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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Sources of educational philosophy implemented in western Canadian art galleries : an analysis of the educational, curatorial and institutional educative philosophy of seven western Canadian art galleries and its effect on the organizational structure of art institutions in the 1980's Campbell, Nancy


The problem of this study was to explicate both the curatorial and art educational philosophies that underlie educative programming in seven western Canadian art galleries. The underlying premise of the study, reflecting the literature of the field, was that curatorial and art educational philosophies within the art institution were not congruent. This perceived incongruency was believed to be the cause of art institutions to fall short of their task to interpret art and exhibition to the public successfully. As a result of this premise information regarding the nature of this incongruency needed to be collected. Related information regarding the possibility of a cooperative inter-departmental networking of objectives, educational goals and philosophy between curators and educators, as well as an exploration of the organizational structures of the gallery, also needed to be collected. The study employed survey research procedures. The survey was conducted using a questionnaire which was administered by personal and telephone interview to seven curators and seven art educators in seven western Canadian art galleries. The results of the study show that it is not solely the differing philosophical and ideological beliefs of the educators and curators functioning within the art institution which make the development of strong educational gallery programming difficult. It was found that, in general, curators and educators support the educational mission of galleries today, despite differing personal or departmental goals. The larger problem revealed in the study regarding the establishment of a strong educative programme in the art gallery is a problem of tradition, hierarchy in job position, and the basic organizational structure of the gallery itself. The findings show that it is the organization of galleries which has to adapt in order to support the growing educational mission. Implications of these results are discussed and suggestions for further research are outlined.

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