Mind the Gap: Developing Contexts for Practice

  • Laura Onions: Lecturer Fine Art, Wolverhampton School of Art
  • Simon Harris: Lecturer Fine Art - Printing and Painting, Wolverhampton School of Art
  • Maggie Ayliffe: Head of Visual Arts - Lecturer Fine Art, Wolverhampton School of Art


This research paper will present an investigation into the development of patchwork texts as a model for enabling students to make progressive links between theory and practice on a BA (Hons) Fine Art course and how this approach to teaching, learning and assessment might support a more holistic assessment of contextual knowledge in which learning takes place and “makes sense over time” and in relation to a range of experiences.

Richard Winter describes the need to make assessment “tasks coherent with their own experience” as opposed to “tasks as external impositions”. This seems a vital aspiration for Fine Art students in a culture which relies on self-initiation of practice/projects and self-motivation to practice at a high level. We targeted a level 4 and a level 5 contextual module for this project and devised a range of patchwork tasks for each year group. The tasks aimed to support students to make links between theory and practice, to allow practitioner identities to emerge that referenced individual experience within a field of criticality and to support our students to become informed individual voices/ decision makers.