“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.”
– Pablo Picasso
So sad, that I’ve decided to climb upon my soap-box and have a little (well, not so little as it spans 2 blog posts!!) rant on the topic……
Whilst I obviously appreciate the need for education to focus on academic subjects in order to get strong foundations in place, our children still need a diversity of learning throughout their time at school. There must be a balance if we are to allow children to discover their interests and talents – in whatever field they may lie. I for one know that my time at school would have been far less enjoyable had I not had the chance to take courses in textiles and design technology…I mean, ‘Come On!’ Who didn’t get a buzz from the achievement of making a knife rack in woodwork?!!. For me these were the lessons that offset my boredom in learning about the Periodic Table or Chaucer and his Canterbury Tales. I could put up with the subjects that didn’t interest me because round the corner there was something that would. That made school ok.
Craft skills also provide children with a firmer grasp of the 3D world, which in turn develops problem solving skills. These are important to all manner of professions, including manufacturing, medicine and software design.
Practical learning, including craft, can have positive impacts on behaviour and on the extent to which pupils engage in school. Evidence shows that pupils who are positively engaged in learning are less likely to have behaviour problems.”
“The decline (..in education) sits strangely with the growing popularity of crafts, both in the luxury goods market and at grassroots level…..It’s a sector that makes a contribution to the economy and has the potential to be a much greater export business as well. There’s a dissonance between the way craft is perceived by the public and amongst adults, and the way we’re investing in supporting schools to keep that happening.
…..there are countries that have absolutely recognised why the UK is so good at creative arts and they’re looking to replicate it themselves. The number of art and design colleges China has opened over the last 10 years has been phenomenal. When production has been so decimated in this country, to put design at risk is just fatal.“
Of course, we do live in a far more digital world now – children, boys especially, are often drawn to building imaginary worlds on an iPad using ‘Minecraft’ instead of using Lego. They race cars on a games console rather than setting up a Scaletrix track and playing with actual cars. I’m not saying the advance in digital disciplines is disastrous and I’m certainly not against progressive change, just that it shouldn’t be at the sacrifice of the 3D , physical world. Without a digital context, we are in danger of making crafts ‘uncool’. It is however possible for the two to compliment each other, using technology in the design process whilst still actually ‘making’ using our hands and tools.
Unless there is a sudden u-turn on government policy and an injection of cash into arts education funding, it appears that it will become our responsibility to ensure our children lead creative lives.
To be continued………x
(If you liked this article, please see my blog post ‘Sticks and Stones’ which continues on from this one) xx