Bauhaus: A school for teachers
Didn’t get round to seeing the Barbican’s Bauhaus exhibition until late in its run, after I’d heard from many sources that it was excellent. And I agreed. But since my visit a week or so ago I’ve kept returning to the conundrum that formulated itself as I went round the show: why is it that, although the Bauhaus went on to influence the delivery of arts education around the world, you hear so little of what became of its original students? In this exhibition it is the lives and works of the teachers and founders that are celebrated, with less focus on the educational experience from the students’ perspective.
Got the postcard: group photo of Bauhaus masters (from the Barbican exhibition)
The show made me curious about what type of people enrolled as students at the Bauhaus. Did they have to pay? Or were they selected for talent? Was there a scholarship scheme? What was the reason for the relatively high intake of female students (for the time)?
I shall have to find out.
But in the meantime I left the exhibition with the strong sense that the legacy of the Bauhaus was as a teacher-focused teaching model, and one perhaps made all the more compelling to subsequent generations of arts educators by the fact that it wasn’t around long enough for its effectiveness as an educational system to be evaluated.
How would those Bauhaus students have emerged and what would they have gone on to do, if it Hitler hadn’t put a stop to it all?