Knowles, John (2015) Art Teachers' Professional Identities and Attitudes to Promotion: A Narrative Study. Masters thesis, University of Huddersfield.

This research springs from my reflections on my own experiences as an artist, art teacher and senior
manager in schools, FE and HE, and aims to find out why so few art teachers make the progression to
senior leadership. It examines how they articulate their professional identities and their attitudes to
promotion. In order to do this, the thesis reviews the contested concept of professionalism, and looks
at how this can be applied to artists, to teachers, and to art teachers in particular. It then reports on
the data from the interviews before offering interpretation of what the data means for these
The study was conducted through narrative life history interviews, enabling in-depth responses from
the participants by giving them time to explore their professional identities. As the interviewees are
art graduates, I sought graphic as well as verbal responses from them. The production of these
images, in advance of their interviews, required reflective time in their production, allowing them to
be better prepared for the interviews. The images also formed a focus for discussion, which enabled
the participants to interpret their own images.
One of the participants is already an assistant principal, but prioritises her identity as an art teacher.
The others all demonstrate both ambivalence about any promotion which would reduce their contact
time in the art room, and a reluctance to take on senior roles which are seen as managerialist and
driven by data and targets. In the conclusion I argue that this reluctance to seek senior management
positions both weakens the status of art within the school, and denies their creative skills to whole
school management and development.

Final thesis - KNOWLES.pdf - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (1MB) | Preview


Downloads per month over past year

Add to AnyAdd to TwitterAdd to FacebookAdd to LinkedinAdd to PinterestAdd to Email