Diversität in der Kulturellen Bildung (Diversity in Arts Education)

Publication Type:



Perspektivwechsel Kulturelle Bildung, Transcript, Volume 1, Bielefeld (2015)




Generally, the diversity (of cultural expressions) is being embraced by many actors in the field of arts education and accepted as its basic principle. The educational goal of transcultural and intercultural learning is frequently pursued by arts educational practice. What does diversity-conscious arts education actually mean, and to what extent is arts education really open to the manifold needs of various target groups?

The volume “Diversität in der Kulturellen Bildung” (Diversity in Arts Education) looks into these and similar aspects systematically and from various angles. Apart from general scientific perspectives, the anthology addresses findings and concerns from arts educational practice and resulting further training needs.

The volume issued by the Academy of Arts Education of the Government and the State of North Rhine-Westphalia compiles thirteen positions of fourteen arts and cultural education professionals from Germany and Austria. As the first issue of the series “Perspective change arts education – professional discourse, further training, research” (“Perspektivenwechsel Kulturelle Bildung – Fachdiskurs, Fortbildung, Forschung”), the editors deliberately chose “diversity” as the volume’s topic as it is one of the Academy’s central fields of work. Equally, the objective of making cultural diversity perceptible in a positive way is reflected in the Academy’s guiding principles.


Research interest

In this context, the editors aim to find answers to the following questions:

  • How is diversity reflected in recent concepts and methods of arts & cultural education?
  • How diversity-conscious is arts and cultural education when encountering children and young persons with their differing life worlds and experiences?
  • How actively does educational practice embody the inclusive leitmotiv of equal educational participation rights for all?

The volume’s articles focusing on these and other related questions are divided into three chapters, which are dedicated to a subject-related perspective on diversity in the context of arts and cultural education, a practice- and professionally related one and a methodological and further training-related one respectively.

As the editors strive to have a range of professional perspectives reflected in their book, the authors are primarily academics or practitioners in the field of arts and cultural education, however a considerable share of them appear to embody both perspectives.

The Academy of Arts Education of the Government and the State of North Rhine-Westphalia as the study’s institutional author

The Academy of Arts Education is one of the major providers of arts educational further training in Germany, covering different artistic and arts-related fields such as performing and visual arts, music, dance and others. Being actively involved in arts education for 60 years, the Academy is equally engaged in setting the agenda when it comes to current topics and challenges of arts such as (cultural) diversity: The Academy thus has launched the project “diversity-conscious arts education” that ran from 2015 to 2017, to which one of the volume’s articles is explicitly dedicated.

Research types

The books’ articles can generally be differentiated into different types: Basic articles addressing key questions, such as the text entitled “Arts and cultural educations in times of increasing differences” by Michael Wimmer or “Diversity, Globalisation and Individualisation” by Susanne Keuchel. Those articles reference relevant theories, some of them leading to policy recommendations. Among these kinds of articles some address specific questions such as “homogeneous groups in a diverse society” (Michael Götting). Other articles focus on specific examples from arts education, be it specific projects or a certain aspect of arts education, such as Brigitte Dietze’s text “Participative Arts Projects” or “transcultural urban spaces” (Ernst Wagner). Those articles can be described as theory-backed case studies. Only one article is based on methodology: the exploratory study “’Internationality’ in arts educational practice” by Susanne Keuchel. The vast majority of articles follows a rather essayistic style of conveying evidence.

Outcome & Conclusions

As the book entails a number of articles and related research questions, there is no single outcome but rather, as mentioned before, several different conclusions on the overall research questions.

Michael Wimmer's article on arts and cultural education in times of increasing differences explores the difficult relationship between cultural differentiation and "communitarisation", stating that the growing cultural diversity implies social hierarchies between forms of cultural expressions. Susanne Keuchel's article on diversity, globalisation and individualisation, which references Ulrich Beck's Risk Society and critically reflects upon a tendency to employ arts education as a political "cure-all" concludes with several suggestions for (re-)designing a diversity-conscious arts education concept. A similar, English version of the article is available in Barend van Heusden/ Valiz Pascal Gielen (2015) "Arts Education Beyond Art: Teaching in Times of Change". The article "Kulturelle und curriculare Barrieren der Potenzialentfaltung von Zuwanderern" ("Cultural and curricular barriers of migrants' capability development") by Haci-Halil Uslucan strives to examine psychological roots for migrants' educational failures and calls for a stronger acknowledgment of migrants' cultural and artistic potentials. In her article "Lokale Bildungslandschaften und Diversität" (Local educational landscapes and diversity"), Viola Kelb explores the challenges of introducing diversity-consciousness in educational co-operations and comments on the relationship between concepts such as transculturality and their translation into arts educational practice. The article on homogenous groups in a diverse society by Michael Götting asks whether arts education practice taking place in "homogenous" groups should be supported in the first place when diversity is being called for. After elaborating on this question, he concludes that most homogenous groups happen to be heterogeneous when taking a closer look at them, that diversity is therefore merely a question of perspective. In his article "Diversität - eine Frage der Quote" ("Diversity - a question of quota"), Chadi Bahouth discusses a "quota of migrants" in media institutions and, on a more general level, arts educational practice. Brigitte Dietze's article on participation strives to explore the potential of visual art projects as a means of empowerment and fostering diversity consciousness. She suggests ten key factors to be considered when setting up participatory and diversity-conscious art projects. Susanne Keuchel's article on internationality in arts educational practice summarises the outcomes of an exploratory study on how internationality is represented in recent arts education measures. This website contains a detailed discussion and an English version of the article. The article "Diversität in der Kulturellen Bildung - eine Quadratur des Kreises" ("Squaring the circle: Diversity in arts education") by Barbara Neundlinger and Eva Kolm discusses diversity as a challenge in formal arts education in Austria. The authors provide different examples of the benefits of schools as a shared area for arts education and diversity management. In their article "Diversitätsbewusste Kulturelle Bildung (DiKuBi)" ("Diversity-conscious arts education"), the authors Susanne Keuchel and Maria Dunz outline the further training concept of the same name. The article outlines the training concepts' objectives, theoretical and methodological foundations, examples from existing training methods and their transferability on to arts education. Horst Pohlmann and Marietheres Waschk's article "Digitale Helden - globale Helden?" ("Digital heroes - global heroes?") discusses inter- and transcultural aspects within video games and the gaming community. In her article "Choreografie einer Diversität" ("choreography of a diversity"), Ronit Land explores dance and dance education as an opportunity to encounter the Other, concluding with a call for more readily embracing our dynamic identities. The article on transcultural urban spaces by Ernst Wagner discusses the concepts of Global Citizenship and "glocality" - combining local and global aspects -  as an arts educational perspective through the example of transcultural urban spaces in Munich. He concludes with a set of questions to be posed when introducing transcultural urban spaces in arts education.