The Arts in most, if not all, cultures are integral to life: function, creation and learning are intertwined. The Arts withholds the potential to being fundamentally instrumental, in both formal and non-formal ways, as vehicles of knowledge and the methods of learning different disciplines. This instrumental approach to Arts Education neither limits the Arts as a supplementary educational tool, nor simply aims at bringing arts into curricula as the main content or a study subject.
UNESCO basically promotes two main approaches to Arts Education, which can be implemented at the same time and need not be distinct. The “learning through the arts/culture” approach demonstrates how we can utilize artistic expressions and cultural resources and practises, contemporary and traditional, as a learning tool. It targets to draw on the rich wealth of culture, knowledge and skills of societies to enhance an inter-disciplinary approach to learning in a range of subject areas.
The “learning in the arts/culture” approach stresses the value of cultural perspectives, multi and inter-cultural, and culturally-sensitive languages through learning processes. This kind of approach contributes to engender understanding of the importance of cultural diversity and reinforce behaviour patterns underlying social cohesion.
The benefits of introducing the arts and cultural practices into learning environments showcase a balanced intellectual, emotional and psychological development of individuals and societies. Such education not only strengthens cognitive development and the acquisition of life skills – innovative and creative thinking, critical reflection, communicational and inter-personal skills, etc – but also enhances social adaptability and cultural awareness for individuals, enabling them to build personal and collective identities as well as tolerance and acceptance, appreciation of others. The positive impact it gives on the development of societies ranges from cultivating social cohesion and cultural diversity to preventing standardization and promoting sustainable development.
International Arts Education Week 21-27 May 2012
The First Celebration of International Arts Education Week took place at UNESCO Headquarters on 23 May 2012 with the participation of artists, educators, researchers, NGO actors and international associations.
According to the decision of the 36th session of UNESCO’s General Conference in 2011 (Resolution 36/C55), the 4th week of May was proclaimed as the International Arts Education Week.
Dates of the next International Arts Education Weeks:
- May 19-25, 2014
- May 25-31, 2015
- May 23-29, 2016
- May 22-28, 2017
- May 21-27, 2018
- May 20-26, 2019
- May 25-31, 2020
- May 24-30, 2021
- May 23-29, 2022
- May 22-28, 2023
- May 20-26, 2024
- May 19-25, 2025