There are many reasons to work together. A lot of fantastic learning can happen when we work in pairs or groups. It’s a beautiful thing.

In addition, sharing ideas and skills is a great creative PROCESS, and can lead to unusually creative RESOLVED work, with different art-makers being able to contribute specialist competencies.

There’s also the idea of socialization and the concept of being part of and contributing to a bigger idea – when discussing plans, sharing ideas etc.

Examples of famous and successful collaboration in the Arts include Andy Warhol and Jean-Michel Basquiat, and Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí.

In terms of DP visual arts, there is certainly an understanding that theories and practices in visual arts are dynamic and ever-changing, and “connect many areas of knowledge and human experience through individual and collaborative exploration, creative production and critical interpretation”.

But they flag academic honesty – “Assessment tasks that require teachers to provide guidance to students or that require students to work collaboratively must be completed in full compliance with the detailed guidelines provided by the IB for the relevant subjects” (Guide page 4).

They also applaud collaborate teaching as one of the six approaches to teaching “the six approaches to teaching (teaching that is inquiry based, conceptually focused, contextualized, collaborative, differentiated and informed by assessment) encompass the key values and principles that underpin IB pedagogy”.

Collaborative Learning is the way to go!

So yes, collaborate!


(You knew there’d be a but)

Think about assessment.

I’m an examiner. And when I see that a student has submitted a piece of art (these days that’s usually a file uploaded to show a video or a photograph) for me to examine, and has added the fact that it’s part of a collaborative project, I tend to wince. Ouch. That could be a tricky issue I’ve just been handed.

If I’m lucky there may be a simple and easy solution – such as a clearly defined section and an arrow pointing to it saying “that’s mine”.

But I’ve been examining since before some of you were born, and in all those years almost all the collaborative art that I have had to assess has been complex – and complicated to assess. Sometimes the only thing I know is that it’s part of a collaborative project with no information about who did what.

Good luck with that I say to myself.

Of course when we (examiners) visited schools (in the good old days) the candidate could explain it and in the next interview the other collaborative artists could add and explain further.

But these days, I just get the file and with the new course some accompanying text and the Curatorial Rationale which may or may not help.

Either way, here’s my point: in assessment terms it’s frequently almost impossible to accurately award marks to collaborative work.

Don’t go there.

Or if you do, provide useful and easy-to-understand explanations/information to help the examiner make a fair and accurate assessment.




More on Collaboration

K-12 Collaborative Art Making

For some great examples of collaborative art-making, visit

Artist Collaboration Fuels Creative Exploration

Fine Art Views: “Collaboration in Art — mutual respect, mutual work, mutual exposure” (Brian Sherman)

“Read about the ‘Collaborative Painting’ project by Sion-Manning Roman Catholic Girls’ School for the National Gallery’s ‘Picture in Focus’ online exhibition”

 “Does Artistic Collaboration Ever Work? How creativity is both nurtured and thwarted when people team up”

WebCanvas – The World’s Largest Collaborative Painting.,1962,1