Creative Connections: An Arts in Education Policy Consultation Paper
This consultation paper is intended as a first step in designing an arts education policy for the State of Western Australia. An interesting aspect of this process is the joint ownership of the policy by the Department of Education and Training and Department of Culture and the Arts. Indeed, the idea of partnership is embraced by the document. For a government document, the paper is written in a refreshingly straightforward and comprehensible style.
The paper identifies the arts in education “as not merely curricular subjects, but an area of learning that should be integrated into the overall education system”. There are many strong words of support for the benefits of arts education, including: “Arts in education can contribute to broad educational goals and is vital to developing creative abilities, which are increasingly being identified as necessary skills for the workforce of the 21st Century.” Given the fact that creativity is gaining recognition as a key driver in the economy, the paper sees arts and culture as central to public policy.
The consultation paper’s review of existing arts education research in the US and the UK provides a very readable and useful summary. Based largely on the results of the literature review, the four policy objectives outlined in the paper include: 1) to support the provision of high quality experiences in the arts in education; 2) to raise the profile and the status of the arts in education; 3) to contribute to and support local and national arts in education research; and 4) to strengthen the relationship between the arts and culture and education sectors to ensure a long-term collaborative partnership. The paper outlines next steps in terms of public consultation before final policy initiatives are decided.