A didactics of colour based on an innovative educational approach at the Hochschule für Gestaltung in Ulm
Keywords:didactics of colour, Tomás Maldonado, visual education, visual methods, scientific approach to visual culture, interdisciplinarity, transdisciplinarity, Hochschule für Gestaltung in Ulm
Tomás Maldonado held the posts of lecturer and rector at the famous Hochschule für Gestaltung in Ulm from 1954 until 1967-68. His foundational contribution to the field of education/training dates to his thirteen years at this school, where he concentrated his theoretical and practical inquiry on developing a new approach to the teaching of key design-related subjects. While at Ulm, Maldonado became keenly interested in devising an innovative new teaching method based on the notion of “cooperation among disciplines”. This principle guided him throughout his lengthy teaching career, as he enriched and refined his educational thinking and developed increasingly effective teaching methods for the disciplines he taught. There was something important and revolutionary about his teaching approach and his method also became well known in Italy. Even earlier, as a very young artist in Argentina, where he helped to found the Concrete Art movement, he had displayed and constantly shared with others an “almost obsessive preoccupation” as he himself defined it, with actively contributing to a total vision of culture. Towards the end of his life, he characterized this project as “over-ambitious". However, it showed that he was interested in cross-disciplinarity from the outset. Cross-disciplinarity, or the “third culture”, as he himself called it and understood as the attempt to overcome the dichotomy between “hard” and “soft” sciences. In light of this background, I set out here to examine Tomás Maldonado’s approach to developing new teaching methods for his classes, especially in relation to the theme of colour as an integral part of his course in Visual Methods.
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