Making meaning of the sketchbook: an inquiry into the conceptualisation, content and form of sketchbooks, and associated pedagogical practices, in post-compulsory Art and Design education, with consideration of the effects of new technologies on practices.
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This research project is an inquiry into, and exploration of, work carried out by students studying on formal Further Education (FE) and Higher Education (HE) Art & Design courses in a specialist Art & Design college. The project focuses on the use of sketchbooks and the effects that new technologies are having on sketchbook practices. The sketchbook has played an important role in Art & Design practices, and education, for hundreds of years and in that time its usage had 'remained virtually untouched by the march of fashions and theories throughout history (Clayton and Weisenthal, 1991:113). But, during the late 20thC and now, at the start of the 21stC, new technologies that utilise the microchip and the internet have had a significant effect on society and culture in general (Jordan, 1999; Slack and Macgregor Wise, 2015); this study offers research into more specific effects that the new technologies have had on Art & Design sketchbook concepts and practices. Sketchbooks are ‘poorly understood in terms of their meanings, having been rarely focused upon in research and yet widely used in practice’ (Ryan, 2009:121). Meanings concerning the nature of sketchbooks will be uncovered, discovered and, or, co-created as the study progresses, especially when the practices being investigated are new or idiosyncratic (Heron, 1996; Teddlie & Yu, 2007). The aims of the project were to: 1. investigate the range of practices that constitute sketchbook work, and the discourses that surround it, enabling an original contribution to be made to the body of knowledge concerning the use of sketchbooks in FE and HE Art & Design education. 2. study the effects that new technologies are having on the range of practices that constitute sketchbook work in FE and HE Art & Design education. Key concepts derived from this project, relating to the effect of new technologies, are the dispersed sketchbook and the digitally impregnated sketchbook.