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Professor Judith Mottram

Judith Mottram is Professor of Visual Art at Nottingham Trent University and holds the post of Associate Dean for Research and Graduate Studies in the College of Art, Design and Built Environment. Before joining Nottingham Trent she was Director of Research for the School of Art & Design at Loughborough University, following six years as their Programme Leader for Painting. She is a member of the AHRC Postgraduate panel for Visual Arts and Media, a member of the AHRC Peer Review College, and is on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Visual Art Practice and the journal Colour: Design & Creativity. In addition to her particular research interests in practical questions about the use of drawing, pattern and colour, she has contributed to reviews of practice-led research, the compilation of a database of completed art and design doctorates, and discussions on eLearning and subject knowledge in art and design.


For discussion: Deliberate practice

There used to be a model of virtuous practice which saw the artist as driven, hard-working, obsessive; given to endless discussion with peers, well versed in current and past art; non-conformist and anti-authority; disinterested in worldly goods and totally committed to practice. However, we have moved to a current position where the focus is more upon engagement within a community of practice, rather than upon deliberate engagement in the practice of disciplinary skills.

This session will explore ideas of deliberate practice as repeated performance that enables skill acquisition, and the extent to which expertise defines distinct practices within the creative arts. The playful or intelligent misuse of expertise, combined with immersion within the domain, reflects the old adage that ‘practice makes perfect’. Explorations of creativity have demonstrated that the development of high-level performance requires a significant investment of time practicing in the field, building upon knowledge of the work of others, through extensive deliberate practice. The concept of deliberate practice reflects the emphasis given to knowing through doing in art and design, but it is suggested that it is necessary to distinguish between the intentional and the aimless.

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