Professor Ian Damerell’s book – Unfolding the Cards – contains extremely important and original ideas. The argument is challenging and counter-intuitive… Professor Damerell manages to do so in an interesting “conversation” between practice and theory/philosophy, where theory/philosophy is used to illuminate the practice in a way that brings new dimensions of this practice to light. Professor Damerell reinvents a language of art education that challenges a more traditional language of art education, which, in many ways, clings to essentialism and universalism. Rather, art education should put aside, Damerell argues, the objective to arrive by logical reasoning at some truth. Damerell’s book also challenges (indirectly) typical theories in educational psychology, such as the theory of intrinsic motivation. This is done through the brilliant and original ideas about seduction, which Damerell manages to relate to education.
Instead of telling the students what to strive for Damerell’s art teacher is questioning and challenging the vocabulary of the student. This counter-practice, which is just one possible way of seeing art education, is opposed to the educational language used by the traditional art teacher. Hence, Damerell reinvents a different language of art education, one that takes into account uncertainty, difference, seduction … – so as to create space for reflection, dwelling and thinking. Unfolding the Cards is strong, rich and deep, relevant for art education, original and well-written.
Professor Herner Sæverot
University of Bergen
This monograph of well-known Welsh-Norwegian artist and art professor Ian Damerell fills the gap of a lack of literature on art education directly connected to contemporary art practice. Bearing a profound knowledge of the functioning of today‘s artworld, this is an insider‘s look based on the author‘s vast knowledge of the art scene - a truly international art educator‘s experience of more than thirty years in such art education institutions as Goldsmith‘s in London and Oslo University College. The theoretical side of the book is strengthened by Professor Damerell‘s intimate familiarity with contemporary art theory. I strongly recommend “Unfolding the Cards“ - it will be of great benefit to art students and art educators worldwide.
Arunas Gelunas, Ph D
Former Vice Rector for academic affairs and Minister of Culture of Lithuania
Vilnius Academy of Arts