Public defence in Art Education, Marja Nurminen

Public defence from the Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Art and Media
Piirretty kuvio, jossa kysytään, kuka minusta tulee, kun paneudun piirtämiseen.
Who am I becoming whn engaging in drawing? Six personal orientations towards drawing.

Title of the thesis: The teaching of drawing in higher arts education – articulating the practitioners’ orientations

Doctoral student: Marja Nurminen
Opponent: Vice Rector Jaana Erkkilä-Hill, Uniarts Finland
Custos: Professor Bassam El Baroni, Aalto University School of Arts, Design and Architecture, Department of Art and Media

What is the value of teaching drawing today? 

The teaching of drawing in higher arts education – Articulating the practitioners' orientations This doctoral thesis describes what happens in the drawing studios at higher arts education institutions. One of the main goals of the research is to demystify the teaching of drawing by articulating it. The main results can be summarised to four research findings. 

1) Drawing is thinking. 

2)There is also a linkage between drawing and memory. 

3) The importance of research in higher arts education is essential for those who work in these institutions. 

4) The research proposes a non-exhaustive list of six personal orientations towards drawing that can be useful when teaching or learning drawing. 

This study brings forth practitioners' i.e. artist-teachers’ orientations, may they be tactical, political, moral, or personal. The tacit knowledge situated in art studios is articulated. While earlier research shows that students' drawing skills have diminished, drawing is often taken for granted in higher arts education. It is crucial that students draw and develop their drawing skills. For that purpose, there are and will be drawing teachers and drawing will be taught at higher arts education institutions. 

This study is relevant for those who teach or learn drawing and those who are responsible for designing content and curricula for higher arts and design education. It also opens the practices of teaching the art of drawing and the methods for researching it for those who are not familiar with them.

Thesis available for public display 10 days prior to the defence at:


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Doctoral theses in the School of Arts, Design and Architecture:

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