Fine Art

Sarah Rowles

Lecturer - BA (Hons) Fine Art Theory – Fine Art

Biography

Sarah is an arts education researcher that has conducted pedagogic research for The Higher Education Academy, The Council for Higher Education Art and Design, The Glasgow School of Art, a-n, and The Arts Society. In 2017 she began an Ed D at the Institute of Education, University College London where she is currently researching fine art student career aspirations and attitudes towards professional practice. Her specialist interest areas are fine art pedagogy and access and inclusion in the creative industries. 

Sarah is the Director of Q-Art, a publishing and events organisation that she set up in 2008 whilst studying fine art at Goldsmiths, as a vehicle to ask questions of and break down the barriers to art education and the contemporary art world. Through the organisation Sarah has organised and facilitated cross-sector symposia at the Victoria & Albert Museum, The Glasgow School of Art, Chelsea College of Art, Swansea College of Art, the Venice Biennale and Hauser & Wirth Gallery, London. She has designed and facilitated outreach workshops in partnership with The Sorrell Foundation, the Whitechapel Gallery and the Tate. And she has authored Q-Art’s five publications 11 Course Leaders: 20 Questions (2011); Professional Practice: 20 Questions (2016), Art Crits: 20 Questions (2013),12 Gallerists: 20 Questions (2008) and 15 Methods: 20 Questions (2013) – which sell to students and staff throughout the UK and other parts of the world, where they are actively shaping the development of studio learning and teaching. 

In addition to the above Sarah has taught at the University of Brighton and has given talks at numerous art schools and sector conferences throughout the UK and overseas, including: National Association of Fine Art Education Annual Conference (2011), The Council for Higher Education in Art and Design Annual Conference (2013), Higher Education Academy Teaching in Practice Conference (2012, 2013 & 2014), Tate & Art School Educated Foundation Conference (2013), UAL Awarding Body Conference (2014), European League of the Institutions of the Arts Teacher’s Academy (2015), ‘Positioning the Academy’ at the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam (2016),‘Academies and Alternatives’ at the National Research University Higher School of Economics, St Petersburg (2017), ‘Women in Art Education’ at the Slade and London School of Economics (2018). 

She has worked in a freelance capacity for a number of national sector organisations including Artists Access 2 Art Schools, The Culture Capital Exchange, the Contemporary Visual Arts Network and Creative & Cultural Skills and has held voluntary roles on the steering group for the National Association of Fine Art Education and Artquest. 

Teaching & professional practice

Sarah is a fine art theory lecturer on levels 5 and 6 of the BA Fine Art course where she supports student essays and dissertations. She also teaches on and is the unit leader for the level five professional development portfolio.

Professional memberships

  • Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2016)
  • National Association of Fine Art Education (2015)
  • Fellow of the RSA (2013)

Grants

  • £5,000 from Arts Council England to develop Q-Art’s cross college crit programme (2015–2016)
  • £10,000 from the Higher Education Academy to produce Q-Art’s publication and video 'Art Crits: 20 Questions'. (2012–2013)
  • £10,000 from the Higher Education Academy to produce Q-Art's publication '15 Methods: 20 Questions'. (2012–2013)

Research Specialism

My specialist interest areas are fine art pedagogy and access and inclusion in the creative industries, with a particular focus on the visual arts sector. I am interested in the question of how artists are made, who is able to become an artist, and how these answers might be shaped by institutions and cultures.

I’m currently in the second year of my Ed D at the Institute of Education where I am researching the motivations, expectations and career aspirations of undergraduate fine art students. The research aims to provide insight into student ideas about their working futures and attitudes towards making a living in the field in order to support learning and teaching in this area. This enquiry extends from previous research I conducted through Q-Art into staff attitudes and approaches towards teaching professional practice (see Rowles & Allen. 2016. Professional Practice: 20 Questions. Q-Art. London). 

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