The art school ethos across cultures: UK and China

Liao, Y., 2016. The art school ethos across cultures: UK and China. PhD, Nottingham Trent University.

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This research investigated the culture and identity of art and design institutions through making comparisons between British and Chinese independent art schools and art schools in multidisciplinary universities, and the cultural contexts behind these art schools in the two countries. The study employed a semi-structured and open-ended qualitative interview approach, and adopted cross-national research as a framework. Mergers between independent specialist art and design institutions and multidisciplinary universities in the UK and China were examined as a starting point to make the comparison between the two types of art schools. Thirty participants from independent art schools, art schools within large universities, and other non-art and design faculties in universities both in the UK and China were interviewed. The analysis of the qualitative interview data was informed by certain concepts such as culture and identity. The thesis explored the concept of culture in two different senses. The first sense of culture, uncovered in the interview data, matched the “organisational culture” found in the organisational studies literature. The thesis used this concept of culture as a framework to evaluate the organisational culture in independent art schools and art schools in large universities. The second, more productive, meaning of the word culture drew on the Western European and Chinese history of ideas, particularly Romanticism, which had its own manifestations in both Western and Chinese cultures. In this sense, the concept of culture was adopted to investigate and compare the history of art and design higher education, through an analysis of terminology such as “art”, “craft” and “design” in the two countries, and their origin in the Western romantic ethic summed up in the idea of bohemian ethic and the Chinese traditional romantic culture of Neo-Taoism. As a consequence of this analysis, the identity of art and design schools became clear. The concept of identity found in organisational management, which refers to Soenen and Moingeon’s five-facet model of collective identity, informed the data analysis. The identity of art and design schools can be encapsulated in another productive term developed through the thesis: the concept of the “real art school”. The “real art school” is an intangible concept that relates to the core belief and deep value in the art school identity: the bohemian spirit. It does not matter whether the school is independent or merged. As long as it has a sense of this bohemian identity, then it is a real art school.

Item Type: Thesis
Creators: Liao, Y.
Date: July 2016
Rights: This work is the intellectual property of the author. You may copy up to 5% of this work for private study, or personal, non-commercial research. Any re-use of the information contained within this document should be fully referenced, quoting the author, title, university, degree level and pagination. Queries or requests for any other use, or if a more substantial copy is required, should be directed in the owner(s) of the Intellectual Property Rights.
Divisions: Schools > School of Art and Design
Record created by: Jonathan Gallacher
Date Added: 17 Oct 2016 12:41
Last Modified: 18 Oct 2016 09:38

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