An examination of social and cultural factors affecting art education in English schools for the blind

Simon Hayhoe

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis


This study investigates art education for students in schools for the blind, with a focus on England. The data was collected using qualitative, grounded methodology, including observations, interviews, student diaries and a historical literature search. Data is analysed using semiotic tools within a framework that analyses how knowledge about, and attitudes towards, blindness are formed, termed the Epistemological Model of Disability. The study seeks to test the following three hypotheses: Attitudes towards blindness and art education can be influenced by social and cultural factors that are not directly related to blindness/disability or art education Where attitudes [described in the first hypothesis] have negatively affected the experiences of students who are blind, they have also affected their behaviour in art classes Attitudes towards students who are blind in art education changed after the 1981 Education Act, and this made students educated after this period more willing to undertake new art tasks . The findings show that art education in schools for the blind has been affected by cultural, social and economic factors, such as religion and financial expedience. There is also limited evidence to suggest that these attitudes affected the behaviour of students. In its conclusion, the thesis presents implications for future practice, research and policy.
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Birmingham
  • Hull, John M, Supervisor, External person
  • Watts, Ruth, Supervisor, External person
Thesis sponsors
Award date13 Jul 2006
Place of PublicationBirmingham
Publication statusPublished - 1 Nov 2005


  • art education
  • blind
  • visually impaired
  • US
  • UK
  • School for the Blind


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