Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies

Historicizing an Ocularnormative Future for Art Education

Journal of Literary & Cultural Disability Studies (2022), 16, (1), 5–22.

Abstract

The future of art education is shaped by its past, yet the history of art education in special or segregated schools is largely absent from authorized histories of the subject. Previous historical accounts of educational policy and practice establish art and disability as parallel concerns. However, the emergence of educational institutions to promote the visual arts and the contemporaneous establishment of segregated education for disabled children and young people indicate the significance of capitalist industrialization on the production of both. Beginning in the mid-nineteenth century, the article examines parallel histories and the futurity they imagine via an exploration of two key texts: Arthur Efland’s A History of Art Education (1990) and Michael Royden’s history of the Royal School for the Blind in Liverpool, Pioneers and Perseverence (1991). An increased emphasis on observation and drawing as a means of enhancing quality in British design prescribed an ocularnormative future for art education at this time while education at the Royal School for the Blind shifted its emphasis from technical, craft, and arts-based training to a literacy-based education. The article discusses the relevance of these parallel concerns and the apparent inevitability of an ocularnormative future for art education.

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Author details

Penketh, Claire