Qualifications and standards

Assessment Report

New Zealand Scholarship
Visual Arts 2018

Standards 93306  93307  93308  93309  93310

93307:  Design

Part A: Commentary

In 2018, Scholarship Design included a diversity of briefs with strong evidence of student-led inquiries that circumnavigated a range of social, ethical and politically aware propositions. The panel felt that the level of consciousness around topics that candidates immerse themselves within was more pronounced than other years. These candidates were embedded in a ‘problem’ they themselves had set, which they really wanted to engage with and think about in a design context: real-world problems with legitimate context.

It is important that candidates are involved in their topic personally, i.e. they are actually interested in the topic. This is what enables them to establish a viewpoint and trajectory through which to visually expand the proposition and engage deeply with a sense of conviction and ownership.

Successful topics also have briefs that logically relate to the context they draw upon and are clear, considered and inventive, and can be further directed through ongoing expansive research. In this instance, the research is about discovery and is open-ended, where candidates appear not to have expectations of the kind of research they are looking for and thus remain open to seeking out new lines of inquiry. This is risk-taking at its best: seeing what might be possible and going with it. 

It was excellent to see well-researched topics approached with clever design thinking applied through inventive use of design conventions. Those achieving Scholarship present a solid undertaking. Folio work is technically strong with purposeful employment of media and process, i.e. candidates select modalities that support and enhance conceptualisation. This is also evidenced in workbooks where the workbook and folio are produced concurrently, and the inquiry moves between the two sites. Overall, workbooks were investigative in nature and displayed the visual thinking undertaken, rather than just purely summarising a literal process.

The variety of types and approaches employed continues to expand the field of design. These include formal graphic design (brand identity, typography, packaging, publication design), comic book, illustration, graphic novels, animation, video games, interactive and augmentative design, installation, textile, fashion, spatial and product design. This breadth is offering many possibilities in terms of the design medium, which is exciting, as well positively challenging candidates to establish ownership of their inquiry and to be cognisant of appropriate conceptual contextual relations.

Part B: Report on performance standard

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship with Outstanding Performance typically:

  • invested and engaged in a type of anthropological study utilising a range of research methods that fostered a deep knowledge of the selected topic, providing starting points that built on cultural and personal narratives, interviews, participation in community events, and site-based activities
  • produced investigative workbooks that revealed additional ideational extensions underpinned by critical reflection and genuine documentation of experimentation and exploration to show new levels of inquiry, synthesis and communication
  • executed and exploited a sophisticated command of media and visual language, producing and enhancing each artefact / art work with a genuine and owned sensibility reinforcing the authenticity of ideas in communication design
  • expanded and formulated new links at every phase of the design process enabling a clear, yet open-ended proposition (campaign, personal topic, narrative) that fostered opportunities for lateral and conceptual thinking.

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • started with a rich range of resources and research that quickly ignited drawing practices and catapulted the folio into action evidencing a fluency and command of visual language tactics and conventions
  • recognised the value in managing and developing a scrapbook or investigative type of workbook / journal that operated in parallel and housed research, reflection and ideational touch points and synthesis
  • invented and identified formats that added value to their proposition / client and moved projects on from a predetermined set of design elements (brand, business card, poster, flyers, etc.) to build a comprehensive body of work that triangulated ideas, audience and outcomes
  • demonstrated a high command of media, design procedures and processes pertaining to a particular graphic and / or design sensibility, one that was appropriate to the client, content and audience.

Candidates who were not awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • illustrated and described starting points, processes and decision-making in the workbook, which were descriptive or duplicative to folios and moving image submissions
  • operated in a very linear manner, often starting with very specific outcomes in mind, or identifying final outcomes from a phase of regeneration rather than a critical process of synthesis and extension
  • managed one phase of research and image / resource generation at the outset to fuel initial explorations, but then relied solely on these resources, limiting opportunities for extension and the forming of new or lateral links
  • selected an aesthetic sensibility or stylistic treatment to operate within, but struggled to edit or refine visual language and, in some instances, a concern with conventions and style over-ran the communication and quest for ideas
  • laboured over art and design references, often mistaking biographies and literal description of the artists’ /  designers’ practice and art works as analysis and, therefore, did not position relevance or effectively overview the student’s understanding of the reference.



 

93306:  Painting

Part A: Commentary

In 2018, Scholarship Painting presented a diversity of approaches, including more abstraction alongside pictorial inquiries that positioned a strong sense of ownership from candidates. It was good to see candidates identifying a relevant personal area of investigation linked to appropriate artistic practice and using that to escalate visually sophisticated bodies of work. Regardless of content, it is clear candidates are serious about the subject – and obviously enjoy painting.

Candidates are encouraged to claim a position from the outset in order to develop and strategically shift out from that point. Establishing a solid starting point for the inquiry enables relevant approaches to be instigated and to actively develop through the making. It was clear that candidates awarded Scholarship developed their proposition via practice, i.e. they found solutions through making, rather than imposing another artist’s style onto their subject matter or topic. Contemporary practice was also effectively used to find solutions both in support of the investigation and to extend possibilities.

It was noted that many candidates are committing to ways of making where they obviously recognise their own skill area and stylistic strengths, and use this knowledge and understanding to push harder and be ambitious with regards to conventions, devices and tactics employed. The level of confidence demonstrated by this approach ensured there was a good level of invention and reinvention within the scope of individual inquiry. This modus operandi is both intuitive and knowing – candidates want to exhibit a high level of craftsmanship in line with the modality they are engaged with. To do this, they operate with a criticality that constantly reinvents and demands reflection, while still building options to continue their journey.

Overall, candidates were able to identify successes in each work, such as formal conventions of colour palette, brushstroke, tonal nuance, surface, etc. in finished works, as well as sketches and exploratory works. The best-case scenario is when there is a synergy between the workbook and folio – and a genuine relationship between the mechanics (conceptual and practical) and resolution. Often in these instances, the workbook acts as a thinking tool. It profiles smaller passages of works / discovery works and reveals the editing that took place in the process of making – testing and trialing and ‘talking to themselves’ in the workbook.

The role of the workbook is to open the dialogue and expand the inquiry versus defaulting to simply a describing process. Workbooks that used space to retrospectively describe what had occurred on the folio boards generally missed the opportunity to talk about the successful points of the inquiry or where key transitions took place.

Part B: Report on performance standard

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship with Outstanding Performance typically:

  • understood the mode of practice they were working with and were able to take ownership of the proposition and move beyond with a parallel body of work
  • operated with a high level of critical awareness of inquiry and therefore had the ability to choose best options for developments
  • demonstrated a real sense that they were developing expertise and refinement of ideas through appropriate sequences, a high level of craftmanship and depth of understanding
  • clearly communicated ideas, meaning, mood of the study in order to develop their visual language and regardless of subject matter or context celebrate painting.

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • engaged in a genuine artistic process of investigation and established appropriate contextual connections to what they were researching / making work about
  • produced a number of iterations that advanced the proposition, including the smallest passages to still move the work forward
  • took their own photographs to create compositions that both reflected ownership of investigation and demonstrated their ability to develop ideas
  • employed a consistently high level of skill across the folio with extra work or a parallel body of practice in the workbook.

Candidates who were not awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • presented workbooks that highlighted inconsistencies between the developmental thinking and folio work
  • used the workbook to engage in a layout-dominated discussion that was too descriptive of what they did and, therefore, did not engage in reflective analysis
  • were led by an overtly predetermined outcome, limiting development and conceptualisation
  • appeared to run out of options to develop, or were limited by a lesser passage of investigation across the second half of the folio, indicating a need for greater conceptual development to feed the initial proposition
  • laboured over art and design references, often mistaking biographies and literal description of the artists’ / designers’ practice and art works as analysis and, therefore, did not position relevance or effectively overview the candidate’s understanding of the reference.



 

93310:  Photography

Part A: Commentary

In 2018, Scholarship Photography presented a wide range of inquiries that were underpinned by strong interconnected folio and workbook relations. Scholarship is holistic in nature, therefore the folio and workbook operate as two sites of evidence, in combination. 

Genuine engagement was revealed through the student voice with clear introductions to investigations outlining where they intended to position their inquiry, either through a conceptual trajectory, narrative or process-led exploration. A richness emerged where candidates were able to make a personal connection that they could conceptualise in relation to broader contexts (art and external) to develop ideas that had options and offered different ways to engage in analysis and evaluative modes of thinking. They also recognised that the personal can be conceptual and were able to locate this within a history of ideas and contemporary thinking. 

A huge variety of types were presented across the field to include formal conceptual, narrative, cinematic / filmic, theatrical, scientific, environmental, cultural, political, social, psychological, spiritual, existential, philosophical, technological, pop / teen culture, gender, sexuality, identity, historical, truth and fiction, the archive, and the history of photography as a practice. The sheer scope of this list clearly outlines the varied and wide-ranging subject matter that is seen as viable topics for photographic investigations, with successful Scholarship entries being driven by the inquiry versus the folio trajectory alone.

It was good to see excellent directorship and technical fluency across the Scholarship field – the type of making and processes involved in the production of photographic images were appropriate to propositions, exhibiting a higher degree of comprehension; e.g. where colour is desaturated, it is used as a conceptual device or to insert subtlety or nuance of meaning. Photographic process also spoke to the technical conventions of film (35mm), darkroom, photograms, polaroid, cyanotypes, found photographs, digital processes and projections. In these instances, candidates were able to critically consider the role of photography in relation to the proposition of the camera, the gaze or technology, to give examples of a few contexts explored.

It is recommended that candidates use titling or captions on the folio where topics and concepts are time-based or durational or sit within social art practice and participatory art contexts. Without this information, the conceptual intent of the work can be misunderstood. 

The role of the workbook is to open the dialogue and expand the inquiry versus a default to simply describing process. Workbooks that used space in the workbook to retrospectively describe what had occurred on the folio boards 1, 2, 3 generally missed the opportunity to talk about the successful points of the inquiry or where key transitions took place

Part B: Report on performance standard

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship with Outstanding Performance typically:

  • produced large volumes of work, which was indicative of the level of commitment they had to their project, to the point where ideas critically moved between the research and making
  • operated with a clear and consistent level of editing, enabling strong communication that was apparent in both the folio and workbook
  • understood the holistic nature of the workbook and folio as two equally contributing parts, with the workbook often documenting new work, texts and experimental phases
  • exemplified fluency with a range of processes supporting unanticipated opportunities, including forays into other disciplines, such as sculpture, installation, print and painting.

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • presented a holistic inquiry acknowledging the folio and workbook as two sites of evidence to engage in a range of processes, providing synthesis of ideas supported by appropriate aesthetics to concept
  • researched around context positively influencing the relationship between the folio and workbook
  • had a genuine engagement with their inquiry throughout the entire submission, continually searching for new ideas to expand
  • included a second layer of experimental works in workbooks to show how ideas were tested and later refined, including ‘other’ interests that supported the proposition further, such as film and installation.

Candidates who were not awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • lacked the ability to introduce why they were photographing what they are photographing by omitting to ask questions that could help focus the inquiry, such as who, where, what, why, and how
  • produced workbooks that were formulaic and template-driven, providing less active, after-the-fact accounts questioning the candidate’s level of ownership, while those who got heavily involved in decorating workbook pages needed to ensure there was still readability of content
  • were unaware of the Scholarship requirements and presented a folio and workbook that operated in two different directions
  • laboured over art and design references, often mistaking biographies and literal descriptions of the artists' / designers’ practice and art works as analysis, and therefore did not position relevance or effectively overview their own understanding of the reference.


 

93309:  Printmaking

Part A: Commentary 

In 2018, Scholarship Printmaking presented a highly accomplished field. Although expert facility is a given at this level, it was obvious that candidates had an acute awareness of print conventions and were able to both manipulate and exploit these fluently, exhibiting appreciation and understanding of picture-making concerns, such as the image edge, surface and layering.

An authentic engagement with the print medium was a strength in the folio work, with candidates engaging in investigations and topics that were process-driven, conceptual, pictorial, narrative and /  or focused on social, political, ecological or cultural contexts. The level of ownership exhibited through the intellect of propositions, research, extension and synthesis of ideas was confidently managed through well-selected techniques and approaches aesthetically appropriate to the conceptual terrain.

Fluency across multiple processes was also a strong point, with candidates utilising technical aspects to amplify the required effect: for example, drypoint for raw, velvety, expressive mark-making; screen print for flat areas of a single colour. This, along with pictorial invention, worked well to achieve desired readings of the work on the folio 

Scholarship requires a candidate to be lateral, inventive and to take risks. Within the print cohort, candidates set themselves challenging, explorative briefs that, in turn, expanded and opened up developmental possibilities. A degree of risk was interpreted in those that took on ambitious inquiries. This was matched by a high level of ownership, evidenced in the workbook and folio through constant questioning and independent thinking, often from a personal or ethical perspective. 

With most candidates, a range of pictorial devices were identified and assertively employed to explore composition, and to build and extend dialogue in order to achieve ongoing evaluation and resolution. Where appropriate, candidates created their own photographs or collages to work from, looking at proximity, scale and viewpoint, figure-field relationships, colour, texture, repetition or pattern. A high level of technical expertise was also demonstrated in the employment of media and materials with use of straightforward and affordable processes, such as monoprints, stencils or collagraphs (cardboard prints). 

Workbooks that enhanced the folio presented in-depth experimentation, analysis, reflection and clarification of ideas. This not only highlighted the inventive and exploratory nature of the work, it also pointed to unexpected and, at times, lateral outcomes.

The role of the workbook is to open the dialogue and expand the inquiry, versus defaulting to simply describing process. Workbooks that used space in the workbook to retrospectively describe what had occurred on the folio boards generally missed the opportunity to talk about the successful points of the inquiry or where key transitions took place.

Part B: Report on performance standard 

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship with Outstanding Performance typically:

  • established a complex proposition of significance to them personally, yet broad enough to sustain a sophisticated, in-depth investigation
  • showed a high level of engagement and personal ownership through clearly articulated ideas and exceptional exploration, self-reflection, critical analysis and risk-taking
  • explored a depth and range of ideas to produce a large number of considered works supported by constant questioning and decision-making
  • demonstrated a high level of technical fluency through strong drawing skills and innovative use of printmaking and other processes to continually search and investigate related ideas and possibilities.

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • established a broad proposal that sustained an ongoing investigation and enabled the development of a depth and range of ideas
  • revealed deep, independent thinking through sustained and engaged research in workbooks evidencing testing, related ideas from other fields, analysis of own work and reflection of unsuccessful works, own photographs, synthesis of ideas from established/contemporary art practice, technical explorations, collages, thumbnail studies, purposeful experiments on different surfaces, new works and future possibilities
  • showed a strength in drawing and produced prints that consistently engaged in a high level of technical skill and fluency, intuitively integrating a number of processes or mastering a single process
  • considered layout and scale of works on the folio, allowing enough space between works for each image to be read independently.

Candidates who were not awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • took too long to establish and communicate ideas / concepts, thus impacting on the potential to offer a range of printmaking options and extension possibilities
  • used overdescriptive language and images to describe folio works in the workbook, creating a commentary, in past tense, of what was done
  • limited the potential for further development and extension of ideas due to the large scale of some works (particularly on the third panel), or else presented series of similar works that repetitively dealt with the same pictorial concerns
  • mimicked works from established / contemporary practice, rather than synthesising a range of ideas
  • laboured over art and design references, often mistaking biographies and literal description of the artists' / designers’ practice and art works as analysis, which did not position relevance or effectively overview the student’s understanding of the reference.


 

93308:  Sculpture

Part A: Commentary

 

In 2018, Scholarship Sculpture consisted of an exemplary field of entries. The level of criticality applied by candidates through astute understanding of sculptural conventions demonstrated high-level facility performance, amplified in many submissions by articulate and clear propositions. This clarity was coupled with an extensive range of sculptural activity – formal conceptual, object making, performance, installation, durational and site-specific practice.

 

Imaginative and well-positioned briefs meant candidates were able to critically consider every shift made to advance the proposition and inquiry at hand. As with all visual arts subjects, the depth of personal investment and analytical response to selected concepts and specific situations directed candidates to engage in contextual research that really served their investigation.

 

There was a strong level of social and political engagement established through the making that was frequently backed up by rigorous conceptual research in the workbook. In these instances, workbooks provided the methodological underpinnings and lateral thinking that informed the production of work, materials, processes and approaches employed. For example, a candidate might have established a set of visual and material strategies to inject a certain feeling or vibe through colour, dry wet media, soft or hard materials, time-based elements or improvisation. Or made authentic links and established useful relationships to other contexts, such as social media, to expand the constituency of the audience, or facilitated real-world scenarios in order to stage a live art work.

 

Overall, across the Scholarship Sculpture field, sophisticated use of materials drove the inquiry, with candidates being consistently inventive, exhibiting material consciousness and indicating they understood sculptural tactics, i.e. when their hand came into play versus more mechanical procedures. The level of restraint with how materials were used and managed demonstrated confidence and reinforced the decision-making involved in each work on the folio. A point of excellence noted by the panel was candidates’ courage and ambition to realise projects of a scale, as well as their playful approach to media and complex making processes.

 

It was excellent to see clear documentation and good photography of sculptural works on the folio that supported key concepts and added context where appropriate. Workbooks were also well-edited, demonstrating a complex understanding of sculptural tropes such as the role of marquettes and models, and shifts in scale and site. 

 

The use of titling or captions on the folio is recommended where topics and concepts are time-based or durational, or sit within social art practice and participatory art contexts. Without this information, the conceptual intent of the work can be misunderstood.

Part B: Report on performance standard 

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship with Outstanding Performance typically:

  • demonstrated a highly sophisticated understanding of specific materials and processes, allowing them to articulate ideas fluently
  • employed a methodology that enabled compiementary methods and processes to expand intent and ideas within the central proposition
  • engaged in conceptual investigations that had a level of personal significance where contextual research guided the thinking around moves made in the practice
  • utilised inventive risk-taking strategies to extend ideas well beyond the initial proposition.

Candidates who were awarded Scholarship commonly:

  • established a strategic framework in which to operate so that workbook and folio combined to create visual and conceptual harmonics of one another
  • engaged in an exhaustive range of sculptural methods that were intrinsically linked to the conceptual structure of the work
  • understood the role of scale and materiality to their developing body of work and used this knowledge to create physically ambitious and poetic works with technical astuteness
  • presented genuine workbook practice, appropriately edited to ensure that critical research and supporting studies presented add to the folio submission.

Candidates who were not awarded Scholarship commonly: 

  • engaged in making sculpture that was highly derivative of established sculptural practice
  • demonstrated intermittent success with technical processes or utilised inappropriate methods or making processes in the production of work
  • made arbitrary comments about the intention of the work presented or suggested the meaning of the work in written form when it was clearly not evident in sculptural work
  • re-presented the same images from the folio in the workbook, which offered no additional evidence and did not advance the sculptural proposition
  • laboured over art and design references, often mistaking biographies and literal description of the artists' / designers’ practice and artworks as analysis and, therefore, did not position relevance or effectively overview the student’s understanding of the reference.

 

Subject page

 

Previous years' reports
2017 (PDF, 77KB) 2016 (PDF, 238KB)

 
Skip to main page content Accessibility page with list of access keys Home Page Site Map Contact Us newzealand.govt.nz