The legacy of the Bauhaus masters is a living tradition at Hungarian art and design academies and in the training of architects as well. However, for public education, their pedagogical heritage has been largely undiscovered yet. The name of Laszlo Moholy-Nagy in the title of the research program refers to this important and, for public education, still unutilised legacy of Hungarian art education: educational theories and practices of the Hungarian masters of the German arts and crafts college, the Bauhaus. Their pedagogy involves communicative, practice oriented use of the visual language, collaborative creation and synergy of art, design and industry: practical applications of creative ideas. At the Bauhaus, the Hungarian masters introduced contemporary technologies, experimented with solarisation, introduced creative task sequences for the in-depth, aesthetic and scientific study of materials and integrated aesthetic practice of music, drama and dance in the training of visual artists.
Our discipline is integrative, as it supports the acquisition of disciplines in science or liberal arts through visualisations that provide new insights through explaining relations, connections and processes. The multifaceted role of images is highlighted in the classic work of György (Georg) Kepes, „The New Landscape in Art and Science”(1956). We want to utilise the interdisciplinary power of images in our programs, but at the same time, retain the creative, art-related focus of art and design education. Based on the rich repository of innovative ideas of Bauhaus pedagogy, our research group develops curricular modules to map four areas of the discipline called „Visual culture” of the Hungarian Core Curriculum:
- Visual communication: symbolic and functional use of images, infographics and scientific visualisations build bridges among the arts and Information and Communication Technologies.
- Visual media in art education: expressive use of digital photo and graphic arts, video art, combination of traditional and novel expressive techniques: creation of multimedia and intermedia works.
- Environment and design: responding to socially and / or personally relevant issues through aesthetic practice, solving problems through design, shaping the immediate environment
- Contemporary visual arts: understanding artists, genres, themes, exhibitions and performances through creation, interpretation and analysis of works and the activities of their creators.
Each Moholy-Nagy curriculum module covers approximately 50 % of the teaching content of the discipline. &The skills structure and the assessment system is based on the European Visual Literacy Framework (Wagner & Schönau, 2016, Schönau & Kárpáti, 2019) and Hungarian research on the development of visual skills and abilities. Our previous assessment projects indicate that a more focused training that targets one substantial area of visual culture (instead of covering several), develops the whole structure of visual competency more effectively than superfluous introduction to several genres and art forms. The legacy of the Hungarian masters of the Bauhaus also indicates that experimenting with art forms, techniques, materials an themes starting with creative play in primary grades and ending in the acquisition of models for creation like Design Thinking, should be the main methods of art and design education – and these activities need time.
Modular structure in curriculum design is a new system for developing an art education program. Our National Core Curriculum (2019) involves a wide variety of visual art forms, genres, techniques and themes, which are difficult to even mention in the 45-minute weekly art classes. Our modules provide a deeper understanding of fewer thematic areas. They may be used in conjunction with other art contents of the Hungarian Core Curriculum. This way, a flexible teaching environment is created for art educators who may select one or two modules as a focus and thus emphasize local culture, personal interests and educational needs of their students.
Media arts are compulsory parts of our curricular modules insofar as the contents of the discipline called “Film and Media Theory” has been largely integrated in the discipline for art education called Visual Culture. This merger was introduced in 2015, without piloting or in-service education programs, or even the development of educational materials. Therefore, the pedagogical program for Module 2, Media in art education, may fill a gap in the whole country. When properly piloted, evaluated and adapted, the teaching and learning programs based on this module may be used as starting points for the development of regional and local programs for the new, integrated arts and media discipline. We believe that traditional values of Hungarian art education curricula like development of creativity through visual culture based (not just arts-related) project tasks and the emphasis of technical proficiency, should be safeguarded. At the same time, emerging content areas like multimedia and intermedia that dominate the art scene today and other collaborative, often interdisciplinary art genres should be integrated to facilitate the development of a new generation of art lovers and visual language users.
Problem solving through the Design Based Thinking model that involves
- research about the history, social significance, personal value or symbolic meaning of the issue selected for creation or construction,
- experiments with materials and techniques,
- testing ideas on stakeholders / users / friends,
- reconsidering possible solutions and incorporation of feedback received,
- selecting the best plan, design or sketch,
- realisation of the expressive work or modelling the product,
- presenting for an interested and knowledgeable community,
- getting inspired by their remarks and shifting focus to new problems… and the Design Based Thinking cycle starts again.
In the fall of the first year of our project, 2016, we formed four project groups consisting of members of five Hungarian universities that offer a Masters’ degree program in Art Education (The project management invited members to work in a module group based in their relevant expertise). Each group undertook the development of a pedagogical guideline for one of the module.) The RESEARCH RESULTS section describes accomplishments in every experimental year. Information about the members of our research group and their schools are on the RESEARCH GROUP MEMBERS, SCHOOLS page (link az aloldalra). Our papers and presentations are accessible through the PUBLICATIONS subpage.