By Malcolm Ross (Auth.)
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Artists are concerned to generate or stimulate the imagination of the receiver for, to appreciate a work of art, we have to dwell imaginatively within it. And to appreciate an imaginative formulation in science this is not so at all. Art Sensibility 23 works by involving us, evokes a response in our own feeling life. Art's appeal is imaginative. Works of art function as signs that evoke both the recollective and the integrating faculties of imagination. Wordsworth wrote of poetry as "emotion recollected in tranquillity": he was testifying to the evocative or recollective aspect of the impact of a poem.
When most people think of arts education they will probably have in mind the Western European traditions of literature, art, classical music and drama. English Literature examination papers test children's responses to books read, under circumstances of free-choice, by a minute fraction of the population. Music exams similarly require knowledge and understanding of a musical repertoire as foreign to the interests of ordinary people as the further reaches of relativity theory and computer science.
But if music education is not ultimately about Beethoven and Bach (or Cage and Stockhausen), if art education is not about Rembrandt and Picasso, if drama doesn't mean Shakespeare, and English Literature, Lawrence and Hopkins, what on earth are to be our models, our standards, our criteria of relevance and excellence? If the familiar world celebrated in and exemplified by the main courses we ourselves followed at college and university is to be rejected as irrelevant to the school situation, to education in general, what is our business to be?