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Arts and Education
The arts, education and health are three braided strands that give strength to each other – each being normal, natural and necessary for human flourishing. In the same way that health and wellbeing is more than the absence of illness, arts education is more than learning in schools and includes knowing and feeling, the mind and the body, and acting and reflecting in participatory ways that promote social inclusion and active ways of meaning-making.
Consequently, health and wellbeing can be built on through the somatic, emotional, kinaesthetic, cognitive, aesthetic and social opportunities afforded through quality arts education. In short, partnerships between the arts, education and health can provide a space to develop health and wellbeing. This entails both feeling good and functioning well, having the tools to inquire into issues of wellbeing, and forms with which to express the results of those inquiries in engaging and participatory ways that are interconnected, generative and accessible.
In Australia, The Australia Council for the Arts oversees the National Education and the Arts Network and coordinates national policy on arts education. It is currently developing its Strategic Priorities for the Arts in Education for Australian schools and communities.
In the UK, the National Foundation for Educational Research has made signifiacnt contributions to the field through projects such as Creativity Culture and Education; the Arts–Education Interface; and Creative Partnerships in Education. UNESCO is now an international leader in the promotion of arts in education. In Australia, the UNESCO Observatory – located at the University of Melbourne – researches, publishes and disseminates information on the arts in education.
The Second World Conference on Arts Education in Korea was held in 2010 to promote arts in education, in particular bringing together education and culture. The congress is the result of a long-term collaboration between UNESCO and its partner organisations.