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Title: Pedagogic objects : the formation, circulation and exhibition of teaching collections for art and design education in Leeds, 1837-1857
Author: Wade, Rebecca Jayne
ISNI:       0000 0004 2733 0704
Awarding Body: University of Leeds
Current Institution: University of Leeds
Date of Award: 2012
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This thesis identifies and critically examines the teaching collection assembled for the Leeds School of Design, established in 1846 under the Leeds Mechanics’ Institution and Literary Society. The nucleus of this collection was a generic set of plaster casts, prints and publications distributed by the Head School of Design at Somerset House in London, founded in 1837. This approved selection of pedagogic objects was augmented with local donations of paintings, prints, decorative arts and photographs. This thesis proposes that these supplementary objects, and the ways in which they were displayed, represented a resistance to standardisation and a renegotiation of the role of art and design education in relation to existing voluntary societies and their associated public exhibitions. Chapter one investigates the contested curriculum of the Schools of Design and the role of the Royal Academy in its construction. The question addressed concerns how the same reproductions of canonical antique statuary came to be deployed as vehicles for the transmission of a mutable set of ideological positions related to the concepts of art and its applications, industry and consumption and the division of labour. The distinction between the training of the artist and the artisan is also considered on a local level through the Leeds Academy of Arts, which was active between 1852 and 1855. Chapter two explores the philosophical, political and economic positions that informed the practice of the Leeds School of Design, beginning with a Foucauldian analysis of the behaviours and beliefs inculcated in the students through the regulation of space, time and work. The culture of autodidacticism and the associated approaches to political economy developed by Edward Baines Junior and Samuel Smiles are articulated as a means of understanding the climate in which state-sponsored education was received in a regional context. These intellectual conditions are further elaborated through the practice of the travelling public lecture. Chapter three considers the temporary exhibitions, conversazioni and soirées associated with art and design education in Leeds, beginning with the first polytechnic public exhibition organised by the Mechanics’ Institution at the Albion Street Music Hall in 1839. The strategic appropriation of architecture associated with commercial and industrial activity for the purpose of display is considered through the work of Henri Lefebvre on the social production of space. The fourth and final chapter considers the itinerancy of the pedagogic object and the emergence of circulating collections composed of applied arts, reproductions in plaster, fictile ivory and electrotype and photographs. The mobilisation of material culture through these didactic collections will be analysed through a variety of critical frameworks, including historical materialism, post-structuralism and social geography, as appropriate to discrete aspects of the archive.
Supervisor: Westgarth, M. ; Harrison Moore, A. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available