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Creativity and art education: gaps between theories and practices

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Abstract

Theories of creativity from different disciplines map onto teaching strategies within the fine art field. In particular, the outcomes of historical studies by psychologists and experimental studies within cognitive science have significant resonance with some long-standing methods of teaching artists. Through a series of interviews with experienced teachers of studio art in the UK university context, and analysis of written material to support teaching, this paper recognizes the need for a more systematic exploration of how creative thinking may have been embedded in the teaching of artists. We identify the presence of practical strategies, field knowledge, artistic identity, and the importance of ‘space’ within the accounts of teaching and the documents considered. We note that notions of identity and space are not clearly present within existing models of creativity, but aspects of them reflect tolerance for ambiguity. We conclude by reflecting that this space within conceptions of fine art education is a gap that needs attention and that the field that generates the creative practitioners of the future should understand creativity.