Back in the late 1980s, I used to sit in the Library at Dartington College of Arts and read Elliot Eisner.
I was fascinated by his advocacy of arts education. This had powerful connections with my work at Dartington.
At the time of writing my PhD thesis, I was particularly interested in his views on connoisseurship and criticism.
I liked the proposal that ‘Connoisseurship is something that needs to be worked at – but it is not a technical exercise. The bringing together of the different elements into a whole involves artistry’.
I have revisited his work regularly since my Dartington days.
Elliot passed away on 10 January 2014. He was 80 years old. Larry Cuban wrote of him:
Eisner’s eloquence in writing and speech gave heart to and bolstered many educators who felt that the humanities, qualitative approaches to evaluation and artistic criticism had been hijacked by those who wanted only numbers as a sign of effectiveness.