The “new IA” in visual arts is the exhibition.

Work produced for internal assessment is marked by teachers and externally moderated by the IB.

Internal assessment used to be the investigation workbook for most students (because most students took the A option), so it’s a bit of a reversal from the previous course.

How to get it right?

Here are 10 steps to success!

  1. Talk and listen to your teacher.

Your teacher plays a vital role during both the planning stage, and the period when you are working on things that will go in your show. He/she will ensure that you are familiar with the requirements and the visual arts assessment criteria. It’s your show and your art but it’s still assessed by your teacher and moderated by a visual arts examiner, so you need to be aware of how they are going to award marks! Ideally, your teacher will have attended an IBDP visual arts workshop – so their guidance and advice is solid and trustworthy!


  1. Make sure it’s your own (NO PLAGIARISM!)

All work submitted for moderation must be authenticated by your teacher, and you must confirm that the work is your authentic work and constitutes the final version of that work. If you are referencing or referring to other artwork in your own art –  or indeed appropriating the work of others – you must say that in the exhibition text (point 7).

Tate Mod 2

  1. Allow yourself enough TIME!

Internal assessment – your art show – contributes to up to 40% to the final assessment. This weighting should be reflected in the time you spend acquiring the knowledge, skills and understanding and the time needed to make the work. This should include time for explanations, consultations and discussions with your teacher as well as class time for you to create artwork. Also allow time to review and monitor progress. If you have enough space at home you could continue to work on your art at home over weekend or holidays?


  1. Be selective!

There are far fewer pieces in the ‘exhibition’ component in the ‘new’ course than previously in the ‘studio’ component: it’s now a maximum of 7 at SL and 11 at HL.  Selected pieces should show evidence of technical accomplishment and an understanding of the use of materials, ideas and practices to realize your intentions. Look at the assessment criteria when selecting your final works! (If you are HL I think that you should have more than 11 resolved artworks to choose from.)


  1. Design and arrange your show!

Think about the layout and arrangement of your artworks. What are you saying? Is there a sequence or relationship between the works? Is there a journey or a theme? (Images here show gallery space and how artworks have been arranged at the Tate Modern in London. Obviously most of us will not have this kind of space! – we may just have a display board or a wall – but still it’s important that you plan the look and impact of your exhibition)

Tate Mod 3

  1. Write a Curatorial Rationale!

You should show evidence of the decision-making process which underpins the selection of your “connected and cohesive” body of work for an audience in your curatorial rationale. There is a word-limit so don’t just ramble on! Ask your teacher to read/check what you have written. (Watch out for a future blog “Avoiding Artspeak”)


  1. Write exhibition text!

Provide the title, medium (indicate here if objects are self-made, found or purchased) and size of the artwork, and a brief outline of the intentions of the work (500 characters maximum). Also, explain any appropriation or sources which have influenced the piece.


  1. Take 2 photographs of your show!

    These will help show the teacher and the examiner to appreciate your understanding of the context of the exhibition, as well as being able to see the size and scope of the works. (These photos are not assessed, just give the teacher/moderator an insight into how you considered the overall experience of the viewer). Only the artworks submitted for assessment should appear in the exhibition photographs.


  1. Publicity before you set up the exhibition

Not an IB requirement, but many people look forward to the annual IBDP Art exhibition, so let them know it’s coming up! Posters! Advertisements!


  1. Exhibition as a celebration

Also not an IB requirement, but this is the culmination of a long, challenging but (hopefully) enjoyable and rewarding journey, so celebrate the end of the course and the art created! Have a Reception and a party!

Photographs (recently taken by me) in the Tate Modern Gallery, London