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I seem to spend a lot of time talking about the visual arts exhibition, and much less taking about the other two components, the Comparative Study and the Process Portfolio. So, to make up for that, this blog is devoted to your PP – one of the externally assessed components.

A while ago I had a PP question and answer session with my students and thought I’d share questions and answers.

 Q1 I’ve started working in my Visual Arts Journal, please could you also hand out our Process Portfolios so that I can also start working in that??

No. The question is based on a false assumption. The PP is assembled evidence not an on-going art journal. I remember shouting “The Process Portfolio does not exist!” to a group of startled art teachers at a visual arts workshop in Dubai a few years ago. I was getting frustrated because it was becoming clear that many pictured a folder (“portfolio”) full of paintings etc that the student kept in a shelf in the art room. My exclamation was effective and caused dawning realisation: I meant that the process portfolio is not a physical object. “The Process Portfolio documents your creative processes and is a digital compilation of evidence of your art-making practices, demonstrating achievement against the assessment criteria”. You could assemble your PP towards the end of the course. It’s not the same as your Visual Arts Journal.

Q2 What’s a screen?

A screen is what you are looking at right now (unless you have done something weird like print my blog and are actually looking at the hard copy?) The visual arts guide uses the term “screens” for both the comparative study and the process portfolio. This confused a few people at first (‘do they mean a page? Why not just call it a page?” etc), and yes, a screen is a digital page. It’s what your examiners will view your work on.

Q3 Is an A3 visual arts journal page a screen?

It certainly could be, although issues such as legibility might affect that decision: all work on screen must be clear and legible. But if you want to show a journal page, it will be uploaded as a Process Portfolio page (there is no ‘journal upload’ process).

Q4 What can go into a screen?

Anything relevant to the criteria and the component – for example, photos or scanned images of your artwork, text comment/explanation, relevant downloaded images (appropriately referenced of course), scanned full pages or handwritten or figurative sections from your Visual Arts Journal, etc. It’s a jig-saw puzzle; make the best use of your pages. There is no work count, but there is a page count (upper limit).

Q5 Should PP pages be ‘Traditional’ or Digital?

Either or both. It’s up to you how you compose your screens. You could include a scanned ‘traditional’ page with – for example – handwritten comments and sketches etc, and/or include a digitally constructed ‘page’ with inserted adjustable text boxes and images.The journal can be a lovely thing and I often enjoy the look and feel of a personal and hand-crafted journal page – but the presentation of materials needs to match assessment criterion E for both the process portfolio and the comparative study. The Process Portfolio is an instrument for assessment. If you submit scanned pages that are not digitally composed you may not be achieving effectively in all criteria. Of course, a mix and match approach could solve this conundrum.

Q6 What’s the “Art-Making Forms table” all about?

There are slightly different requirements for HL and SL students, so look at the Art-making Forms table and talk to your teacher: check that you are doing what you are required to do. You must show that you have worked in the correct number of art forms required for the level (HL or SL) for which you have been entered.

Q7 “It’s in my Exhibition. Can I also put a photograph of it in my Process Portfolio?

Yes! Your PP screens may include resolved works that are also submitted for the exhibition, but these should always be clearly labelled to identify them as such (e.g. declare, “THIS PAINTING IS IN MY FINAL EXHIBITION”)

Q8 Do we need to put references, acknowledgements and sources in the PP?

Yes. You have to include a list of sources in your process portfolio. If a screen is given over to the list of sources this will not be included in the overall screen count (ie the references page doesn’t count as a page)