Knowledge framework: the arts

One of the new elements of the 2015 curriculum changes is the introduction of a ‘knowledge framework’ to help students explore, discuss, and form an understanding of each of the eight areas of knowledge. Although the knowledge framework isn’t a formal element of the essay or presentation (i.e., it isn’t directly assessed), it does present various consideration points that that can then be used to compare and contrast the different areas of knowledge. So for each area of knowledge, think about these five aspects, tying your thoughts as much as possible to the ways of knowing: 1. Scope and applications-What is the social function of the arts? How many different forms does it encompass (eg literature, visual arts, music, dance, etc.)? What are their separate aims? To what extent are the arts influenced by the society and culture in which it is pursued? How important are the arts? 2. Concepts and language-How do we use language to express the knowledge found within the arts? To what extent does this differ according to different forms of the arts? Are there any central concepts for which we need specific language before approaching the arts? 3. Methodology-Which ways of knowing do we use in order to connect with, and understand, the arts? Which ways of knowing do artists themselves use in order to create their works? 4. Historical development-How has our understanding and perception of the arts changed over time? How has the role of the arts within society developed? To what extent has the nature of the arts (for example, the different forms of the arts) changed? What relationship does today’s artistic world have with that of the past? (to paraphrase Newton, does it ‘stand on the shoulders of giants’?) 5. Links to personal knowledge-To what extent are you involved with the arts? How is your perception of the world, and your position it in, affected by the arts?

Quotes on the arts
The quotes below offer ideas on the nature and purpose of the arts, will help you to form links between it and other areas of knowledge and ways of knowing, and provide discussion points for TOK lessons. They will also support you as you address knowledge questions within your TOK essay and TOK presentation. Consideration points 1.What do the quotes suggest about the nature of the arts as an area of knowledge? 2.What do they suggest about the purpose of the arts? 3.Are the quotes consistent, or do they clash about the role it plays as an area of knowledge, and its relationship with others WOKs and AOKs? 4.Can you think of other ways of knowing and areas of knowledge that these quotes relate to? 5.How many of these thinkers are you familiar with? Research the ones you haven’t come across before – and, indeed, the ones you think you already know. Click on the names to take you to the corresponding Wikipedia article, although this should only be used as a starting point for your research. Finally, how would you use the quotes to construct a typical IB Diploma TOK essay title? Look at previous TOK essay titles, and see if you can compose something similar (and think about how you’d go about structuring it) 1. The purpose and nature of the arts I think in art, but especially in films, people are trying to confirm their own existences.-Jim Morrison Art is the proper task of life.-Friedrich Nietzsche The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.-Pablo Picasso The writer, when he is also an artist, is someone who admits what others don’t dare reveal. -Elia Kazan Art is not a study of positive reality, it is the seeking for ideal truth.-John Ruskin All art is but imitation of nature.-Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Without art, the crudeness of reality would make the world unbearable.-George Bernard Shaw Whoever neglects the arts when he is young has lost the past and is dead to the future.Sophocles An artist is somebody who produces things that people don’t need to have. -Andy Warhol Life imitates art far more than art imitates Life.-Oscar Wilde 2. The arts as a way of knowing Art is not a thing; it is a way.-Elbert Hubbard

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