Education and the Arts

Education and the Arts

Education and the Arts

Education and the Arts

Synopsis

Education and the Arts take a broad look at the policy and theoretical contexts of education and the arts, particularly in the context of Scotland's innovative Curriculum for Excellence. How do the arts and education interact? What is arts education and what it is for? Tensions exist between process and product: is arts education intended to produce artists; is it a means of producing audiences; or another way to motivate learners? What does 'creativity' mean and how do current definitions impact on curricular practice in arts subjects and in subjects not traditionally linked with the arts? In a wide ranging review of the issues and tensions of contemporary policy and practice Beth Dickson offers a distinctive analysis of arts education, its purpose and its role. Education and the Arts will appeal to students, teachers and policy-makers concerned with the role of arts education.

Excerpt

Currently in developed Western economies, policy-making is often influenced by neo-liberal ideas which are based on understandings of the working of economic markets and the belief that understanding of the market can be applied to other areas, such as arts education. Policies can be made internationally by organisations such as the Council of Europe and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) but they can also be made by national governments. This chapter will trace the way in which international and national policy-making operates. Neo-liberal policies redefine the purposes of arts education from purely curricular outcomes by taking seriously the wider contribution that arts education claims to make to national economies, social cohesion and individual well-being. In all these purposes, economic development and human enrichment are mingled.

Firstly, arts education contributes to the economy by providing artists and workers for creative industries and, in a more recent development, arts education is seen as a means of producing future audiences for the arts. Secondly, arts education is undertaken because it is believed that it has a role in social cohesion as arts education offers experiences and events which serve diverse communities. Thirdly, arts education is undertaken because it is believed that it is important for individual flourishing. Thus there is a transition from curricular to wider socio-economic purposes for arts education. The first feature of the transition is that arts education is no longer a small part of the work of education ministries alone but is sometimes part of the work of ministries of culture. Policy is likely to be expressed more in terms of education or culture, depending on which ministry has the greatest policy responsibility. This is not so much a tension - although it can lead to tensions - as a feature of transition to new policy purposes. A second feature of the transition is that policy . . .

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