UNESCO-NIE Centre for Arts Research in Education (CARE)

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Australian Art Education
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Robert Brown and Melanie Chilianis
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ArtPlay is the first permanent home for children's art and play in Australia. It was established in 2003 by the City of Melbourne as a part of the artistic, creative and cultural development of Melbourne city. Open to children aged 2-12 years the facility provides artist-led programs involving diverse art forms and serves a broad community including parents and teachers. Leading educational and social researchers have identified the present as a significant time in which to articulate the importance of the arts to active and creative engagement in the social and cultural life of the community. Community- based institutions such as ArtPlay are emerging in response to this need though there has yet to be a significant and sustained research into the processes and outcomes of such organisations. This paper reports on a four-year Australian Research Council funded project (2007- 2010) specifically designed to identify, map and evidence the practices of ArtPlay in relation to engagement, learning and cultural citizenship. It reports on one key area of the study, engagement, and reviews how this concept is interpreted in practice with reference to a visual arts school program undertaken at ArtPlay involving children aged 10-12 years.

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