Burton, Judith M. (jmb62)

Burton, Judith M.

Macy Professor of Education
Macy Professor of Education

Office Location:

445A Macy

Office Hours:

By appointment: arted@tc.edu

Educational Background

National Diploma in Design, Hornsey College of Art, London; Academic Diploma in Education, University of London; M.Ed., University of Manchester; Ed.D., Harvard University

M.Ed. Thesis: Innovation in Art Education at the Secondary Level in France and England: A Comparative Study.
Ed.D. Thesis: Lines, Space, and the Organization of Meaning in Human Figure Drawings Made by Children Eight to Fifteen Years.

Scholarly Interests

Artistic-aesthetic development in children and adolescents. Learning, and transfer of learning in the arts. Instructional methods in the arts. Role of artists in the education of children. Cultural experiences in arts education.

Selected Publications

Burton, J.M. & Hafeli, M., (Eds.) Conversations in Art:  The Dialectics of Teaching and Learning. Reston, VA: NAEA.

Burton, J.M., Guide for Teaching and Learning in the Visual Arts.

Burton, J. M.  (2007). Conversations Across Cultures.  In Al Hurwitz, Memory and Experience, Reston, VA: NAEA Press.

Burton, J.M.  (2006).  Drawing in the Service of the Mind. In Rolf Niehoff and Rainer Wenrich (Eds).  Thinking and Learning with Images. Munich, Germany: Kopaed.

Burton, J. M.  (2006). The Integrity of Personal Experience, or the Presence of Life in Art.  International Journal of Arts Education. 3.2.

Burton, J.M., (2004).  The Practice of Teaching: Devices and Desires .In Elliot Eisner, and Michael Day, (Eds.).  The Handbook of Research and Policy in Art Education. Reston, VA: National Art Education Association.

Dr. Judith M. Burton is Professor and Director of Art & Art Education at Columbia University Teachers College. Before that she was Chair of Art Education at Boston University and taught at the Massachusetts College of Art. Burton received her Ed. D. from Harvard University in 1980. Her research focuses on the artistic-aesthetic development of children, adolescents and young adults and the implications this has for teaching and learning and the culture in general. In 1995 she co-founded the Center for Research in Arts Education at Teachers College, and in 1996 founded the Heritage School – a comprehensive high school featuring the arts – located in Harlem, NYC. Her book Conversations in Art: The Dialectics of Teaching and Learning co-edited with Dr. Mary Hafeli was published in 2012. She is author of numerous articles and chapters and currently has two books in process of publication. She received the Manuel Barkan Award for excellence in research writing, the Lowenfeld Award for lifetime achievement in art education from NAEA and the Ziegfeld Award for services to international art education from INSEA. Dr, Burton is a Fellow of the Royal Society for the Arts in Great Britain, a Distinguished Fellow of the NAEA, and serves as Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Central Academy of Fine Arts Beijing, and the South China Normal University, Guangzhou.  She was awarded an honorary doctorate from the Beaconhouse University, Lahore, Pakistan. She is a trustee of the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, MD, USA and a former trustee of the Haystack Mountain School of Crafts in Maine, USA. She is the NAEA Eisner Lifetime Achievement honoree for 2015, in recognition of her services to the profession both nationally and globally.
October 2010. Special Recognition Art Education Award for Outstanding Service and Leadership. From NYCATA/UFT.

March 2010. Recipient of the 2010 Edwin Ziegfeld Award for contribution to international art education.  National Art Education Association.

December 2006. Special citation from the University Council for Art Education, NY, for significant contribution to art education.
December 2006. Special citation from the New York State Art Teachers Association, for leadership in art education.             

December 2006. Special citation from the New York Public Schools, for contribution to art education in the City schools.

March 2004. Elected Distinguished Fellow, National Art Education Association.

March 2001. The Lowenfeld Award, For Distinguished Contribution to the Field of Art Education Throughout the Years. Presented by the National Art Education Association.

March 2001. The Manuel Barkan Award, For Distinguished Research and Writing in Art Education. Presented by the National Art Education Association.

Spring 1995. Elected Fellow of The Royal Society of Arts (FRSA), London, England.

June 1993. Charles Robertson Memorial Award for 'Significant Contribution to Art Education in Both Theory and Practice.' The School Art League, New York.

1989.  Art Educator of the Year, Eastern Region National Art Education Association.

Lowenfeld, V. and Burton,J.M., (due spring 2003). Creative and Mental Growth. 3rd.,Edition Revised. New York: Prentice Hall

Burton, J.M., (Ed.). Conversations in Art: The dialectic of Teaching and Learning. Discussion with Various Publishers.

Burton: J.M., (1999). The Ziegfeld Collection: International Artworks of Adolescents from the 1950s. A Celebration. New York: Teachers College Columbia University.

Burton, J.M. (1999). A Guide to Teaching and Learning in the Visual Arts. Unpublished Manuscript, Teachers College Columbia University New York.

Burton, J.M., London, P., and Lederman, A.(1988) (Eds.). Beyond DBAE: The Case for Multiple Visions of Art Education. New York:University Council on Art Education.


Burton, J.M., (2001). Doctoral Programs at Teachers College. In James Hutchins, (Ed.). In Their Own Words: The Development of Doctoral Study in Art Education. Reston, VA: National Art Education Association.

Burton, J.M., (2000). Edwin Ziegfeld: A Humanistic Legacy. In, Sylvia Corwin (Ed.). The Legends of Twentieth Century Art Education, An Historical Review. Reston, VA: National Art Education Association.

Burton, J.M., Horowitz, R., and Abeles, H., (1999). Learning in and Through the Arts: Curriculum Implications. In. Ted Fisk (Edi.). Champions of Change. Washington, DC: Arts Education Partnership.

Burton, J.M., (1996). Natural Allies: Children, Teachers and Artists. In, Jane Remer (Ed.).

Beyond Enrichment. N.Y: American Council on the Arts, Publication.

Burton, J.M., (1994). Art Education and the Plight of the Culture. In Al Hurwitz and Otfried Scholtz (Edis.).Art Education in the United States of America Berlin, Germany: Hochschule Der Kuenste,.

Burton, J.M., (1993). Emerging Americans: The Painter Speaks. Introductory Chapter. In, Joan Jeffri (Ed.). The Painter Speaks, Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc.

Burton, J.M.,(1993). Trends and Issues in Visual Arts Education Curriculum. In,Visual Arts Teacher Resource Handbook. New York: Kraus International Publications.

Burton, J.M., (1988). Aesthetics in Art Education. In, Judith M. Burton, Peter London, and Arlene Lederman (Edis.). Beyond DBAE: The Case for Multiple Visions of Art Education. New York: University Council on the Arts.


Burton, J.M., (2000). The Configuration of Meaning: Learner Centered Art Education Revisited. Studies in Art Education, 41 (4).

Burton, J.M. Horowitz, R., and Abeles, H.,(2000).Learning in and Through the Arts: The Question of Transfer. Studies in Art Education, 41 (3).

Burton, J.M., (1999.) Materials and the Embodiment of Meaning. In, Jo-Anna Moore (Ed.). Crafts and Education, Haystack. Deer Isle, ME: Haystack Mountain School of Craft.

Burton, J.M., (1996). Briefing Paper on Student Learning in and Through the Arts. In, Edith Zimmerman, (Ed.). Briefing Papers: Creating a Visual Arts Research Agenda Towards the 21st Century. Reston, Virginia: National Society for Education Through Art.

Burton, J.M., (1995). The Arts in Infancy: Celebrating Artistry in the Child.
In, Al Hurwitz (Ed.). The Arts in Infancy. Baltimore, Maryland: Maryland College of the Arts Press.

Burton, J.M., (1994). The Arts in School Reform: Other Conversations. Teachers College Record, Vol. 95, No. 4.

Burton, J.M., (1992). Art Education and the Plight of the Culture: A Status Report. Art Education, Spring.

Burton, J.M., (1991. Some Basic Considerations About "Basic Art". Art Education, July.

Burton, J.M., (1990). Marino Marini: A Personal Response. IL Tremisse Pistoise, 15, N. 2-3.

Burton, J.M., (1990). The Aesthetic Presence of Truth: A Response to Rudolph Arnheim. New Ideas in Psychology, Fall.

Burton, J.M. Putting It All Together: Clay in Secondary Education. Studio Potter, Vol. 16, No. 2, June 1988.

Burton, J.M. ,(1986). Once More With Feeling: The Discipline of Art/The Art of Discipline. In Thomas Ewans (Ed.). Discipline and Art Education. Providence, RI: Rhode Island School of Design, 1986.

Burton, J.M., (1981). Developing Minds: With Three Dimensions in View. School ArtsVol. 80, No.5, January.

Burton, J.M., (1980). Developing Minds: Representing Experience From Imagination and Observation. School Arts, Vol. 80, No. 4, December.

Burton, J.M., (1980). Developing Minds: Visual Events. School Arts, Vol. 80, No. 3, November.

Burton, J.M., (1980). Developing Minds: The First Visual Symbols. School Arts, Vol. 80, No. 2, October.

Burton, J.M. (1980) Developing Minds: Beginning of Artistic Language. School Arts, Vol. 80, No. 1, September.

My research interests of late center on a number of factors contributing to the artistic development of children, adolescents and young adults in college. Studies have included examination of such questions as: how teachers ''read'' and respond to children''s art works, how children and adolescents themselves respond aesthetically to paintings, how children’s artistic thinking extend to other disciplines and the role of professional artists in stimulating learning in the arts. In essence, my research interests relate to gaining deeper insight into the emergence and continuous development of visual symbolic capacities, and the factors that both promote and inhibit this journey. I am concerned to know more about how acts of artistry shape individual’s relationships with the world, the relationship between artistic thinking and aesthetic responding, and the mediating role played by the culture.

Recent Projects:

Investigation of the relationship of learning in and through the arts to other subject disciplines in K-12 schools.   

Investigation of the sources of image making in the art-making practices of early adolescents (funded).

Investigation of the role of professional artists working in schools.

Investigation of the aesthetic responses of children, adolescents and adults to mature works of art: fine and material culture.
Maintaining a studio practice has threaded in and out of my teaching, writing and research these past years, apparently idiosyncratic, yet on reflection, not so!. I was originally trained as a painter and had the good fortune to study with Maurice deSausmerez, one of the most eminent painting teachers working in Great Britain in the 1960s. From him I acquired a great respect for the hand, the physical gesture, the mark, and the dynamics of its presence on a surface. As I now reflect on things, this, perhaps, is not surprising, as drawing has been at the center of my art practice since I was a child. For me drawing was and still is a private place, another world, in which to follow where my imagination leads. I think I have always drawn, and still do. For sometime now my drawings have taken the form of what one might call elaborate doodles, activations of surfaces: lines pushing, pulling and floating behind and in front of the flat paper. My drawings begin and go where they will, and only slowly do the lines come into relationships that hint at meanings, little messages that are multiply layered, each building on the other. I think these kinds of drawings call upon what I have termed ‘Sensory Logic’ in my more theoretical writings. They also refer to my abiding interest in the many and different ways in which we can explore the representation of the third dimension on the flat surface.

My sense is that the activity of the hand and body in consort with material provides part of the loop we call artistic intelligence, perhaps intelligence itself. We know that knowledge at its profoundest originates in and remains rooted to our bodily and emotional sensibilities. My fear is that as technology moves us further and further from actions on and with materials, and as we acquire more and more information, we will at the same time denude knowledge of its human meaning. Technology provides us with fantastic new tools, it is now up to us in arts education to use them with imagination to enrich what is central to all the arts—their humanness; the possibility they offer us all to stretch across time, space, and cultural differences and meet each other in human enterprise and community.
As I look back to the beginning of my teaching in a comprehensive secondary school in London, England, I see a set of concerns that have shaped the work I do. I remember only too vividly the young adolescent who said to me in my first year of teaching "I don’t like art and you can’t make me do it!" and another who said "show me how to make my drawing look real."

Over the ensuing years I have struggled to understand how, and for what reason, we can make art education compelling in young people’s education at a time when learning itself becomes problematic. I have also sought to ponder on the difference between my own sensibility as a trained artist and the experiences brought to artistic practice and appreciation by young people of different ages. Where does artistry come from, what is its trajectory and outcome? What is ''real'' anyway and why does this pose such critical questions for human experience, culture and art? Why do some of us feel so profoundly that art is important to life?

Out of such ponderings emerged a belief that we can, and should, educate teachers to reflect thoughtfully on their own artistic insights, be sensitive to and insightful about human development in general and in the arts specifically, and be able to translate the former into supports for the latter. Within this conception of education I also place personal agency and cultural knowledge, for it is imperative that teachers take in hand their own on-going learning and research for through this that they remain alive and young people in schools are empowered to inherit the artistic accumulations of history. Personal agency is also founded in relationship, and a growing sense of professionalism. For if we treat each other with respect and caring, as partners in a complex enterprise, if we practice professional integrity, then art education stands a chance of remaining a humanistic enterprise.

My own teaching reflects these concerns as they have been shaped over the years and as they continue to be shaped—both as a teacher and teacher educator. Each year, through work with an extraordinary vital faculty, wonderful doctoral students in research, and lively minded master students preparing to teach, my own thinking and practice move forward in many and surprising ways!

Judith teaches seven courses at Teachers College

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Seven years after Judith Burton founded Heritage School, her hand remains visible at that institution. And now the Teachers College art professor's fingerprints are evident in the new first-ever standardized arts curriculum, introduced in New York City public schools this past fall.

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