In Jack Persekian's introduction to Workbook, he not only highlights the practical reasons for the shift of emphasis that occurred with the Tamkeen workshops, but also elaborates on one of the fundamental premises upon which they were based:
We are constantly bombarded with images and visuals – TV, internet, advertisement, packaging, magazines, presentations etc. Yet we see that our society is not part of that, is not part of the production of these visuals, this information exchange, this means of communication. We are lagging behind with the means, the tools, the know-how and the capabilities to be part of it. We ought to be frightened by the fact that, at this rate, we will always be left behind, never able to catch up with the rest of the developed world: dragging our feet. (Jack Persekian, Workbook, 2004)
What is striking about this statement is the complete absence of any specific situational conditionals especially notable because the Tamkeen workshops coincided with some of the bloodiest events of the second intifada period. The approach taken is one of normality, one that can perceive the future needs of a potential national entity in a global context and as such, can identify skills it will need as a matter of course. The essence of the Tamkeen workshops was to take participants through the whole process of creativity by examining how other artists had worked and how to read and understand the things they had created. This meant formulating and discussing ideas, contextualising them and only then learning the skills that enabled a realisation of their own ideas in the most effective or appropriate way.
This made the workshops comprehensive vehicles for introducing and promoting an awareness of visual literacy as well as providing exposure to practical creative skills. In the process they became an early deposit against Jack Persekian’s fears of a future visual deficit.