Arts Education

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Arts Education is the broad field of educational practices facilitating the understanding of art and culture, making use of specific artistic and cultural methodology (like facilitating drawing, painting, theatre, music, photography, movie skills), or including ideas and methodology from the field of arts and culture in other educational approaches.

Artistic and cultural expression are valuable resources for stimulating creativity and broadening the learners' ability to perceive and express. On a social level cultural activities and products are a mirror of our values and norms, our social diversity, our heritage and visions for the future. Recognizing this role of arts and culture for our lives, UNESCO seeks with the Seoul Agenda to develop a holistic conceptual frame for arts education.[1] It has two main elements.


Learning through the arts/culture

Utilizing artistic expressions and cultural resources and practises, contemporary and traditional, as a competency learning tool under an inter-disciplinary perspective.

learning in the arts/culture

Stressing the value of cultural perspectives, multi and inter-cultural, and culturally-sensitive languages through learning processes, as a tool for promoting the idea of cultural diversity.

Quality Criteria for Arts Education

The starting point is a creative learner, being able to initiate new things and to shape processes and works. Arts Education is supporting learners then with the tools and skills offered through arts and cultural work. The German Federal Association for Cultural Youth Education [2] developed basic quality standards rooted in the idea of competency centered facilitation.

Arts and cultural expression as a starting point and frame

Works, processes and methods are instruments for autodidactical learning resulting from aesthetic perception and experience. Perception and creative activity are put into dialogue. They are enriched by reflection. A diversity of forms and styles allows learners to broaden their repertoire for expressing and ideating.

Resource Orientation

Existing strengths and talents of learners are in the centre. The main focus is set on the activation of individual potentials by strengthening the strengths and talents. Topics and subjects are through the learners perceived as interesting and inspiring. There is a connection of the subjects to the social reality of learners. The decisions on the way an educational process takes and what kind of instruments it uses are a result of a participatory negotiation. The individual ways of (youth)cultural expression are appreciated.


Learners are perceived as experts on their educational process and co-create it, including the choice of topics, questions and ways of work. They are not enforced to participate. The processes stimulate learners to take a stand, to discuss their positions in dialogue and learn to involve in group decisionmaking. Learners experience self efficacy and are perceiving their ability to create works in a successful way.

Personal Competency Development

A mix of emotional, cognitive and social learning and a variety of methods and opportunities for expression is involved.

Diversity and Inclusion

Individuality and social diversity are appreciated. The learning process makes use of multiperspectivity. Diverse needs are respected and the learning space is shaped according to these needs of individual learners.

These criteria show that artistic processes are, even if they are collaborative, not necessarily suitable for art education. The idea of artistic mastery and leadership sometimes conflicts with the ideal of empowerment as a tendencially open process. A strong result or product orientation can conflict with needs orientation. The role of a curator, instructor, artistic advisisor, director or dirigent needs to be completed through the pedagogical attitude of a facilitator. The process design of educational arts projects needs to include space for group experience and reflection, for individual learning curves and for cooperative learning.


Creativity is an ability that helps us process the wealth of information that our minds collect and forge connections between different pieces of information in order to find a solution to a problem in a new way, or to come to a new understanding of the problem itself. It is a fundamental aspect of creation, a proactive and future-directed process involving intellectual, material and social resources.

Creative Facilitation at Competendo:

More background information and methods for stimulating creativity and designing creative learning processes: Unleashing Creativity

Drama and Play

Theatre reflects the reality and shows us different points of views and interpretations of life. At the same time, theatre is always reflection for the actors as well as for the audience, no matter if played in a official theatre, on the street or in a classroom. The audience recognizes themselves in the magical space that is shown on stage. By changing the perspective, actors can recognize stereotypical behaviours easier and thus find alternative ways of acting in problematic situations. This way theatre can help to clarify situations in a playful manner.

In addition to that the playful and unconscious way of dealing with the foreign language helps to overcome inhibitions to speak or to present oneself during the seminar. Acting and laughing together creates an atmosphere of trust. Finally, fun and a good feeling for the group are important things for every seminar.

In order to be able to use the different ways of expression which the theatre offers, the participants have to make their body able to express itself and therefore they have to know their body very well. Only at this stage different forms of theatre can be used and the participants can leave step by step the audience and become actors themselves. This is the only way how participants cab become subjects instead of objects and develop from witness of a happening to protagonists. This development from spectator to actor happens in different phases. The introduction to theatre is therefore exercise and experiment with the own Body.

Active and Critical Media Competence

Under the conditions of modern media environments the ability to sucessfully navigate and create information and also to give shape to it is becoming a more and more relevant for any learner. Inline with progressing developments of the digital transformation especially our assumptions about media and definitions of media competence needed to be constantly applied. Media and Information Literacy is becoming an indispensable element of holistic learning - as part of arts education, digital learning or empowerment for active citizenship. Evidence shows especially the crucial role of civil society and non-formal learning (among others European Audiovisual Observatory, 2016 [3] for facilitating media and information competence. Inline with the second law of UNESCO's five MIL laws it must be seen as an active competence and important ingridient of empowerment: "Every citizen is a creator of information/knowledge and has a message. They must be empowered to access new information/knowledge and to express themselves"[4].

A modern approach to media pedagogy should focus on the wide range of lifelong learners and no longer focus primarily on young people.In addition, we can learn from modern media education more than from other fields of education, to recognize our participants not only as users, but as prod-users, producers and users of content in one person. Learning but also competent. Reflecting and actively experimenting at the same time.

Five laws of media and Information Literacy

Law One

Information, communication, libraries, media, technology, the Internet as well as other forms of information providers are for use in critical civic engagement and sustainable development. They are equal in stature and none is more relevant than the other or should be ever treated as such.

Law Two

Every citizen is a creator of information/knowledge and has a message. They must be empowered to access new information/knowledge and to express themselves. MIL is for all – women and men equally – and a nexus of human rights.

Law Three

Information, knowledge, and messages are not always value neutral, or always independent of biases. Any conceptualization, use and application of MIL should make this truth transparent and understandable to all citizens.

Law Four

Every citizen wants to know and understand new information, knowledge and messages as well as to communicate, even if she/he is not aware, admits or expresses that he/she does. Her/his rights must however never be compromised.

Law Five

Media and information literacy is not acquired at once. It is a lived and dynamic experience and process. It is complete when it includes knowledge, skills and attitudes, when it covers access, evaluation/assessment, use, production and communication of information, media and technology content.

Source: Five Laws of MIL[4]

Ressources: Creativity

Resources: Digital & Media Competence


  1. UNESCO: Seoul Agenda: Goals for the Development of Arts Education
  2. Bundesvereinigung Kulturelle Jugendbildung: Arbeitspapier „Aufwachsen mit Kunst, Kultur und Spiel. Qualitätsmerkmale für die Kulturelle Bildung
  3. European Audiovisual Observatory, 2016. Mapping of media literacy practices and actions in EU-28. Strasbourg 2016.
  4. 4.0 4.1 Grizzle, A. & Singh, J. (2016). Five Laws of Media and Information Literacy as Harbingers of Human Rights. A Legacy of Ranganathan’s Five Laws of Library Science. In: Singh, J.; Kerr, P.; Hamburger, E. (2016). Media and information literacy: reinforcing human rights, countering radicalization and extremism. The MILID yearbook, UNESCO, Paris.