|Exploring arts & education|
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‘How can truth and beauty, technology and art, economy and politics or art and education be (re-)combined? And what are the appropriate methods to create productive combinations?’
Michael Wimmer, founder and general manager of Educult, a member organisation of our network, introduces the arts and education debate with a provocative and enlightening piece.
Could Culture Action Europe develop its role as ‘honest broker’ between the arts and education fields based on the belief that ‘the arts are a driving force for a reform of the existing educational systems taking into account that education is not just about academic skills but about comprehensive personal development comprising mind and body, knowing and feeling, acting and reflecting; all characteristics represented by the arts’?
Ever since European competencies were introduced into the Maastricht treaty (link to glossary) in both education (article 149) and culture (article 151); these two political area tend to have been grouped together in the administrative and political structures within the Union. This is the case both in the European Commission (DG Education and Culture) and European Parliament (Committee on education and culture) or the Council (Working group education youth and culture).
Since Maastricht both of these areas are clearly signalled as bulding towards European level cooperation. Both are treated under the principle of subsidiarity and so cannot be harmonised under community legislation. The Union’s aim in both cases is to fill out and complete member states actions and to encourage the European dimension of their policies. The Open Method of Coordination, which is a flexible tool for intergovernmental cooperation, is used in both these areas.
The Life Long Learning programme is the main European program in the field of education and learning. This new programme covering the period 2007 – 13 grew out of the Socrates and Leonardo and learning programmes; With budget of 7 billion euros its aim is to, stimulate exchange, cooperation and mobility between education and training throughout the Union. The programme has a number of sub-programs: Comenius (pre-school and school teaching up to the end of secondary school), Erasmus (high education and university mobility, student internship); Leonardo da Vinci (professional training and non-student internship) and the Grundtvig programme (adult eLearning). These four sub-programmes are completed by a transversal action which links cooperation and innovation in the field of life long education and language learning.
If the links between culture and education are, at the moment, only slightly visible in European actions, the tendency seems to be towards a rapprochement, principally under the framework of the European economic modernisation strategy also known as the Lisbon Process (Link to glossary). For many years now members of Culture Action Europe, such as the European Conservatories Association (AEC) or the European League of Art Institutes (ELIA) have argued for the primary role of artistic education in the development of creativity and the imagination. Artistic education, considered as ‘a process of apprenticeship which awakes the conscience and curiosity towards other cultures is a useful ‘tool of cooperation in increasingly multicultural societies’ must be defended and supported not only as a training ground for future artists but also for the intercultural competences that it offers all citizens.’
Within the framework of the Lisbon Strategy for Growth and Employment (link to glossary), but also under the 2008 European Year of Intercultural Dialogue, artistic education and general creative and intercultural skills are increasingly recognised at the European level. In this regard, also the 2009 European Year of Creativity and Innovation. This is an initiative will open up some new synergies between culture and education within the policies and the activities of the European Union and, hopefully, in the national states as well.
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