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Community Conversation: Illuminations of Theme

How Critique Can Teach Us What Our Work Is Trying to Say

Jeanne Kisacky

My background is in design, not writing, and that has given me an unusual relationship with critique. Design education relies on group critiques, not tests or papers. Students pin their drawings in front of the whole group, and then the teachers and students critique it, pointing out strengths and also weaknesses.

When this process worked, it was fabulous. A good critique could literally turn the light on in the artist, giving her a clear understanding of how to improve the piece. When it didn’t work, it was horrendous. The artist, unable to translate the critique into a clear strategy, would grow confused and defeated. Living ...

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