Why did you choose the Art Extended Essay?
I chose art because it is the most interesting subject to me, and I intend to pursue art in the future! I knew the EE was going to be taking up a lot of my time, so naturally I picked something that I would love to work on, and gain the most out of.
What do you wish you’d known at the start of your EE?
It would have been nice to know what exactly an art EE constituted. I spent a lot of time kind of panicking about what exactly an art EE looked like, what a research question for an art EE was supposed to be. Looking at past year EEs helped a lot.
What was the commitment like?
Presumably the same as any other EE! You need lots of time, research and INTEREST!
Depending on who you get as your EE mentor, deadlines could be verrryyy lax, so you have to have some self-discipline to actually write up your EE. My EE mentor didn’t really give me strict deadlines for each draft until much later (compared to other subjects and mentors), so you have to take some initiative to actually… do your EE.
You also need to get an interview with an expert in the field. Most people already have a friend/relative to interview, if not it takes some extra initiative on your part to find and contact your interviewees.
What are some common pitfalls of students who have chosen to take Art EE?
The number of people taking art EE is kind of small, and their topics are so varied, so I think it’s kind of hard to find “common” pitfalls. I guess because of the small candidature, there’re no very strict deadlines, which can be worrying.
There might also be a lack of clear direction. The structure of your EE depends on your topic, so there’s no fixed structure. Not really a pitfall, just a slight problem. Unlike science EEs, you have to determine the structure of your EE and what answers your RQ best. The body of your EE should be structured how you think best answers your RQ. If your RQ is decent and you know what you want to cover, I think the structure should pretty much build itself.
What skills would you specifically need for an EE in this subject?
You need to know how to approach experts in the field, because you need to get interviews (primary research). People doing architecture usually have architect friends or family, but I was doing animation, and I have no links at all to the animation industry. Thankfully, my EE supervisor knew someone working in the industry, and I managed to call and get an interview with another. (I called the studio that produced the show I was researching, and they got someone who worked on the show to contact me. The interviews were conducted over e-mail.)
Also, you need to know what questions to ask that will help answer your RQ and strengthen your argument. My advice here would be to do this as soon as possible and not put it off, because the later your push it the more of a headache it becomes. And there are so many factors that depend on your interviewee – they might be busy and take weeks to respond. Don’t take that risk! Plus if you get it done early, you have more primary research you can build your EE upon. And if you do it late, you may have to change some parts of your EE to align with the new info you’ve collected, which is troublesome.
I suppose unique to an art EE would be design/technical knowledge. But to be honest, art is a very, very large subject, so it’s hard to determine what skills and knowledge you would specifically need. It depends on what area of art you choose, and your research question. But whatever you choose, you should be very familiar with it (for example, I chose character design, so I read up a lot on principles of character design and became very familiar with them. To be fair though, they are fairly simple and straightforward) and it’ll help you when writing your EE. For an art EE, I think it’s more important to focus on the visual aspect of whatever you’re researching, rather than provide cultural/historical context. Those should be mentioned but not the focus of your EE. (This could vary depending on your topic, but for me it was definitely the case.)
It’s also strongly recommended that your EE have some local grounding – a bit like your IB VA coursework – they prefer to see some local context, so it’s best to include some local thing. (I analyzed the character design of a local animated TV series, others chose to research architecture of local buildings, works of local artists etc).
Apparently because it’s an art EE, you’re also graded on how pretty your EE is. So get familiar with all your formatting stuff and make your EE nice looking. I suppose it’s also extra important to know how to cite biblio/footnote for pictures, but it’s fairly easy to find info on how to do that on the internet.
Do you have any regrets choosing this EE?
None! It was a great process, and I definitely feel like I learned a lot.
Claudia Tay is from the graduating batch of 2014.