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Platform Paper 41
As the Australian Curriculum gears up for release, our arts institutions are considering what a national arts curriculum will mean for them. Arts and education practitioners and strategists Meg Upton and Naomi Edwards have been studying the new landscape and urge a radical rethink of arts companies’ education programs and their purpose. Extensive research has shown how transformative the arts are to learning and understanding. But while both the education and the arts organisations are at one on this outcome, they are a long way from understanding each other’s practice. While most performing arts companies have education departments, their sustainability has been shaky and largely aimed at performing required works and increasing audiences. The opportunity awaits for artist/teacher partnerships to engage young people in ways that will place their company at the centre of innovation. For live theatre to prove its relevance in the digital age, say the authors, young people must become the core business of every creative arts company in Australia.
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The transformative potential of arts education has been well established over many years, but particularly the past twenty years, revealed by significant findings from a series of key research projects, longitudinal in their approach, rigorous in their methodology and unequivocal in their reported results. We now know, because research tells us so, that great arts education and powerful arts experiences can transform the lives of young people. They build capacity to journey through life and to contribute to its betterment.