Perspektiven Kultureller Bildung in Europa. Diversität und Flucht (Perspectives of Arts Education in Europe. Diversity and Displacement)

Publication Type:

Conference Proceedings


Perspektiven Kultureller Bildung in Europa in Zeiten von Diversität und Flucht / vom 02. bis 03. November 2016 iPerspectives of Arts Education in Europe in Times of Diversity and Displacement, Akademie der Kulturellen Bildung des Bundes und des Landes NRW e.V., Remscheid, Germany, p.220 (2016)



The publication “Perspektiven Kultureller Bildung in Europa. Diversität und Flucht” (Perspectives of Arts Education in Europe. Diversity and Displacement) is the documentation of a two-day conference organized by the Academy of Arts Education from 2 November to 3 November 2016 in Remscheid. It compiles the edited keynotes and panel contributions of arts education experts from Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Hungary, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, the United Kingdom, as well as an introductory article by Susanne Keuchel and summaries of the panel discussions.

All texts are provided both in German and English.


Research interest and institutional background

The international conference “Perspectives of Arts Education in Europe in Times of Diversity and Displacement” was organized to address two relevant aspects of current arts education policy, practice and research: the increasing cultural diversity of actors, beneficiaries and subjects of arts education on the one hand, and the European challenge of refugee inflows and its implications for arts education on the other hand. By attracting speakers from different fields of expertise in the realm of arts and cultural education and from different social and policy frameworks, the conference strived to foster knowledge transfers and discursive exchange between arts education professionals and provide insights to German field actors.

The conference was funded by the Federal Commissioner for Culture and Media with financial support from the NRW Kultursekretariat, Wuppertal. The conference speakers were acquired with the help of the European Network of Observatories in the Field of Arts and Cultural Education (ENO).

Research types

Due to the conference’s objective to gather a variety of experts, represented countries and institution types and the twofold conference theme of diversity /displacement, the level and type of scientific approach accordingly exhibited a high degree of variety. Whilst a small share of articles presents own research, others feature a systematic review of existing research, arts education practice and/or political frameworks. Several articles are based on own experiences in the practical and/or policy field in the context of diversity/refugee-related arts education, whereby some of those are more systematic while others take a more essayistic/anecdotic approach.

Outcome and results

Reflections of the current state of arts education in the light of diversity

Some articles address the challenges posed by cultural diversity as a reflection of a crisis of arts and cultural education.  This is what Paul Collard refers to in his keynote “Arts Education and the liberal democratic crisis” when stating “that those rejecting this European cultural tradition are those who were thoroughly educated in it” (Collard 2016: 22). By observing an increasing sceptical attitude of voters and adolescents towards values and contents embraced by arts education actors, he takes a critical perspective on the ambitious goals of arts education programmes.  Michael Wimmer makes a similar point in his article “Arts education and the struggle for cultural hegemony” by outlining the relationship between diversity, liberalism and individualisation and questioning the current and future position of arts education or Kulturelle Bildung. Joan Parr criticises a somewhat passive stance of arts education actors when it comes to their role in the political arenas: “[D]o we continue to stay on the defensive and struggle to fight for the place of “arts education” or should we stand back a bit and take a harder look at what it is we are trying to achieve, and think about whether we need to change focus?” (Parr 2016: 31). In his article “I am confused,” Teunis IJdens comments on the struggles of arts education professionals – including his own – when it comes to reconciling arts educational practice, policy and research with identity and counter-identity movements taking place on the ground.

Distribution of arts and cultural participation across ethnic groups

In her article “Not just a black-and-white story” based on a research project with John Lievens, Jessy Siongers provides evidence from a survey on Flemish adolescents’ arts participation across different ethnic backgrounds. Their research interest is also a methodological one: “[D]oes survey material really measure ethnic differences and can they measure ethnic differences?” (Lievens & Siongers 2016: 70). By exploring the political-institutional framework for arts education programmes and outlining selected examples from practice, Nevelina Pachova takes a developmental perspective on raising equality in terms of arts and cultural participation. In her article with Gemma Carbo et al., “Cultural diversity and arts education,” she shares experiences from arts education projects addressing migrant children and their families in Catalonia.

Political and historic frameworks of immigration and its reflection in arts and cultural education

Lígia Ferro’s article “The role of arts and cultural education in the social inclusion of refugees in Portugal” written with João Teixeira Lopes and Luísa Veloso outlines the development of immigration and its reflection in culture and arts education practice and research. Additionally, the articles by Carbo et al. and Teunis IJdens provide descriptive information on political and social frameworks in their respective countries.

Diversity-oriented arts education measures and evaluation

In her article “How to create intercultural learning environments with the help of creative practitioners?”, Szilvia Németh presents the main findings of the evaluation of the Creative Partnerships Hungary programme, where practitioners were being introduced in the classroom “to prepare artists to work with teachers and students to bring about sustainable changes in teachers’ teaching practice” (Németh 2016: 101). Németh links the programme to the potential of introducing creative methods in a diverse classroom. Charlotte Svendler Nielsen’s article “Children’s diverse voices“ on dance education addresses “research methods to observe processes in a way that opens for diverse and embodied understanding” (Svendler Nielsen 2016: 155).

Impulses from artistic and arts educational practice

The partly essayistic, partly documentary text “Speaking about Heroism” by L’Autre Mairie des Calais deals with philosophical and cultural approaches towards the former refugee and migrant encampment “Calais Jungle” and “the notion of heroism across the European migrant crisis” (L’Autre Mairie de Calais 2016: 54). In her article “Focus on displacement,” Sirikit Amann presents KulturKontakt Austria’s arts educational work with schools with a focus on the immigrant society and new incomings. Discussing the outcomes and possible positive effects of different approaches, she also states that “[s]ometimes, however, the stakeholders reach the limits of what arts education can achieve. One clear line that is drawn in arts education is with art therapy […] and social work […]” (Amann 2016: 176). In her article “Pilot: Arts and Culture Education for Refugees”, Monica Leuring shares insights from the cooperation between the local cultural institution Parkvilla and the Dutch municipality of Alphen leading to an arts education pilot project for local refugees. In her article “Refuge and Theatre,” Sofia Cabrita shares experiences from her work as a leader of a refugee’s drama group in Portugal.