Q-Art is an art education research, publishing, and events organisation that aims to break down the barriers to art education and contemporary art. We work in partnership with art schools, museums, galleries and arts organisations throughout the UK. We ask questions, share insight, and facilitate debate across the art education sector through books, symposia, talks, workshops, videos and crits.
Q-Art was founded by Sarah Rowles in 2008 whilst she was an art student at Goldsmiths, in response to the obstacles she faced entering and then progressing through art education. The Q-Art team has been formed organically since this time from enthusiastic Q-Art participants who each share the ethos and ambitions of the organisation.
The ‘Q’ in Q-Art stands for ‘Question’ and asking and questions is at the centre of what we do as an organisation:
For our publications and videos we interview art art staff and industry professionals throughout the UK with questions that aim to share and inspire practice and bring to light the often implicit or unspoken aspects and value systems of fine art pedagogy and the field as a whole.
The interviews form the basis of our symposia where we launch our books and invite participants from the books to discuss key topics alongside a cross-sector audience.
The insight we gain from our books also inform an ongoing series of workshops, talks, and specialist projects & commissions that we run for various art colleges, museums and galleries throughout the UK.
Explore our website to find out more about our activities and how you can get involved.
Through our various activities our mission is to:
- Provide prospective further and higher education art students with information about what is offered by a fine art education so that they know what to expect and can be better prepared for entry into art school.
- Provide tools for current further and higher education art students that help them navigate their curriculum and prepare for life after art school.
- Deconstruct art-world authority systems and empower in students and others a sense of agency.
- Inspire staff at secondary, further and higher education level by facilitating dialogue and sharing approaches to teaching snd learning across the sector.
At the heart of the organisation is a belief that everyone, regardless of their physical ability, socio-economic or ethnic background, should be able to engage with art and art education confidently and without inhibition.
- We are an independent and impartial organisation that partners with art colleges, arts organisations, museums, and galleries to deliver our research and activity and reach the widest audience possible.
- We are interested in the pedagogy and sociology of art education. As well as researching the various histories and approaches to teaching art, we ask questions that allow us to explore topics that impact student learning and experience in art at further and higher education level including: access to art education and widening participation; staff biographies and career paths; fine art pedagogy; value judgements in art school and industry; and professional practice.
- We share knowledge and facilitate dialogue across arts communities including school, FE and HE students and staff; artists; and other arts organisations.
- We value and actively promote equality and diversity within the visual arts by encouraging people from all backgrounds, ages and perspectives to engage with art.
- The value of art education:
We believe that art education can impact positively on people’s lives and advocate that it should be accessible to all. From our research and experience we see that aspects of art education can enable people to challenge assumptions, reflect critically and problem solve. It can build in people qualities for resilience, independent working and a capacity to adapt to changing circumstances. It can give people the time, space and freedom to explore ideas, imagine new possibilities, and discover and pursue their interests. It can develop communication skills and give people the opportunity to learn from and acknowledge the interpretation and perspective of others.
- Barriers to accessing art education:
Despite the fact that many of these qualities are known in the sector and those that have been through art education (particularly at FE and HE level), outside of this sector the discipline is largely misrepresented and misunderstood. Because of this, many people who might benefit from an art education are not afforded the opportunity and many people who do enter may at first struggle to navigate their education because they hadn’t been aware sooner of what to expect – both in terms of how they would be taught and why.
As of November 2017 :
• We had sold 3,578 copies of our publications • 2,637 artists had participated in and 420 artists had presented in 69 crits • 300 artists had exhibited in 6 annual exhibitions • 942 individuals had attended and 90 staff had presented at 8 book launches and symposia • 1220 secondary school students had participated in 81 ‘Introduction to the Crit’ workshops • 320 individuals had attended 7 gallery tours • 204 professionals from other sectors had participated in 12 corporate workshops • 105 undergraduate staff had attended 5 ‘Facilitating Crits’ workshops • 65 undergraduate students had participated in 3 ‘Negotiating the Crit’ workshops • 40 Secondary School staff had participated in 2 ‘Introducing the Crit into the Curriculum’ workshops • We have run 8 fully accessible British Sign Language Interpreted Crits with Shape Arts • We have delivered 32 talks to Higher Education Staff at training events and secotr conferences and 27 talks to undergraduate and postgraduate students.
For more information, read a copy of our 2008-2017 Progress Report.
In November 2018 we’ll hit our 10-year anniversary. As we approach this we will be reflecting on our achievements to date and seeking advice and guidance from those we have worked with about how we might best lead the organisation forward and achieve financial stability for the organisation. In time we’d like to expand our research of art education pedagogy beyond the UK so that we can learn about and share approaches and ideas across an international community of art educators.
We hope that you continue to support us on this journey!
Our team is made up of individuals who share the aims and ethos of the organisation. As well as working with Q-Art, we are all practitioners working in a diverse range of fields.
I set up Q-Art in 2008 whilst a BA fine art student at Goldsmiths in order to break down the barriers to art education and contemporary art and share practice across art schools. I was motivated to set up the organisation in response to the barriers – tangible and intangible – that I faced as a first generation student entering and then progressing through undergraduate level fine art education. In addition to running Q-Art I also work as a freelance researcher, and have worked for The Glasgow School of Art, The Council for Higher Education in Art & Design (CHEAD), The Higher Education Academy, The Arts Society, and a-n. In September 2017 I began a Doctorate in Education (EdD) at the Institute of Education, University College London. I am an Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy, a Fellow of the RSA, a WEF Young Global Shaper, and I am on the steering group of the National Association of Fine Art Education (NAFAE).
I graduated from Goldsmiths in 2010 and have been involved with Q-Art ever since. I share our goal of breaking down barriers to art education and the contemporary art world. I am particularly concerned about the arts being undervalued and squeezed out of compulsory education, and the impact this has on access to art education at FE and HE level.
I love being involved in Q-Art’s Talking about art workshops, where we encourage young people to engage with work in galleries and museums on their own terms. Seeing them gain the confidence to bring their own references to their interpretations with enthusiasm is always inspiring. As well as working with Q-Art I run children’s art clubs at my local community centre. I also devise and run curriculum-linked art projects in schools and work with Accessart – providers of inspirational resources for teachers of art. You can see my directory page here. I hold a City and Guilds Level 3 Qualification in Teaching and Training, and an enhanced DBS check.
Crit Manager and Facilitator
I graduated from The Cass in 2013 at the age of 43. As a mature student I embraced my art education, living out my art school fantasy to its fullest potential. I now consider myself an outsider who has experienced education! My involvement with Q-Art has helped answer and raise questions within my own practice and has given me the confidence to speak out during critiques and engage with all art mediums. Through Q-Art I hope to encourage others to not be afraid to say what they are really thinking when they look at and experience contemporary art. Outside of Q-Art I also run CAVE – a community supported space in Pimlico, and work for ETAT (Encouragement Through the Arts and Talking).
I’m an artist, curator and foundation tutor at Kensington and Chelsea College . I have a PGCE in post-compulsory education from the Institute of Education, a BA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths College, and I am currently studying for an MA in Contemporary Art Theory also at Goldsmiths. I believe that art education is valuable as a means to engage with the world in a particularly meaningful way. I am interested in how and where it achieves this and how to replicate and share it, particularly in a climate where the arts and art education are under threat. I have worked as part of the Q-Art team since 2012 facilitating crits and workshops, and enjoy it enormously.
Admin Assistant and Workshop Facilitator
In 2015 I graduated from CSM with a degree in Fine Art. I first became involved with Q-Art as a volunteer university representative, supporting the Q-Art crit programme. I was attracted to the organisation because of its goal to widen understanding and participation in the arts and arts education. I am also the founder of a curatorial project named G George, and launched its first project, an online listening gallery, in Autumn 2015. As well as working for Q-Art I also work for the Society of Research into Higher Education.
Video and Copy Editor
I started coming to Q-Art Crits first as an observer, and then began presenting in 2012. I enjoy the variety of practices and people that join the crits and the interesting tangents discussions can take. I am a practicing artist and create sculptures, installations and performances focusing on our daily patterns, specifically our methods of communicating. I graduated from Chelsea College of Arts in 2012, and also hold a BA/MA in English Literature from Queen Mary University. Outside of Q-Art I also work as a visiting practitioner on the Graduate Diploma Fine Art course at Chelsea College of Arts.
I have extensive experience in education and teaching having been a Teacher of Modern Languages, Head of Year and a Deputy Head Teacher. I was a founding tutor on the Teach First programme, and have experience in urban education and regeneration. I was Director of Foundation for Raising Achievement, a cross-borough regeneration project with Tower Hamlets, Newham, Bexley, Greenwhich and Lewisham. I hold a BA in Fine Art from the Cass School of Art, an MSc in Psychological Assessment in Organisations, an MIL in French, a postgraduate Diploma in Linguistics and have Qualified Teacher Status.
I presented in Q-Art’s second ever crit at Central Saint Martins and was the curator of Q-Art’s annual exhibition from 2010-2014. I have been a practicing artist and independent curator since 2009, having previously taught Spanish and English. I have worked as a translator, being fluent in Spanish and French and can read Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Japanese and German. I hold a BA in Fine Art from Goldsmiths, a BA in Linguistics from Universidad Complutense and a Postgraduate Diploma from the University of Westminster.
With thanks also to: previous contributors to the Q-Art team – Emily Wallis, Craig Edwards, Charlie Wainwright, Peng Zuqiang, Jeff Ko; our designer Jens Dan Johansen; our website team Amy Downes, Jonas Skafte, Krishen Kanadia, and our workshop facilitator Jheni Arboine (profile coming soon).