Swindells, Steve, Atkinson, Paul and Sibley, Magda (2001) The professionals: contrasting professionalism within art, design and architecture practice and education. In: IDATER 2001 Conference, 2001, Loughborough University.

This paper identifies key issues surrounding the notion of a profession and its significance to art, design and architecture education. It explores similarities and differences towards an understanding of professional development by evaluating professional practice within each discipline compared to its associated educational curricula. In the context of art and design education and career aspirations should a distinction be drawn between professions and avocations? Universities are committed to intellectual models of positivism as a potential benchmark for professional status - suggesting that application of a field of knowledge and mastery of techniques of production or procedure constitute 'professionalism'. In the light of such a prevailing positivist paradigm, the apparent lack of a uniform approach in creative professional practice and education may appear as an anomaly. Professional development within art and design education addresses many practical and procedural issues involved in working as a practitioner. However, they are often modified by trial and error of individual practice and not necessarily monitored by an authorised institution. Compared to the standardised and institutional rigors of, for example, architecture or medicine, a hierarchy from architecture, through design, down to art may be interpreted as a structure of 'major' to 'minor' professions. Should art and design education re-assess its claims towards professionalism or are there sufficient uniformity's within art, design and architecture practice to underpin an institutionalised and standardised model for professional practitioners?

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