UNESCO celebrates the power of art and education across the globe

time:2020-06-03 17:16:00

International Arts Education Week

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.

Art, in all its diversity, is an essential component of a comprehensive education for the full development of the individual. Today, the skills, values and behaviours promoted by arts education are more paramount than ever. These competencies - creativity, collaboration, and imaginative problem solving - develop resiliency, nurture appreciation of cultural diversity and freedom of expressions, and cultivate innovation and critical thinking skills. As a vector of dialogue in the loftiest sense, art speeds up social inclusion and tolerance in our multicultural, connected societies.

Art brings us closer together. A painting, an artefact, a piece of ancestral music speaks volumes about the history of civilizations and the ties that bind them. It makes us to feel and to understand what unites humanity in the diversity of its cultures and expressions and thus contributing to our bright and sustainable future. 

This awareness of art can be acquired from an early age and maintained throughout life. It is with the conviction that creativity and the arts, and learning about them, contribute to the building of prosperous and peaceful societies that UNESCO encourages its Member States to support arts education, at school and beyond. Arts education is a key to training generations capable of reinventing the world that they have inherited. It supports the vitality of cultural identities by emphasizing their links with other cultures, thus contributing to the construction of a shared heritage. It helps to form tolerant and dynamic citizens for our globalizing world. 

UNESCO celebrates the power of art and education across the globe

As the world begins to emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic, UNESCO is spotlighting the incredible power and resilience of human creativity during the 2020 International Arts Education Week.

The annual event, which falls every fourth week of May, takes on new meaning this year, as 90 percent of the world's student population, or 1.6 billion learners[1], are affected by school closures; heritage sites and cultural institutions such as museums, theatres and cinemas are closed, and artists are struggling to sustain their livelihoods.

More than ever, arts education is being recognized as a key part of a comprehensive education. Arts education advances learning outcomes and helps learners build new skills. In times of crisis, arts education is particularly valuable, inspiring creativity, even in confinement, providing psychological support, and building connections between people and communities.

Arts education also has deep, long-term benefits for learners. It helps to meet the diverse learning needs of children, paves the way for life-long learning and fosters cultural diversity, which include advanced learning outcomes and the acquisition of new skills, benefiting learners of all ages. Music, drama, dance, the visual arts and education in other artistic disciplines builds resilience, self-confidence and well-being. It stimulates curiosity, inspiration, creativity and respect for diversity. It can also support child development through quality education at a distance, using digital platforms.

UNESCO will capture, through its dedicated webpage, a wide range of good practices, methodologies and pedagogical tools and activities taking place across the globe on arts education, to assist all the stakeholders in their reflection and action on this important topic. Taking part as well are UNESCO's Associated Schools Network, which connects more than 11,500 institutions in 182 countries, and the World Alliance for Arts Education, with 3 million members around the world.

UNESCO supports two forms of arts education: learning the arts (teaching and learning of the visual and performing arts) and learning through the arts (integrating arts into education to improve and enhance learning). Arts education also enhances, in a cross-cutting manner, the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), particularly SDG4 on quality education, SDG 5 on gender equality, SDG8 on enhancing opportunities for decent work and employment through culture and creativity, and conflict mitigation and peace-building, in the spirit of SDG 16.

[1]How COVID-19 is changing the world: a statistical perspective


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