Technical bodies: towards a gendered history of technical education in Queensland, 1880s to Second World War.

Scott, J., Manathunga, C. and Kyle, N. (2000) Technical bodies: towards a gendered history of technical education in Queensland, 1880s to Second World War.. History of Education Review, 29 1: 1-15.

Author Scott, J.
Manathunga, C.
Kyle, N.
Title Technical bodies: towards a gendered history of technical education in Queensland, 1880s to Second World War.
Journal name History of Education Review
Publication date 2000
Year available 2000
Sub-type Article (original research)
Volume 29
Issue 1
Start page 1
End page 15
Language eng
Subject 130103 Higher Education
210399 Historical Studies not elsewhere classified
Abstract Historians of education identify the night classes in freehand drawing and geometrical design at the Brisbane School of Arts in 1881 as the first subjects in what became the Brisbane Technical College. The two classes represented the beginning of a permanent system of technical instruction in Queensland. The classes accord reasonably well with late twentieth century notions of the types of subjects which deserve the description of technical education. Significantly, they seem to have been entirely male in composition. Both instructors were male, and an article in the Queenslander referred to the pupils as 'mainly lads who were apprenticed to some skilled handicraft, or who intended to qualify themselves for it, and grown men who desired to improve themselves in their art'. Thus, the masculine, vocational and practical elements of technical education seemed to have been firmly established in Queensland from the outset. Despite this clearly articulated masculine framework, the first advertisement for these classes, which appeared in the Brisbane Courier in March 1881, also referred to a `Ladies' Class for Water-Colour Painting', to be taught by Joseph Clarke, the instructor of the freehand drawing class. We may then, after all, be able to 'clear space' for female students in the history of technical education as well as develop a deeper understanding of the contested nature of women's place in the classroom. It is not Marjorie Theobald's 'woman at the piano' we meet here, however, but the contradictory and complicated 'lady at the lathe'. Surviving records do not indicate whether the proposed `Ladies' Class' attracted sufficient interest to be formed. Its inclusion in the original advertisement, however, offers an intimation of the complexity of the task of defining technical education as it was practised during the late nineteenth century and beyond. It also offers a starting point for an analysis of the gendered nature of that branch of education, and draws attention to the questions of whether and how the definitions and the gendered aspects of technical instruction may be interrelated. Should the proposed class in water colours be acknowledged as part of the beginning of the Brisbane Technical College? Does it belong within the category of technical education? Do the gendered and class assumptions contained within the term phrase `Ladies' Class' preclude its classification as a technical subject?
Keyword technical education
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collection: Institute for Teaching and Learning Innovation Publications
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Created: Wed, 03 Mar 2010, 15:45:10 EST by Dr Catherine Manathunga on behalf of Teaching & Educational Development Institute