Scenes from the History of the Art School




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Taylor and Francis



Peer reviewed



The following essay proceeds through twenty-one visual and textual ‘scenes’ from the complex history of the art school, as a contribution to debates about its political character. The title is taken from Jacques Rancière’s (2013) Aisthesis. This is Rancière’s most sustained exposition of the ‘aesthetic regime of art’. His strategy in this book is to juxtapose ‘the event’ of an artwork against ‘the interpretive network which gives it meaning’ (2013, ix). He is specifically interested in the transition between different ‘regimes of art’. The scenes in this article map the transition from what Rancière calls the ‘representative regime’ to the ‘aesthetic regime’ on to the historical, pedagogical, ideological, and political evolution of the modern art school. These scenes roughly cover the period from the formation of the Royal Academy in 1768 to the art school protests in 1968. They also include references to the nineteenth-century UK Schools of Design, Socialist Realism, Greenbergian Modernism, Althusserian ideology critique, and the Bauhaus. This essay is a sketch leading toward a longer, non-linear, counter-history of the art school.


The authors would like to thank the Paul Mellon Centre for British Art for granting permission to use images from their archive as the basis for the illustrations within this essay. The file attached to this record is the author's final peer reviewed version. The Publisher's final version can be found by following the DOI link.


aesthetics, education, greenberg, ideology, politics, Rancière


Hudson-Miles, R. and Broadey, A. (2022) Scenes from the history of the art school. Journal of Visual Art Practice,


Research Institute

Institute of Art and Design