Art Education in the Age of Metrics

10 Mar 2017 – 7 Apr 2017

Regular hours

10:00 – 17:00
11:00 – 16:00
10:00 – 17:00
10:00 – 18:00

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Herbert Read Gallery

United Kingdom, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Travel from London Victoria to Canterbury East Station (1h 13-30mins), then by taxi or foot to the campus (10 minute walk). Canterbury West Station (which is a twenty minute walk from the gallery) is also served by trains from St Pancras and Waterloo (1h
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Four artists ask the question: 'Are metrics (the standards by which efficiency, performance, and progress are measured) useful or relevant within the context of art education?


Artist Simon Merrifield will be presenting a specially commissioned online performance about ideas on the subject of employment. Merrifield will produce this digital work using Instagram updates, plus a live feed from other social media about his job life beyond academia.

The Spanish artist Miren Doiz will also be creating a new work, a site-specific installation in the gallery using recycled objects and materials, as well as words and that reflect the introduction of an “entrepreneurship culture” in art education.    

British artist Redmond Entwistle’s film Walk-Through (2012), set in the California Institute of the Arts, Los Angeles, focuses on the post-studio classes conducted by Michael Asher. The film juxtaposes archive material with the reflections of the students who took part in those conversation-led courses. 

In Steven Cottingham’s video work Conversations with Eliza (2011), Eliza is a computer able to take on the role of an art tutor. Cottingham can be heard talking to Eliza who is emulating a Rogerian psychotherapist (person-centered talk therapist), restructuring answers into questions and thus stimulating lines of conversation. Alarmingly the work points to a possible future for art education

In the book Teaching Art in the Neoliberal Realm, Pascal Gielen and Paul De Bruyne argue that neoliberalism practices a “fundamentalism of measurability,” and that, as a result, what “cannot be measured will be more difficult to legitimize or honour.”[1] Art education—which values uncertainty more than certainty, failure as well as success, unproductivity rather than simply efficiency—is, therefore, finding itself under scrutiny. Participating artist Simon Merrifield will be exploring the notion that the expectation of having an art education and a subsequent career doesn’t fall into this same measurement

Despite this situation, it might also be possible to consider how the age of metrics can contribute to art education. During the past decades, the “art school” has changed from idealised spaces for learning and making art into institutions where the relation with teachers is supposedly mediated by a service economy.From a different perspective, however, art schools were, to a great extent, unaware, unable, or unwilling to respond to the difficulties that many of their community members experienced. The age of metrics is, despite its evils, also the time of student-centred learning (including its egalitarian agenda), of the student support services (raising awareness about learning difficulties like dyslexia), and of accountability.

Art Education in the Age of Metrics tries to explore how we teach and learn art in the present day through the proposals of a series of agents with multiple identities: artists, architects, researchers, peer-groups, students, and teachers. It is an invitation to consider the pros and cons of the current paradigm of art education.

[1] Pascal Gielen and Paul De Bruyne (eds.), Teaching Art in the Neoliberal Realm. Realism versus Cynicism, (Valiz, Amsterdam, 2012), 5. 



Emma Braso

Exhibiting artistsToggle

Redmond Entwistle

Steven Cottingham

Miren Doiz

Simon Merrifield


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