BIROn - Birkbeck Institutional Research Online

    Artists and the art school: experiences and perspectives of fine art education & professional pedagogies in London art schools, 1986-2016

    Scarsbrook, Sarah (2021) Artists and the art school: experiences and perspectives of fine art education & professional pedagogies in London art schools, 1986-2016. PhD thesis, Birkbeck, University of London.

    SScarsbrook_Artists & The Art School_PhD Thesis Submission.pdf - Full Version

    Download (10MB) | Preview


    This study investigates visual artists’ experiences and views of their undergraduate fine art education, focussing on encounters of professional development in London art schools between 1986-2016. It foregrounds artists’ voices, analysing their motivations and justifications for attending, how they participated in professional pedagogies, what was accepted, rejected, and incorporated into professional practices, and the effects of art schooling since graduating. The study presents a unique insight into understanding artists’ art schooled identities, myths, freedoms, and professionalisation. I developed an approach that combines social scientific methods of Grounded Theory Methodology (GTM), with arts-based/informed methods, including drawing, making, speaking, filming, editing, and performing, to analyse interviews with twelve artists, covering graduate exit points in the 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s. This approach embeds reflexivity and performativity, bringing new methods to GTM, expanding GTM’s set of recommended methods to include my creative interpretation. This resulted in a rigorous and reflexive exploration of what artists said of their art schooling, fracturing and questioning the artists’ narratives in developing the ones presented here. The findings reveal art schooling causes deep and lasting emotionally embedded tensions, conflicts, and contradictions in the artists’ identities, myths, freedoms, and professionalisation. This study furthers understanding of how artists’ identities are implicated during art schooling, how they form through art schooled tensions, and these tensions’ lasting effects on shaping artists’ identities. The art school is positioned as important to artists’ development, particularly in its perpetuation of myths around luck, innate talent, artists’ specialness, and certain freedoms. Structureless pedagogies are shown to heighten the circulation of artistic myths, generating misconceptions of freedoms. Both during and after art schooling this mythification is revealed to conspire ongoing affective labour, realised through efforts to self-regulate through de/re-mythification. This supports negotiations of post-pedagogised identities, which fold both resistance and acceptance of art schooled experiences into them. Myth is perpetuated as part of relative freedoms in ongoing practices towards professional identities.


    Item Type: Thesis
    Copyright Holders: The copyright of this thesis rests with the author, who asserts his/her right to be known as such according to the Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988. No dealing with the thesis contrary to the copyright or moral rights of the author is permitted.
    Depositing User: Acquisitions And Metadata
    Date Deposited: 13 Oct 2021 15:36
    Last Modified: 13 Oct 2021 15:36


    Activity Overview
    6 month trend
    6 month trend

    Additional statistics are available via IRStats2.

    Archive Staff Only (login required)

    Edit/View Item Edit/View Item