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European Arts Education Project Fact Finding Mission

Call for Participation

Arts and Cultural Education – It's all about resources?

Arts and cultural education is a growing field of interest when we talk about public art programs, educational enrichment or the necessity of creativity in a knowledge-based society.

In this context arts and cultural education is seen as a general formula to ensure positive impacts for the learners, by that increasingly accepted as a cultural and educational policy tool. Up to now a manifold variety of programmes and good practices were set up. To do so institutions get public funding and private donations for services provided in arts and cultural education, to enable and to foster cooperation between art institutions and schools. The domain is increasingly professionalized: more and more universities establish master programs in arts and cultural education.

However there is also a dark side to this success story: Interviews with stakeholders, experts and decision-makers show an alarming lack of information on resources spent in the arts and cultural education sector. Nobody knows about even the dimension of public expenditures or about the number and qualification of the staff involved. Even the definition is very much unclear: of what kind of resources are we talking about, what kind of resources are of relevance for the sector?

How Could this Happen?

As there is no clear definition of resources various reasons can be assumed to be responsible for this fundamental deficit. The emergence of arts and cultural education within the last 10 years was accompanied by enhanced output orientation of the authorities involved. As an intermediary between arts, culture and formal and informal education, the domain funds are still rather fragmented within educational and cultural budgets. Therefore the domain of arts and cultural education is not covered by recent developments of cultural statistics and governmental budgets. In result, allocations of funds are mainly justified by the power of advocacy and not by facts and figures to steer the founding of public and private interventions in the field of arts and cultural education professionally.

Fact Finding Mission

EDUCULT aims to close this gap of information by a project called “Fact Finding Mission” with the intention to facilitate a more evidence-based policy approach. Partly founded by the European Culture Program, EDUCULT intends to structure the field of arts cultural education and produce a frame for reliable data development. To ensure the diversity of national contexts within the European Union, contributions are made by five different national partner institutions. In view of the participative approach of applied research, experts and practitioners are sought for interviews and expertise to have all aspects of resources in arts and cultural education included.

Being aware that arts and cultural education is a complex field, EDUCULT provides an a priori working definition to start the discussion process: “Arts and cultural education is a professional process within an institution with the aim of affecting a specific target group or person.”

As the different approaches of in-school and out-of-school education, of arts and cultural institutions as well as of governmental and private institutions have to be taken into account, the institutional view seems to be quite important as best feasible for structuring the resource dimension for the domain importance to have the domain structured in the approach. Accordingly, this dimension seems best feasible.

Models to Structure the Field

Based on this assumption, three models seem to be relevant to discuss structures of arts and cultural education. First, the triangle model of sectors, which distinguishes between the public, the private and the intermediary sector. The latter considers NPOs and NGOs.

Secondly, a model of concentric cycles might be useful to map out the structures of arts and cultural education. Starting with the inner circle representing artistic education, the others might relate in a broader sense to arts education and cultural education including also the social dimension of the domain.

Last but not least, an input- output model is proposed. This micro model aspires to decrease the complexity within the domain of arts and cultural education process to enable a causal relationship between resources and impacts.

By carrying out this project, EDUCULT is not going to reinvent the wheel. Accordingly, it is hoped to link the research to current projects like the compendium initiative or the UNESCO-KACES glossary project.

Invitation to Participate

During the first phase, the project will focus mainly on cultural institutions for case studies by the end of 2010.

In this phase of the project, EDUCULT appreciates contributions from practitioners and experts to learn more about their assumptions in terms of resources included. Therefore it invites all those involved in arts and cultural education policy to take part in the research process and power the Fact Finding Mission with feedback expressing their views. EDUCULT provides an invitation and regularly updated working questions for the reader.

Further information may be found at http://www.educult.at or by contacting Peter Szokol at peter.szokol@educult.at.