Middlesex University, London
, Lecturer, CIT Crawford College of Art and Design, Cork Ireland

The Hidden Curriculum Strand Schedule

Thursday 10th

2-3:20pm The changing institution (art schools, education, disciplines)

3:40–5pm Professional Practice (transitions outside & inside the institution)

5:20–6pm Changing face of Assessments

Friday 11th

10–12 New knowledge economies & technologies

12–1pm  feedback & discussion

In his essay Art Education in Poland – between Jurassic Park and the ‘catering regime’ Marek Wasilewski observes,

In recent years our institutions have gone through several reforms introduced to make our work more objective and efficient. As a result, instead of spending our time with students, lecturers have to attend meetings and courses, and produce reports and applications; it seems to me that the report is now more important than what happens in real life. In some respects, it reminds me of the ‘good old days of communism’, where bureaucracy was the   God of all things, when things written on paper and decided on in an important meeting were confused with real achievements. (Wasliewski, Journal of Art, Design and Communication in Higher Education 2014, 13.1)

This description of the art educator juggling the, often contradictory, needs of students and mangers may be recognised by those working in Higher Education throughout Europe. One of the particular challenges for the teaching of fine art is to keep a productive and critical dynamic between the subject and the academy. Currently this is problematised by, on the one hand radical shifts in recent fine art practice in relation to its materials, institutions and audience, and on the other the standardisation of Higher Education provision in accordance with the EU Bologna process.  In response to these demands the fine art curriculum has become crammed with so called ‘choice’ yet the student experience can run the risk of being compromised by a highly regulated, risk averse environment. The Hidden Curriculum strand calls for papers that will build on work begun at the last Paradox conference, mapping the position of Fine Art Education in Europe, in particular the content of the subject’s curriculum and how it is delivered.

The convenors of this strand welcome responses from fine art educators, artists in education and academics that examine the teaching of Fine Art and the challenges of attempts to be both accountable yet responsive. We are interested in hearing about subversive pedagogical strategies as well as accounts of delivering an undercover curriculum. We are happy to receive abstracts for case studies, opinion papers and reflective articles from those who have developed creative, innovative and reflective responses to the curriculum and teaching delivery.

Please email a 300 word abstract in English for academic papers, presentations or workshops with the subject heading ‘Paradox Poznan’ by the 30th April 2015 to: