'Art School Educated' Curriculum Development and Institutional Change in UK Art Schools 1960-2000

January 2009 – February 2014

A research project investigating the impact of the art education on artistic production from the 1960s to the present day and its relationship to the wider themes of education, culture and society.

Antony Gormley, ‘Untitled (for Francis)’ 1985
Antony Gormley
Untitled (for Francis) 1985
© Antony Gormley

Project background

Tate’s research on the interrelated histories of art education, artists’ relationships with society, and the impact of art pedagogy on artistic production supports the museum’s strategic aim of working with a wide community of artists. ‘Art School Educated’ reflects the fact that, despite their long history, distinguished national record and recent transformation, a comprehensive history of UK art schools has never been written.

This three-year project represents a first stage in this work and will identify the decisive reforms in the curriculum of the major London art schools from the 1960s to the present day, and ask how the curricula that were adopted relate to the output of the artists whose work is represented in Tate’s collection.

The project aims

The researchers will explore the impact of art pedagogy on artistic production and advance our understanding of the role that art schools have played in relation to broader educational, cultural and social realms. The project team will include social and education historians working alongside Tate art historians and curators.

They will identify the paradigm institutions and historic periods, which will form the starting points for a set of case studies, and seek to explain how pedagogic goals have changed and what now are the values placed on the liberal tradition of fine art and the (applied) arts of design?

Original, primary research on designated art schools will form the basis of new institutional histories and accounts of curriculum development.

Tate as a national centre for the study of the history of art education

The project seeks to confirm Tate as a recognised national centre for the study of the history of art education, encourage new interpretations of works in the museum’s collection, allow the museum to capture, archive and preserve an aspect of UK history that is largely undocumented and with every passing year more vulnerable to loss, and become an important source for future discussions about tertiary-level art education and its impact on the creative industries and the knowledge economy. These are topics that show no signs of lessening in their national significance.

The project team will produce a range of traditional scholarly publications, develop ideas for exhibitions and displays, and will have a dedicated microsite on the Tate website.

Updated April 2010.     

Supported by The Leverhulme Trust 2009–13

Project Information

Project type
Research project
Lead department
Tate Research
Support department
Media and Audiences
Project leader
Professor Nigel Llewellyn, Head of Research, Tate (Principal Investigator)
Project team
Dr Victoria Walsh, Head of Adult Programmes, Tate Britain (Co-Investigator)
Catherine Antoni (Administrator)
Elena Crippa and Alex Massouras, London Consortium (PhD students)
Lucy Howarth, Hester Westley and Beth Williamson (Research Assistants)

See also

Tate Britain Conference

Art School Educated Conference

11 Sep 2014, 12 Sep 2014
This conference marked the end of Tate’s Art School Educated, a five-year research project investigating the impact of art ...

BP Spotlight: Basic Design

Tate Britain display Basic Design explores role played in revolutionising art education across Britain in 50s and 60s. March to ...