The Pedagogy of Pressure

Barwick, Tom (2015) The Pedagogy of Pressure. In: Pedrio Teaching & Learning Conference, July 2015, Plymouth University.

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Abstract / Summary


The concept of the 24hr comic book was conceived in 1990 when comic theorist Scott McCloud challenged Illustrator Steve Bisette to create a 24 page comic book alone over 24 hours. The work Bisette made was documented in the comic Cerberus and the concept began to gain momentum within the comic book community in the USA. On April 24th 2004, the first group event took place in comic book stores across North America, successfully fostering the creation of thousands of pages of comics and by 2007 24hr comic book events were taking place in 18 countries, involving over 1,200 artists.

In May 2011 Plymouth University supported Tom Barwick’s participation in a 24hr Comic Book project at the Eden Project, the experience encouraged him to organize a similar event in collaboration with Peninsula Arts at Plymouth University, this event ‘The Leviathan’ took place on the 19th Sept 2012 and was judged to be a real success by the illustration team, leading to a further event in Oct 2013 at Plymouth Museum and Art Gallery devised by BA Illustration course leader Ashley Potter, in which the 24 hours were split into two twelve hour sessions.

Researchers Tom Barwick and Dean Owens noted after both of these events that all of the students who took part, showed a greater level of confidence and created a larger and more comprehensive body of work, than in their normal day-to-day studio activities. The level of productivity was incredible, students were producing work that would of taken six weeks of studio time in a fraction of the time, and the standard of ideas and image making was of almost the same level of professional finish.

Preparation for professional life inherently involves ‘pedagogies of uncertainty’ (Shulman 2005), given that professional environments require not only epistemological grounding in the form of expert knowledge, but also ontologically informed and cognitively creative responses to unknown demands and social situations. In the professional illustration workplace, practitioners are required to have the knowledge and capacity to produce creative responses to client demands under conditions of, often acute, time pressure and as part of a collaborative team. While the need to prepare students holistically for such vocational demands is largely accepted in higher education through an increasing prioritisation of ‘employability’, very little is known about pedagogic practices which can effectively pursue these outcomes, particularly in illustration, where group work and intense time pressure are common in combination.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects: Education
Arts > Illustration
Courses by Department: The Falmouth School of Art > Fine Art
Depositing User: Tom Barwick
Date Deposited: 05 May 2017 14:04
Last Modified: 11 Nov 2022 16:30


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