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AbstractThis is a conference paper
The DATA International Research Conference provides an opportunity for the’sharing of evidence across cultures’. (Norman 2003: ix) This paper considers evidence from the culture of art and design higher education which, through its focus on creativity and individual development, could assist the achievement of design and technology’s ‘unique contribution’ to student learning. (QCA, 1999) In presenting the case, this paper offers a new perspective on the ‘creativity in crisis’ debate currently engaging design and technology educators. Similar contributions have been made by Martin (2003), Hopper & Downie (1998) and Shield (1995), amongst others. They highlight tensions within the sector, for example between ‘making’ and ‘designing’, between education and training, and between teacher-led and student-centred approaches, and suggest practical and philosophical ways in which such tensions could be alleviated. The significance of the perspective offered here derives in part from the holistic nature of art and design education. It is suggested that this pedagogic model gains coherence through the placing of individual creativity at its centre; curriculum structure, content, delivery and assessment are designed to support this focus. Findings from theoretical research (eg. Perry 1968; Stein 1974; Amabile 1996) attest to the effectiveness of the approach, which is further confirmed by experiential research. The paper discusses these findings and suggests that a sharing of best-practice between the related disciplines of art, design and technology could help to lessen polarities and invigorate delivery of the design & technology curriculum.