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SOURCE DAI-A 63/05, p. 1626, Nov 2002

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SOURCE DAI-A 63/03, p. 980, Sep 2002

The problem of evidence. Change can rarely be monitored even on an individual basis. For example, informal educators who focus on alcohol abuse within a particular group can face an insurmountable problem if challenged to provide evidence of success. They will not be able to measure use levels prior to intervention, during contact or subsequent to the completion of their work. In the end all the educator will be able to offer, at best, is vague evidence relating to contact or anecdotal material.


If connoisseurship is the art of appreciation, criticism is the art of disclosure. Criticism, as Dewey pointed out in , has at is end the re-education of perception… The task of the critic is to help us to see.



Think – interpreting and explaining. When evaluating we analyse and interpret the situation. We reflect on what participants have been doing. We look at areas of success and any deficiencies, issues or problems.

Act – resolving issues and problems. In evaluation we judge the worth, effectiveness, appropriateness, and outcomes of those activities. We act to formulate solutions to any problems.

SOURCE DAI-B 63/04, p. 2044, Oct 2002


There are also some basic practical problems. Here we explore four particular issues identified by Jeffs and Smith (2005) with respect to programme or project evaluations.

For some commentators the rise of conceptual art has been nothing lessthan the betrayal of the visual arts by overly literary and anti-visual culturalpractices. For other commentators conceptual art has generated the basison which current practice proceeds and, for them, it has established the basicproblems and themes with which artists must continue to work. Arguably,conceptual art continues to be the key background for a number of importantdebates in contemporary art: the role of the curator; the functions and limitsof art institutions (galleries, museums, exhibitions); art as exemplary economyof the 'dematerialised'; the meaning of 'public'-ness in art; the appropriaterole and limits of mediation, publicity and explication in contemporary art;the inclusions and exclusions that operate in the circuits of global culture;and the relationship between art practice and knowledge.

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  • SOURCE DAI-A 63/03, p. 984, Sep 2002

    AUTHOR Gunn, Joshua Gresham;



  • “The Arabesque between Kant and Comic Strip”


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For some of these areas it is fairly easy to work out indicators. However, when it comes to things like relationships, as noted many years ago, ‘Much of it is intangible and can be felt in atmosphere and spirit. Appraisal of this inevitably depends to some extent on the beholders themselves’ (1966: 6). There are some outward signs – like the way people talk to each other. In the end though, informal education is fundamentally an act of faith. However, our faith can be sustained and strengthened by reflection and exploration.

As a starter I want to offer an orienting definition:

This term 'conceptual art' has become the most widely used name for workssuch as these, which form a broad spectrum of experimental artworks andpractices that developed from the 1960s onwards. These new art practicesno longer necessarily depend on the production of discrete one-off physicalobjects; nor necessarily use traditional media and techniques like picturemakingwith paint or modelling with clay or casting with bronze or assemblingwith metal and wood; nor even demonstrate a specifically pronounced 'visual'or 'hand made' aspect. Typically, though not without important exceptions, artmaking prior to this development had been a matter of working directly withinrelatively familiar art forms and media – painting, sculpture, drawing, and printmaking– to produce discrete objects. Conceptual art can make use of theseforms on occasion, but it no longer requires these forms in order to producesomething that claims an audience's attention as an artwork – the emphasisis generally not placed on a specific material artefact nor on hand-crafting ortechnical-making processes as such, nor even on the 'expressive' personalityof the artist, but rather on a range of concerns that emphasise the role of'ideas'. However, such generalisations are really only rough approximations –in many ways the list of works provided above could be used as counterexamples:for example, Robert Barry's work with inert gases is centrally basedon a material process, the diffusion of the gases into the atmosphere; however,this process is not available to perception in the usual terms of art viewing. Thisplay off between percept (what is given in the experience) and concept (whatis proposed as organising the experience meaningfully) is a recurrent feature ofmuch conceptual art which makes use of the ambiguous interplay of language,perceptual experience and the conceptual organisation of experience.

There are several things that need to be said about this.

Informal education involves more than gaining and exercising technical knowledge and skills. It depends on us also cultivating a kind of artistry. In this sense, educators are not engineers applying their skills to carry out a plan or drawing, they are artists who are able to improvise and devise new ways of looking at things. We have to work within a personal but shared idea of the ‘good’ – an appreciation of what might make for human flourishing and well-being (see 1990). What is more, there is little that is routine or predictable in our work. As a result, central to what we do as educators is the ability to ‘think on our feet’. Informal education is driven by conversation and by certain values and commitments (Jeffs and Smith 2005).

• A problem to be investigated.

. Within many of the arenas where informal education flourishes there is a valuing of working so that people may organize things for themselves, and be of service to others. The respect in which this held is also backed up by research. We know, for example, that people involved in running groups generally grow in self-confidence and develop a range of skills (Elsdon 1995). We also know that those communities where a significant number of people are involved in organizing groups and activities are healthier, have more positive experiences of education, are more active economically, and have less crime (Putnam 1999). (Taken from Rogers and Smith 2006)

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