Analysis of creativity in the practice and teaching of the visual arts, with reference to the current work of art students at GCSE level and above
The specific aims of this investigation were to establish the nature of the relationship between creativity, art, and art education, to study the characteristics and abilities of students, then to identify and test a teaching method favoured by art teachers for improving creative response. This study traces a chronology of the history of art and art education, from pre-history to the National Curriculum, charting the changes in philosophy and social contexts. It presents a review of current literature on creativity, framed in the psychological paradigm o division into three parts:- the creative process, the creative product, and the creative person. Based on the conclusions of this review, a series of tests and questionnaires was devised to test the hypotheses that art students have creative ability to a higher degree than non-art students, and that aspects of their personality, cognitive abilities, and cognitive style influence the production of their creative graphic artwork. The principal study was carried out on 194 subjects from 35 Institutions. These subjects comprised 73 Sixth Form, and 56 Higher Education art students, with 36 6th Form, and 25 HE non-artists as controls, formed into 22 groups for comparison for age / ability I gender. The data collected comprised eleven variables:- SES, average"O"grade, motivation, creative factors, pattern preference, original image production, spatial ability, creative personality, divergent thinking, self-actualisation, and cultural awareness. The qualitative answers to questions were transposed into scores, and together with the scores from the test items, were subjected to statistical analysis and computed by SPSS-X.The aim was to ascertain whether the obtained factors would discriminate between the groups, and thus support the hypotheses derived from the literature search. The results of these tests showed that art students did score significantly higher on tests o originality, self-actualisation, spatial ability, and aspects of personality related to independence and open-mindedness, but not on tests of divergent thinking and pattern preference. A further 20 HE art students were interviewed to support the data findings with actual case studies. The 3rd section of the investigation concerned the analysis of the effects of teaching on the production of creative graphic artwork. Based on the answers of students and art teachers to questions about their art lessons, a "teaching intervention" was devised and tested on 150 Year 11 pupils, with the aim of testing the influence of subject matter, and the effectiveness o stimulus on the production of original graphic artwork. The results showed that the "fit" between pupils and subject matter was important, but that the amount and type of stimulus was less influential than was expected; and also supported the earlier fmdings that age and gender were not significant factors. general conclusions of this study were:- 1. Creativity is a necessary contemporary social activity. 2. Creativity is a high level cognitive activity, but is not domain specific. 3. The brain is itself primarily a creative instrument; interpreting new information, and generating responses are its main function. 4. As creativity is an essential component of contemporary art, creative thinking should be encouraged in the art curriculum.