I have been interviewing my final year IBDP visual arts students during last week and this week, giving them a chance to rehearse some of the things they might want to say to their examiner when their final exhibitions are up.

They discussed their studio work (option A) and their investigation workbooks (option B), providing background information, explaining how one thing led to another, and generally presenting a much fuller picture than could be gleaned by just looking (for example) at the artworks.

The best ‘interviews’ are a lot more than simple question and answer sessions:  in fact the word interview does not really describe what happens. It’s often a prompt, rather than a question, that starts the ball rolling, and the student can then explain and describe how his/her ideas developed and resulted in final pieces, or show how investigations explored cultures, artists, art ideas and/or media.

‘Interview’ also sometimes implies something quite formal, when actually the examiner should be doing his/her best to relax the student and put him/her at ease – so that nervousness is not an issue and the focus can be on the things the student wants to say.

I came away with even more appreciation and respect for what students create and achieve, and I hope that my students also feel better prepared for the ‘real’ interviews.