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Strands and learning outcomes

The strands, strand units and their associated learning outcomes are set out below. While the strand units are numbered, this is for ease of identification and does not imply a hierarchy of approach. The strands themselves are not numbered because it is recognised that in Art it is possible to begin a piece of work from any one of them. However, it is also important that all three are experienced by learners as they are interlinked and inter-dependent. Some Strand Units are particular to each strand, as are the learning outcomes contained within them. Furthermore, the learning outcomes within the three strands also reflect the fact that the relationship between the practical making of a work and the knowledge, skills, values and understanding of relevant examples of Visual Studies are symbiotic in nature. It is possible, in each strand, to apply some of the learning outcomes to both the practical making of work as well as to the field of Visual Studies.


Research Strand

Artists are visual detectives who are constantly questioning the world around them by exploring and investigating, mining the past and present and revealing the possibilities for the future. During the process of studying Art, learners will learn how to become a visual researcher; a conceptual explorer; a cultural archaeologist. As part of the research process they will learn to select a stimulus, choose a primary source and develop their ideas further. Learners will also have the opportunity to use their locality, such as galleries, museums, architecture, public sculpture and more for research purposes.

The learning outcomes in this strand address the research methods employed within a visual subject. Learners learn by and through Looking using primary sources or examples of significant works of Visual Studies; by Recording and documenting their thoughts, ideas, findings and observations in their sketchpads; through Experimenting and interpretation of what they observe and the work and ideas they then develop; by being cognisant of the evolving world around them through Contextual enquiries and by explicitly following a Process. Some of the learning outcomes in the Research Strand can also apply to both the practical making of work and to Visual Studies.

Students learn about

Students should be able to

1.1. Looking
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    • analyse an artwork
    • recognise an art style and identify relevant features
    • use critical and visual language to describe an artwork
    • experience the natural and built environment as a source of inspiration
    • identify the sources that support the development of their work
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1.2. Recording and documenting
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    • collate information from a variety of sources and media
    • record visual information through a variety of media and techniques
    • capture their interpretation of the world in a physical/digital way
    • justify their rationale for their choice of media
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1.3. Experimenting and interpretation
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    • discriminate and extrapolate information from research
    • produce an annotated visual record of their enquiry
    • experiment with ideas, media and techniques
    • use problem-solving skills to develop ideas
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1.4. Contextual enquiries
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    • use the wider context of how the world is continually changing, socially, politically, ethically, etc. in their work
    • engage with a recognised artist or work of art
    • explain how context and period influence artistic thinking
    • identify links with artists of the past and present that have explored similar topics or themes
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1.5. Process
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    • formulate and develop their motivation/area of enquiry
    • identify sources of information
    • draft a selection of drawings and studies that support their ideas and work
    • use a selection of visual responses that are relevant to their area of study
    • develop a rationale for their choices based on their research
    • articulate and annotate their research process and decision making
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Create Strand

In Art, learners will be engaged in the process of making/creating art from conception through to realisation. Using a range of skills and their chosen materials, as appropriate, learners will create work based on a stimulus. As they develop their own work they will also be given the opportunity to respond to it as it progresses. This will provide them with an opportunity to understand what works and help them to gain confidence in changing direction if required. During reflection on the creative process, learners can examine their developing work and decide whether to fully realise it or if further research may be necessary. An important part of creating is that they also recognise the moment when a work is complete and know when to stop.

In learning to create work, the learning outcomes describe and capture the Making involved; the use of Contextual Enquiries, especially in learning to understand and use the art elements and design principles; the Process involved in following lines of enquiry and deciding on the realised work; the knowledge, skills and understanding required to communicate through the Realisation/Presentation of their work. Some of the learning outcomes in the Create Strand can apply to both the practical making of work and to Visual Studies.

Students learn about

Students should be able to

2.1. Making
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    • develop concepts in imaginative and creative ways
    • interpret primary sources including the natural and built environment and the human figure as a source of inspiration
    • apply appropriate skills, knowledge and techniques
    • create realised work based on their research
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2.2. Contextual enquiries
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    • apply the art elements and design principles in creating and evaluating their work
    • critique the work of others and their own
    • translate their experience of Visual Studies into their practical work
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2.3. Process
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    • describe their motivation/area of enquiry
    • illustrate sources of information
    • create a selection of drawings, studies and realised work
    • experiment and edit their work
    • justify their selection of relevant visual responses
    • understand the properties of media and apply them appropriately
    • explain the rationale for their choices
    • relate their research, processes and decisions that led to their realised work
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2.4. Realisation/Presenting
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    • curate and present their work in a considered way
    • evaluate the meaning and context of chosen work
    • communicate the meaning and context of chosen work
    • present a rationale to explain their choices
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Respond Strand

Learners need to understand that in Art they can and do react to work, whether it is their own or another’s. They will be given the opportunity to reflect on and respond to their own work objectively and critically. In generating a response to work, learners may do so emotionally, critically, aesthetically or contextually, or even respond through a combination of these. They will learn to value their decisions and processes and be willing to edit and select from their ideas and work so that they are able to explain their choices and decisions. Ultimately, the learner moves closer to understanding the thinking of, and process of being, an artist.

The learning outcomes related to Responding involve the use of Analysis; the making of Contextual Enquiries to further understanding and knowledge; looking at ways to judge Impact and value; employing Critical and personal reflection; and learning to think about and rationalise their Process. Some of the learning outcomes in the Respond Strand can also apply to practical making of work and to Visual Studies.

Students learn about

Students should be able to

3.1. Analysis
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    • discuss examples from Visual Studies
    • recognise the artistic thinking and elements in their own work and that of others
    • question established and new ideas and work
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3.2. Contextual enquiries
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    • locate their own work in relation to other artwork within a particular context/s (stylistically, socially, politically, ethically, etc.)
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3.3. Impact and value
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    • value their own work and the work of others
    • argue the merit of a work using appropriate contextual information
    • experience art through sensory and/or emotional responses
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3.4. Critical and personal reflection
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    • discuss the development of ideas and work from conception to realisation
    • present evidence of a sustained and varied investigation of a stimulus
    • value sustained and varied investigation of a stimulus
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3.5. Process
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    • describe their motivation/area of enquiry
    • interpret sources of information
    • respond to a selection of drawings, studies and realised work
    • synthesise their selection of visual responses
    • articulate an effective rationale for their choices
    • justify their research, processes, decision making and realised work
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