The Teaching of drawing in higher arts education — Articulating the practitioners’ orientations

Research output: ThesisDoctoral ThesisMonograph


It is my experience of working with drawing in higher arts education since 1998 that has driven this research. During these years, I have been occupied with the significances of drawing as a part of growing up as an artist. This is why the focus of my doctoral research project is on exploring the teaching of drawing in two art universities, one in Finland and the other in Sweden. The main research question is: What kind of orientations do the practitioners have towards drawing and the teaching of drawing? Even if drawing is understood as an important and integral component of an artist’s education, the significance and value of drawing have not been articulated properly. The research touches upon two areas: higher arts education and drawing. The theoretical framework I am using is Keijo Räsänen’s notion of academic work as practical activity (2009). In the research question, I refer to orientations, which are, according to Räsänen, how to do it (tactical), what to accomplish (political), why do it in this way (moral) and who to become (personal). The methodological approach draws from “at-home ethnography”, which was developed by Mats Alvesson (2003, 2009). As he states, it is a method especially suited for studying universities and higher educational institutions in which you yourself work. I am focusing on a particular strand of at-home ethnography which I call at-home interviews. The data consist of twelve interviews with six artists/designers and university teachers from Sweden and six others from Finland. The data collection method I have chosen is expert interviews with artefacts, i.e. the interviewees had the chance to bring one to three drawings or documentations of drawings to the interviews, and we also discussed the drawings. One of my goals in this research is to demystify the teaching of drawing and the tacit knowledge which it contains by articulating it. In so doing, the research produces a description of the values and beliefs about drawing in higher arts education, supporting those who are responsible for designing content and curricula for higher arts and design education.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor's degree
Awarding Institution
  • Aalto University
  • El Baroni, Bassam, Supervising Professor
  • Löytönen, Teija, Thesis Advisor
Award date3 May 2024
Print ISBNs978-952-64-1700-4
Electronic ISBNs978-952-64-1701-1
Publication statusPublished - 2024
MoE publication typeG4 Doctoral dissertation (monograph)


  • drawing
  • higher arts education
  • teaching of drawing
  • practice theory
  • at-home interviews
  • artist-teacher
  • contemporary
  • university


Dive into the research topics of 'The Teaching of drawing in higher arts education — Articulating the practitioners’ orientations'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this