Daniel Preece
Daniel Preece
Head of Art, Bedales Senior

Foundation Course, Chelsea College of Art
BA (Hons) Slade School of Fine Art
PgDip Royal Drawing School
PGCE University of Westminster

What makes a good teacher at Bedales?

Someone who is able to share and communicate their love and passion for the subject. Is always willing to consider different ways to impart information and enthuse students by asking questions of themselves and how they approach teaching. Someone who is interested in the collaborative process that teaching and learning can bring between students, staff and the different departments.

What are you trying to encourage and instil in your students?

A love of the subject, to become more visually aware and to have the confidence to take risks through making and doing. The teaching of art is not just about received information but students finding their own visual forms through practical experience. Art is a speculative process where there will always be some form of failure. This is good and it is important that the students are able to reflect and understand to find their voice in the work. I am interested in the student’s journey and how they get to the final piece, as much as the outcome itself.

Apart from your teaching role, what else do you get involved with at the school?

I am a Sixth Form tutor but I spend most of the time in the Art department. I think it is important to keep the department open outside of normal lesson times, particularly in the evenings. I run trips to exhibitions and shows and I hope to develop a lecture program.

In your opinion, what makes Bedales special?

The setting - to me, Bedales has the feeling of a University campus - and the surrounding countryside. But most importantly, the students, staff and those who support the school in its day-to-day running. Here the possibilities and connections that can be made through conversation can be the starting point for stimulating ideas for teaching and learning.

Who or what inspires you?

The visual world I exist in at any one moment, and the spirit and generosity of people. There have been many artists and teachers who were wonderful communicators and educators that inspired and supported me over the years. I would not be where I am today without their time, advice and the opportunities they gave me. From the Art teacher at my comprehensive school who allowed me time in the Art department after school (my father thought I should study Physics rather than Art at O Level), to Sargy Mann, an artist and teacher who introduced me to painting directly from the landscape, oil paint and colour; Peter Snow, a theatre designer and my personal tutor at the Slade, a generous and eccentric man with a wide range of interests; and finally, the artist Bruce McLean, who gave me a job as his studio assistant after I left the Slade and helped me understand what it took to be a professional artist. Ultimately, I hope to pass on to the students I teach, the same level of generosity and opportunity that these people showed me.

Tell us something not a lot of people know about you.

I sang in a school choir and gave a solo performance at St-Martin-in-the-Fields. I also have a desire to be in a band and do stand-up, probably both at the same time!

Daniel Preece