To read this content please select one of the options below:

Remembering and forgetting the arts of technical education

John Pardy (Faculty of Education, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia)

History of Education Review

ISSN: 0819-8691

Article publication date: 12 November 2020

Issue publication date: 1 December 2020




Technical education in the twentieth century played an important role in the cultural life of Australia in ways are that routinely overlooked or forgotten. As all education is central to the cultural life of any nation this article traces the relationship between technical education and the national social imaginary. Specifically, the article focuses on the connection between art and technical education and does so by considering changing cultural representations of Australia.


Drawing upon materials, that include school archives, an unpublished autobiography monograph, art catalogues and documentary film, the article details the lives and works of two artists, from different eras of twentieth century Australia. Utilising social memory as theorised by Connerton (1989, 2009, 2011), the article reflects on the lives of two Australian artists as examples of, and a way into appreciating, the enduring relationship between technical education and art.


The two artists, William Wallace Anderson and Carol Jerrems both products of, and teachers in, technical schools produced their own art that offered different insights into changes in Australia's national imaginary. By exploring their lives and work, the connections between technical education and art represent a social memory made material in the works of the artists and their representations of Australia's changing national imaginary.


This article features two artist teachers from technical schools as examples of the centrality of art to technical education. Through the teacher-artists lives and works the article highlights a shift in the Australian cultural imaginary at the same time as remembering the centrality of art to technical education. Through the twentieth century the relationship between art and technical education persisted, revealing the sensibilities of the times.



Pardy, J. (2020), "Remembering and forgetting the arts of technical education", History of Education Review, Vol. 49 No. 2, pp. 181-193.



Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2020, Emerald Publishing Limited

Related articles