The Decorated School

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The Decorated School
Essays on the Visual Culture of Schooling

23 x 17 cm | 9 x 6.6 in
79 ills | 96 pages

Editors Jeremy Howard, Catherine Burke, Peter Cunningham

The Decorated School: Essays on the Visual Culture of Schooling discusses the relationships between architects, artists, educators and school users. It reclaims mural painting, sculpture and other forms of art in school buildings as an international phenomenon, as a pedagogic tool, and as a realm of significant yet liminal public art. Questions of ideology and aesthetics, child development and taste, come to the fore as the authors take us through an impressive range of emotive and colourful works.

Bridging disciplines and approaches the authors reveal that ‘decorated’ goes beyond surface to fabric, design and education. The inclusion of artworks within learning environments for didactic and aesthetic aims has a long history which challenges conventional notions of ‘decorative’. Studies in this book focus on the modern era and public schooling. They trace developments from the early days of mass education at the end of the nineteenth century to the present, and in so doing they offer an unprecedented review of major art and education movements. 

Subjects include: the ‘Art at School’ movement in France; sculpture in Japanese schools, the Chicago mural movement; the Edinburgh ‘Schools Beautiful’ programme; the art-curriculum relationships of post-war British primary schools; London County Council’s educational commissions; Asger Jorn’s Decorations for Århus Statsgymnasium; abstraction and modern schooling in New York; Soviet and Post-Soviet school decoration in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan; and children’s art projects in Belfast. This beautifully illustrated book is an outcome of a two-year international research network project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and led by Catherine Burke and Jeremy Howard.