Leaving the Safety Zone: Trans-cultural Encounters in Arts Education

By David Bell and Tracy Rohan.

Published by The Arts Collection

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

This paper presents and discusses approaches to the development of a culturally informed pedagogy of arts education, with a particular focus on engaging with cultural diversity in music and the visual arts. Arts education typically privileges a Western European lens through which music and the visual arts are viewed. It also favours Western-style approaches to programme content and pedagogy. This paper suggests approaches to conversing about music and visual arts with children and young people that pay attention to the multiple ways in which people make, participate in and perceive the arts. These approaches also acknowledge and celebrate the increasingly diverse cultural identities and heritages of school populations. The paper considers the benefits of culturally responsive approaches to arts education, suggesting ways that arts educators may need to accept some broader social goals and responsibilities while celebrating the intrinsic benefits of studying the arts. The writers of this paper live in New Zealand, giving their writing an Asian-Pacific flavor and emphasis.

Keywords: Cultural Diversity, Visual Arts, Education, Music, Visual Art, Museum Education

International Journal of the Arts in Society, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp.87-98. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.732MB).

Dr. David Bell

Senior Lecturer, Curriculum Development and Teaching, University of Otago, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand

David Bell is the Lead Teacher in Art Education at the University of Otago. His research and teaching interests also embrace the theory and history of art in Japan. He has drawn on these complementary interests to develop a number of presentations on art learning, aesthetics and culture including the conference paper Learning and Invention in Hokusai. Recent book publications include Explaining Ukiyo-e and Hokusai’s Project, both investigations into the aesthetic phenomenon of ukiyo-e, the ‘floating world pictures’ of Japan.

Tracy Rohan

Senior Lecturer, Education Studies and Professional Practice, University of Otago College of Education, Dunedin, Otago, New Zealand

Tracy Rohan is a senior lecturer at the University of Otago College of Education. She is the author of many music education resources for New Zealand primary school teachers. Tracy is currently writing a PhD in the area of cultural diversity in music education. The purpose of this project is to investigate experiences of music teaching and learning within multicultural school communities in New Zealand, Australia and the United States. Her community music interests include involvement in the local production of opera for Dunedin audiences.


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