• Drawing as situated knowing

      McGuirk, Tom; University of Chester (Research Institute in Art, Design and Society (I2ADS), Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Porto, Portugal, 2014-08)
      This paper will present drawing as a knowledge generating activity that integrates perception, action and cognition. It will do so with reference to a range of theory that champions the epistemic significance of perception in knowledge generation, with particular reference to contemporary theories of ‘situated cognition’, as well as the related work of contemporary theorists like Mark Johnson and Alva Noë. The absorption of art and design education within the broader university presents many advantages, however a principal drawback is a phenomenon the sociologist Pierre Bourdieu recognises as the exclusion of métier, that is “the material determinations of symbolic practices” – including drawing – from such “scholastic universes” (Bourdieu, 2000, p.20). This, it will be argued, is a key factor in what James Elkins describes as “the incommensurability of studio art production and university life” (Elkins, 2009, p.128). Perhaps due to its neophyte status within the university, the discipline of art and design has been remarkably ineffective in countering the negative repercussions of this phenomenon. This paper will argue that it is magnified by a tendency – as outlined by Johnson – within the mainstream of Anglo-American analytical philosophy to “retain an exclusive focus on the conceptual/propositional as the only meaning that mattered for our knowledge of the world” (Johnson, 2007, p.9). This view presents language, and textual argument in particular, as representing the ‘gold standard’ in terms of a model for knowledge generation within the university. By way of counterweight, this paper will present ‘situated cognition’, a theory indebted to both Phenomenology and American Pragmatism, both of these philosophical movements run counter to mainstream epistemology. In short this paper will, in this way, make a case for the rehabilitation of drawing as an important way of knowing.