Linking Art & Design Paul Glennon, 2014
Preface This text has been written for Art & Design students, practitioners and educators, to encourage debate about the relationship between these two subjects. The ampersand (&) that creates a conjunction between Art & Design does so in a very familiar way making the phrase ubiquitous. In education, especially primary and secondary, they appear to be very happy bedfellows, but further down the line problems occur. In the professional world of Art & Design the ampersand is no longer a conjunction, instead it becomes a gulf and the two seem estranged and distant. Why is this the case? Can an Artist be a Designer and vice versa? If not, why not? If so - how and why should they? Why does it matter? ‘Ampersand’ is an attempt to open up this debate and more importantly improve the creative potential for people engaged in Art & Design.
00: Art & Design Delusions When I was a student at Art College the Design department was on one side of the building and the Art Department on the other. Only a single bridge connected them across a very busy city centre street. Indeed - from my perspective at that time â€“ this bridge was the only thing linking the two subjects. The separation seemed awkward as until joining University, Art & Design was always taught as one subject at school. It was very easy to distinguish students from these two areas by their dress, attitude and social grouping. They also seemed wary of each other and I can even remember bust ups between various factions across the divide (one in particular on the bridge itself). The academics and practitioners from these two areas also appeared different. I was always disappointed in the lack of cross-curricular activity for both social and intellectual reasons, perhaps even more so in hindsight. Design always seemed to be adhering to doctrines while Art seemed free and unbound by rules. As a student on the
Design side I felt let down that access across the bridge was denied and those ten years of previous Art & Design learning at school and college were then limited to a specific area. Understandably, in specific disciplines there is much to learn, hence the focus, nevertheless I missed the engagement with the world of Art and I frequently wondered if my Art counterparts were missing Design principles in a similar way. Only once during my degree did the world of Design merge, curriculum-wise, with the world of Art. This happened when I was first introduced to the Bauhaus. I learnt how this famous German School of Art & Design gained notoriety not only for its innovation but for its political stance and constant nomadic state. It appeared to me that the work produced in the Bauhaus seemed to transcend Design and Art barriers whilst at the same time challenging philosophical, political and social themes from that period. The single module that focused on the history of this school was short-lived and I soon had to focus my attention on the practicalities of the last stages of my studies.
After my degree I joined a Design and Advertising agency and worked hard enjoying the application of my skills in the commercial world. However, I continually had a hankering for something different (or had a feeling that something was missing) so after a few years I began freelance work and took on a wider range of clients. This departure, although risky, opened up the world of film, theatre, music, teaching and Art. The greater the diversity of clients and projects I involved myself with, the greater my enjoyment and, noticeably, the better the overall quality of the final work. It is this particular point in my career that marked origin of what this text is about: my pursuit to describe and narrow the gap between Art & Design. To be exact, the purpose is to recognise the existing relationship between Art & Design and by reevaluating the connection, uncover practices that have been beneficial to me and, I hope, will be to others.
01: Art & Design in Schools During my Postgraduate training for teaching (secondary education) I was asked to write a
thesis on the importance of Art & Design in the National Curriculum. Rather than arguing the toss between yea or nay I proposed that it was not only important but vital and that any other argument was fundamentally flawed. Education was then (and I think to a certain degree, always will be) criticised for the lack of creativity in its range of subjects. Criticism was aimed not only at the content of the curriculum, but also at the â€˜factory production lineâ€™ approach that seeks to measure children at given points, purporting to compare like for like. It is accepted that creativity exists within Art & Design, but it is not exploited enough nor are the processes examined for potential crossover with traditional academic subjects such as English, Mathematics or Science. Subjects, instead, are driven by their own subject groups and specialisms. Whilst training to become a teacher I met many disenfranchised children that were neither engaged nor motivated by any part of their schooling. This problem was less
marked in Art & Design, purely because it was seen as more of an opportunity for fun, but nevertheless even here motivation issues existed. When the basic requirement of ‘drawing’ was raised, the unmotivated pupil would simply say ‘I can’t draw’. As a student of teaching I was intrigued (and worried for my own sake) by this ‘door closing’ statement. Given that classroom management was a major part of the success or failure of my training I very quickly set out to find a solution. This solution, at times, was met with raised eyebrows by some of my tutors - but then (nearing the end of the 1990s) the National Curriculum for Art & Design had changed and one new element in particular seemed to support my theory: talking about Art & Design in the classroom. In my teaching groups I responded to the ‘can’t draw’ statement by saying that it did not matter if they could not draw. The silence that followed this was always intriguing, but rather than overplay the moment I qualified it by telling the students that there were many ways to be creative. Drawing was just one of them and I challenged them to think
of other ways. In building this approach, talking about Art & Design to generate ideas was a central argument in fighting my corner. Slowly, it began to take hold in my lessons. Children became used to the fact that I would section off part of the lesson to talk about creativity â€“ and they joined in. This led to a greater engagement in the practical part of the lesson. As a result of trying to change the mindset of children I noticed a marked difference in their behaviour and their attitude, meaning higher motivation levels. The focus on ideas and discussion made up the structure of my thesis. As well as conducting desk-based research into metacognitive approaches to teaching in an Art & Design environment I began to monitor key groups of pupils both in and out of my classes. I monitored their behaviour in other subject areas such as English and Maths. Having a â€˜winâ€™ in one area was beginning to have a knock-on effect and what came with this relatively small study was dialogues between teachers, including inter-disciplinary projects.
During my training, and in the subsequent years when I taught, I was fortunate to be placed in large urban schools with wide socio-economic distributions of pupils from a range of backgrounds. This allowed me to extend the theory into practice from teacher training to the front line. Of course problems did occur. In some cases my stance on drawing was frowned upon by other Art teachers. Also, with cross-curricular work, the inevitable issue of styles of teaching created barriers. This is not to say that my style of teaching was the only way - far from it - children need to be exposed to a wide variety of teaching styles in order to become used to different approaches. The way the problem manifested itself was not unlike the problems large companies face with matrix management styles. One size does not fit all. One other criticism I faced centred on grading. Much of the focus was on the all-important A grade (or A* since 1994 in the UK). Teaching colleagues would raise concerns about too much focus on discussion and less on â€˜workâ€™ leading to lower A grade averages. Indeed, in some cases, other teachers were able to
attain a better A grade average, but I was convinced that this was the student learning the system rather than learning the subject. Despite all this, my teaching was enhanced and so were my lessons and the pupils I taught. However, I did realise that my preference for teaching was from reality rather than a set curriculum. I respected the set curriculum, but my interest in new emerging trends, because of my freelance Design work and Art Practice led to my departure from secondary into tertiary education. It was at this point in my career in teaching and lecturing that I noticed the gulf â€“ definition-wise - between Art & Design. Creativity existed in both Art and Design, but the definitions for each were very different and the more I seemed to find out about the two, the further apart they appeared. I needed to ascertain exactly what these differences were. This of course led to the challenging and â€“ in reality â€“ impossible task of defining the two.
02: The Difficulty with Definitions Instead of trying to define Art and then Design I started to consider each in its own right. I began to observe the working habits of Artists and Designers (including my own practice which sat, then, uneasily between the two). It was clear that thinking outside of specialist subject areas was easier said than done, especially if a person had been working in that field for decades. Also, the application of â€˜practiceâ€™ with Artists is very different to that of Designers. Rather than identify these differences, I decided that it was better to reverse the roles to help understand them. By way of explanation, I will digress with some examples I use when I am teaching. Imagine if a Designer was given a brief or employed by a client to design something with absolutely no purpose. How would that feel? A designer goes through training to learn processes that lead to an end - but here we are saying there is no end.
This reverse psychology technique is useful for students and it is one I employ to get them to think alternatively or ‘outside the box’. I originally picked this technique up from a lecture I received as an undergraduate student from a visiting Art Director: an alumnus of my University. He was very well known at the time, and had worked on everything from television advertising to branding. He was very charismatic and as an alumnus of the University was very keen to support the students. After lengthy discussions and stories about six figure budgets and high-end clients he made one simple statement that had great impact: You are free - freer now that you will ever be. Right now you have the blankest canvas an artist will ever have. I don’t. I’m constrained by the needs of clients and their dictates. In some respects I wish I were back here to have that freedom again. I’m envious of you. Today, as a Designer and Educator, I am in a position to challenge this statement (and I will return to this point later) however, at the time I was amazed by his revelation. We
all wanted what he had - but here he was wishing it away only to be back with us. Indeed it was an illuminating observation that made me consider the notion of freedom in Design and the power of looking at life through others’ perspectives. It also gave me the idea about trying to make students see the world from other practitioners’ points of view. Indeed I have done so with artists by saying the following: Imagine if a client was placed in your studio and a client brief produced for you. Rules were outlined on this brief - two colours only, one specific font, adhere to this size and avoid certain materials. The budget is constrained and each week you must report to a client manager and give an update (verbal and written). The reactions of Artists to this proclamation are very interesting, sometimes even aggressive – very different from Designers’ reactions to the reverse scenario for them previously described.
Apart from the traditional way of showing and selling Art in galleries, the most common work for an Artist is a commission: that is, somebody or an organisation commissions an Artist to create a piece of Artwork and install it in a location. In most cases the Artist usually has freedom, however there will usually be some specific requirements to adhere to. An Artist would want freedom or else why commission an Artist in the first place? One would hope an Artist is being commissioned because they have freedom and that they will push the boundaries of the commission to create something exciting and new. In austerity periods, both Artists and Designers have thrown themselves at all sorts of projects, even if their training is not in line with the task at hand. With the repetition of recessions in the latter half of the 20th and the beginning of the 21st centuries, this very push has brought about a spirit of collaboration that has made Artists and Designers work outside their trained remits, even if they did not want to. Simply
put: they needed the work. It is this very push that I believe has made definitions of Art & Design blurred and has revealed itself in very interesting ways. This is extremely important, as Art & Design need new directions and pathways. They are hard to find in silos.
03: Bridging Of the two, Art is the trickier to define again, this is because it is in a constant state of flux, based in expression (very personal) rather than function (like Design). This is not to say that Design is more simplistic. It is actually very complex and with many layers. It is easier to find definitions because unlike Artists, a Designer (usually) starts out with the end in mind (even if the end product does not resemble what was in mind in the first place). All of this is also affected by context. As a practising Artist I have spent more time defining what actually happens when making Art rather than creating a definition for the subject. Eventually this led me to an
enquiry about what happens when an Artist does the work of a Designer and vice versa. How would the other’s process change the outcome of a final work? Were there benefits for doing this and could a model or modus operandi be created to aid the process? These questions led me to develop a simple ‘bridging’ diagram: & Art
Within this diagram we have both processes but also a central bridge or ‘the ampersand’ (as I call it). It is from this bridge that I practise and teach a methodology of reaching up beyond the normal confines of the discipline, to attempt a 360 degree turn by considering how a counterpart would approach an idea, concept or brief. This helps to discourage dogma and narrow-mindedness. The tendency to be bogged down with finding definitions is lost through the focus on alternative opportunities. Creativity is often triggered by alternate viewpoints and this approach uses exactly that tension. It gives
the practitioner a platform from which to survey the directions in which a work of Art or Design might travel. Even if a practitioner is absolute about remaining within their specialism, they will benefit from a trip to the other side. There are extensions to this simple but effective practice. Many Artists and Designers are inspired by things outside the sphere of their own subject: science, literature, astronomy, anthropology, music, and so on. The bridge process above is very easily adopted by adding other subjects. How a scientist or anthropologist would approach an Art or Design project is and should be of great interest to practitioners. It does happen, but most often by chance in my experience. There are further extensions and interesting similarities in other areas. With executive and director level jobs in industry there is a practice known as 360 degree appraisal. This is a rigorous process that happens both at interview stage and during these high level jobs. The process consists of psychometric testing and exhaustive questioning. Periodically, individuals are given 360 degree
feedback. This feedback is not only from their line managers, but also from those they manage: clients, peers, etc, as well as selfevaluation. All of this is then used to steer a coherent plan for the individual which, if done correctly, should give them and the organisation the optimum performance model for that role. This process of feedback is not unlike what Art & Design practitioners call ‘reflective practice’. This happens when the practitioner reviews their work over a period of time (reviewing sketchbooks and preliminary ideas) and in doing so actively observes how their processes are developing. The main difference is that for Artists and Designers it happens much more frequently (or at least it should). In an Art & Design college environment this would include peer and tutor review. When the student leaves the college environment they would need to continue this practice. Practitioners who properly engage with this process benefit as it is very much like the executive 360 degree appraisal. As Shakespeare advised ‘This above all: to thine own self be true’. Often, we go
about our work thinking it looks a particular way, when actually it looks like something totally different. This is because objectivity is absent or lacking and indeed is one of the biggest challenges for practitioners. Psychologists have coined the term ‘cognitive dissonance’. People naturally feel uncomfortable when faced with truths about how they work or operate in given scenarios that do not chime with their own perceptions. It is extremely hard to be self-objective and indeed this problem is at the heart of many missed management opportunities to the detriment of creative ideas that never see the light of day. I believe this problem can be solved by the ampersand or bridge process. The reflection is enhanced if the practitioners consider how their counterpart would approach a project. The benefits of having this ‘empathetic approach’ are very similar to positive 360 degree appraisal outcomes. A manager learns to manage their processes better if they have empathy for their co-
workers. Empathy and understanding also give Art & Design practitioners better outputs that are broader in scope.
04: Visual Language Over the years I found it hard to find compatible or even sympathetic literature to back up this modest idea of bridging or using the ampersand to enhance the creative process. I was sure that there must be more discerning voices than my own on this subject. Many of the books that I read as a student, a teacher and a practitioner hinted at relationship issues but none seemed to focus centrally on the subject. This was disappointing as over my lifetime I have seen recessions and it is the Arts that always suffer, whereas Design does considerably better because of the utilitarian nature of the industry. This is fine and probably not many people will lose sleep over this fact, but I am confident that when Art suffers as a result of recession (cuts and a downturn in student applications to Art Schools) Design also suffers. I believe that this happens because
Art is essential in creating an environment where ideas can flourish without inhibition. Again, there are many books and contemporary papers on the impact of recession on Art & Design, but none that focuses on the relationship between the two and what we can do, collectively, to combat the fundamental challenges. There are many books on the Bauhaus School of Art & Design that celebrate the unilateral approach it had (and still does have to this day) to teaching. However these books are more interested in the historical placement of the Bauhaus and the movements it influenced. As a passionate follower of the Bauhaus I did eventually come across one book that seemed to help galvanise my thoughts and give credence to what I was thinking. Donis A Dondisâ€™s book, A Primer of Visual Literacy (published in 1973 and now sadly out of print) did this for me. The book united Art & Design like nothing I have ever read before. Of course this was helped by the Bauhaus being a central theme, but more importantly the author made predictions about the importance of imagery in future years:
It is quite likely that visual literacy will be one of the most fundamental measures of education in the last third of our century... Dondis was quite right in this simple observation. This visual literacy is extremely important today. We digest the majority of our communications visually, in virtual realities that try to imitate reality. Our children are already engaged, from infancy, in multi-media aided two-dimensional augmented interfaces that rely on visuals. In almost an instinctual way we react to contemporary visual stimuli as if they have always been there (perhaps our brains have always craved the touch screen world, like cave painters using their fingers) but yet we do not fully understand the nuances of this ever-changing language that binds us together. Dondis understood this extremely well and within her book there is a subtext alluding to the possible decoding of our visual language. A true visual literacy is very hard to create, but it can be learnt via observation of the relationship between Art & Design. Dondis
gives an example of the balance between the ‘subjective and the objective approach of the Artist’. She referred to this as, ‘a comparable balance between pure artistic expression and utility of purpose’. Simply put, she believes the perfect Artwork that remains an Artwork also serves a purpose, therefore it is composed of Design properties. Dondis cites Michelangelo’s fresco for the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel. This work has been considered and studied for centuries as Art but yet at the time served the very specific purpose of explaining the then Pope and Church’s view on ‘Creation’ to a largely illiterate population. This approach helps open up the debate about a work of Art, especially if viewed from Dondis’ perspective. Does an Artwork have to be free of purpose to be an Artwork? Is this statement itself a contradiction in terms as Art has had many definitions throughout history? From the period of the publication of Dondis’ book (1973) there have been many changes in the Art & Design world. For example, the
overall voice is no longer predominantly masculine. Art History books prior to this point were mostly men talking about men. There are similar gaps in Art & Design history in terms of race, disability, sexual orientation, and so on. Progress in Art & Design has been good over the last 40 years, but not evenly spread across the world and by no means nearing consistently satisfactory levels of quality. Nevertheless there is now a wider audience for Art & Design and this is welcome and useful in this survey of the relationship. There is still, however, a pervading mist around Art & Design â€“ many people hide behind verbose definitions of the two. This only serves to hold back progress and exclude new audiences, participants and possibilities.
05: Creativity and Divergent Thinking Sir Ken Robinson, an English author and advisor to the UK Government, is very well known for his ideas on education: in particular the importance of nurturing creativity rather than suppressing it. Over the years he has been critical of antiquated models of education that pigeonhole pupils into sets that group them by age and educate in mechanistic and factory-like ways. With huge changes in technology and communications in recent times, Robinson welcomes the need for a ‘paradigm shift’ in how education is delivered. Instead of pupils losing their creativity and learning to fear mistakes he wants the opposite. Children are born with awe and wonderment, a natural gift of appreciating simple things and a willingness to ‘have a go’ at difficult problems without fear. Robinson warns about outdated forms of education, dating back to industrial and enlightenment periods in history, that are crushing the spirits of pupils who need to keep their creative instincts. In this new and ever-growing
visually dominated digital environment his concerns have a particular poignancy. He asks a very simple question: are we preparing our children for the future? Robinson understands the fear many people have of the word ‘creative’. To help with this he has engaged with this subject in two ways: through books and, more importantly, via his online lectures on the subject (viewed by millions of people worldwide). Firstly he defines creativity in simple terms as ‘the process of having original ideas that have worth’. He then introduces ‘divergent thinking’, as linked to, but not the same as, creativity. He describes this as having an ‘essential capacity for creativity’. I once heard a music teacher rebuke adults who said they could not sing. She asked them if they could remember singing as a child at school – they said yes. She then exclaimed that they always could sing but had forgotten or, more importantly, lost their confidence as they grew older. This is very much linked to Robinson’s comment about fear. Young children are much more likely
to take risks as they do not understand fear or failure. As adults we fear mistakes, as we believe they lead directly to failure. Robinson states that this has led to many industries and businesses to work in a culture that â€˜stigmatises mistakesâ€™. To a certain extent, Art & Design does not have this problem as much as other subjects, as creativity is an essential component. However, within the Design industry there are degrees of this stigmatisation by mistake. In the Art World many Artists have been lambasted by critics, only later (and sadly sometimes too late) to be vindicated as the value of their work reveals itself through time. Inevitably commercialism, the need to make money and capital worth supersede the creative process and mistakes are seen as hold ups in the production line and thus a loss. Robinson is right to warn us about this and that we should be valuing creativity and risk-taking much more highly than the aforementioned money driven benchmarks. If we compromise on this then we run the risk of mediocrity in the future.
The definitions of creativity within Art and then within Design, it would appear, are very different – at least on the surface. Having the luxury of teaching across both areas as a lecturer has given me the opportunity to discuss this with students. Interestingly Art students seem to accept creativity, but as a ‘given’ not something special. What is more important and special to them is the emotional relationship they have with their work. Designers see creativity in slightly more commercial ways but the process is still very organic and ‘inspiration time’ is essential. Time of course is money and therefore this ‘inspiration time’ can quickly become a commodity with cash value. For the Art & Design sector, Robinson’s concerns about creativity are perhaps not as worrying as they are for other subjects; but it is clear he is reaching out to the Arts in general for help. Until Artists & Designers can clearly understand their differences and shared qualities, in relation to creativity and divergent thinking, we will be unable to assist Robinson fully in his quest. Again,
it is not definitions that are being sought, but a bedrock of understanding and mutual appreciation bringing the two disciplines closer together.
06: Working and Practice Now to return to the Art Director that visited my university when I was an undergraduate, in particular his comment about being jealous of us without constraints from clients. Of course he is right about this (and I can vouch for this in my professional career) but there is an important point to make. The challenge, as Dondis exemplified with her commentary on Michelangeloâ€™s work for the Sistine chapel, is to challenge the client, not fight them, to make the best work. This can take some doing as clients can be quite strong-minded and they hold the purse strings. Also, their inexperience can lead to â€˜rookie errorsâ€™. They do not have the unique insight an Artist or Designer will have in considering the entire picture. However, there is a flip side to this as sometimes the client will make observations
and suggestions that are essential to the successful conclusion of a Design. In my very first job as a Designer I was given the humble job of branding a restaurant menu. In the agency I worked in I had a client manager. As a student I was always of the impression that I would work directly with the client. This was not so in my first job: the in-house client manager would meet with the client, working out pricing and allocating hours. The Designer role was a third party to this process. He allocated three hours design time to this job. This seemed rather short to me having just graduated and even more perplexing was that there were no images or any details to work with. There was only the typed menu and a business card. When I asked what the client was looking for he said ‘a menu, the details are on the brief’. The brief consisted of a one line instruction and the print run (with the menu faxed as a separate sheet below). My client manager scoffed when I asked to pay the restaurant a visit - ‘there is no allocated time or money for that’. Here I was after four years of study with a scrap of paper, no images and a terse
instruction. In order for my first design for the agency to be worthy I knew I had to break out of these restrictions. That evening I travelled to the restaurant which was out of the city. When I got there I was amazed at how wonderful the place was. It was not part of a â€˜chainâ€™ and therefore had a unique and individual charm about it. I was spotted by the owner with my single lens reflector camera so I introduced myself. He was surprised and pleased that I had come down to see the restaurant. He showed me the memorabilia items he had sourced from around the bin that he had collected and now decorated the restaurant with. He gave me a guided tour, explained the rationale for his approach as a restaurateur and gave me supper on the house. I took plenty of photos and on the way home had them processed in the one-hour chemists and began to draw up a range of design ideas in my sketchbook. The next morning I arrived early at work, I scanned in the photos and created a series of cut outs and devised a colour scheme. I used my sketchbook to inform my final idea
and by 10am I had a screen version ready for my first rough print. The other designers arrived and were impressed not only by the images that I had taken but by the sketchbook work (something they had moved away from) and schema for the design. The client manager arrived at 11am to check on my progress and he was blown away by the design - as was the client when they saw the initial rough draft (in a meeting I was excluded from). Later that week and thereafter, I convinced the Art Director of the Agency and the client manager that it was important for the Designer to get an understanding and direction from the client. Although the client manager understood the finance, it was the Designer who needed source material to create good Design. Also, knowing the personality of the client was important - small things like their music tastes or where they have travelled can give important cues for design ideas. This â€˜artisticâ€™ approach was not totally welcomed by the Agency as they wanted the client manager to be the face of the business:
someone who could negotiate the best rate and be out and about looking for new clients. They also had big corporate clients like television corporations. I understood this but via good outputs and happy clients I managed to get at least one meeting with the client during the process which focused on the Design ideas. When I have been commissioned to create Art, the idea of not knowing the person or patron setting the project, in a close way, would be illogical. Analytical drawing is all about close study of an object or person so that you can bring out inner qualities in the final work. This is why portraits are always analysed in terms of what the artist was trying to capture or say about the person they are portraying. Actors have done the same. Constantin Stanislavsky, the Russian actor and Theatre Director, inspired many actors to observe the people they portrayed in a close analytical fashion. Modern actors still engage with this process, sometimes to extremes, living with
people they are portraying and staying in character during productions. This can lead to very realistic performances in film and on stage, if executed correctly. All of these points reveal the importance of close study but more importantly, the value of looking through the eyes of others, creating empathy, searching for detailed knowledge and trying to view the world in different ways from the prescribed norms of your primary practice. In terms of the Art Director who wanted to be free from client constraints - yes, it can be a problem. But it can be easily turned into something positive: the client and the Designer working together. Or even better the designer (or artist) working in such a way that they are considered part of the team and not just working for the client.
07: Some Conclusions Artists and Designers are good at what they do because of the polymathic life that they live. What binds the two together is their love of (and frustrations with) life and how their work sits within it. Their subject is their passion but more importantly, they all have sources of inspiration: things that are not necessarily related to their work but are nonetheless motivators and sources feeding into their outputs. There are many practitioners in the world today that work across Art & Design. There are too many to mention in this text and if I were to cite some, there would always be some left out. What is important is to acknowledge that it is happening and hopefully to give guidance on how it can continue to do so. What is worrying is the need that some have to pigeonhole people into a genre or specific job. There is a snobbish attitude towards creative individuals that study either Art or Design and who later cross boundaries. I have heard people say “you’re an Artist what do you know about design?” or “you can’t
make Art, you’re a designer”. These types of attitudes are harmful and may demonstrate humans’ need to box people into narrow definitions. A bit like Robinson’s factory production-line schooling, we are obsessed with saying this person is A and they cannot do B and that is that. Art & Design have made magnificent contributions to the world we live in and it will continue to do so. I believe they are still in their infancy and need to develop into something yet higher. We are living through unique and unprecedented technological times with great progress made in the last 100 years. However, there are barriers to further progression. Collaboration and crossdisciplinary opportunities are hampered by lack of empathy for each other. The need to win, to box people into categories and to stigmatise mistakes are serious impediments to progress. Negative cognitive dissonance is evident in working relationships, regional, national and world politics. It is very easy to misunderstand each other and extremely
hard to see othersâ€™ points of view without objectivity. Art & Design are free from parameters and can engage with reflective practice that enhances empathetic viewpoints. This happens best when the two disciplines are set closely together without fear of the ampersand but in a celebration of its unifying existence.