In this new series, we are shining the spotlight on some of the wonderful staff around our school! This week, we are focussing on Mr Bassett, our Head of Art and Design Technology.
Without wishing to sound pretentious Art (in all its various forms) is the vehicle by which we reflect upon who and what we are. Culture is what makes us human and visual art is at the heart of human culture. I have always enjoyed exploring art from different times and places because I am fascinated in people and how we express what we do, how we feel and who we are. It enables me to access and understand more about the lives of others and my own. Art is inspired by our experience of life and as a subject it is incredibly broad. In school Art enables us to make profound links with other subjects in the curriculum and help our students engage with wider contexts in personal and imaginative ways. In what I consider to be an increasingly target driven and linear education system I think Art offers a genuine outlet to think divergently. Art teaches us about us.
What’s your niche?
Teaching Art, I hope! At University I studied sculpture and public Art. Now I mostly draw and paint.
Why did you choose to join KEHS?
Many reasons. It won’t surprise anyone to know that I was attracted to KEHS by the excellent facilities and academic rigour. Students are highly focused and committed and it is an enormous privilege to teach young people who, through their appetite to learn and determination to achieve, reach exceptional standards both technically and conceptually. In what feels to me like an economically driven maths and science bias world I am also very lucky to teach in a school where the Arts are taken seriously by all their stakeholders. I am very excited about the new Art and Design centre that has just opened. Best school, best job.
What’s next for Art at KEHS?
Well, the answer is world domination. The new Design Centre will lead the way in making our teaching and learning ambitions visible. A place where students can take ownership of their learning, develop intellectual curiosity through their intrinsic love of learning and feel safe to learn through failure and taking risks. The new Design Centre provides us with opportunities to create ever more ambitious work both inside and outside the building. All Art presupposes an audience but it is often the case in schools that this is limited to its own community. I want to ensure that our students work is seen more often in public settings where they can consider the role of the viewer on a deeper level and engage with their audience. I have already alluded to the importance of Art and Design on a cultural level, but it is also an essential part of our own and the global economy. It will be important for us to organise further visits and make purposeful links with relevant practitioners and industries so that we can produce the artists, designers, material scientists, engineers and architects of the future. We also have plans to further develop our relationship with the Art Department at KES and, although I’m not sure what this will look like yet, I am confident that joint ventures would provide us with opportunities to be ever bolder and more ambitious with our aims as we move forward.
What are your hobbies?
It feels like I’ve got to the end of a job application or my CV! Apart from painting and drawing I’m a bit obsessive about gardening. My garden is very formal and tidy. I love going to other gardens as well as museums, galleries, restaurants, other countries, gyms, football matches, friends’ houses, parks and woods with the dog and the seaside. I like walking, playing football, swimming and listening to music. I’m a post punk new wave and ska kind of guy.
Stay tuned for further interviews!