The UNITWIN Inaugural meeting was organized in Singapore, at the National Institute of Education on 26th-28th April 2017. April 26th was an international forum open to public that comprised a series of presentations by arts education researchers/practitioners/organizations from Australia, Canada, Colombia, Germany, Hong Kong, Israel, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Korea, New Zealand, Singapore, and Thailand (who are also member states of the UNITWIN), speaking to issues surrounding cultural diversity and arts education within formal, informal and/or non-formal educational settings. Dialogue sessions were moderated by faculty members of the Visual & Performing Arts Academic Group, National Institute of Education (NIE).
Some important themes with regards to Arts Education and Cultural Diversity have emerged from the presentations and intense discussions from the forum. Key ideas include:
- Defining “Cultural Diversity” –
a. Language and discourse; complexities; language competencies
b. Specific concerns within “multiculturalism”: – language, gender, religion, culture, age, refugees, migrants
c. Culture as process; culture as verb
d. “Open culture” (Kuo Pao Kun)
- Issues surrounding Indigeneity
- Colonialism; Post-colonialism; Decoloniality
- Youths – youth-led activities; contemporary ethnic identities; empowerment of youths through the arts
- Problematizing of “othering”
- Similarities and differences: Are they challenges or opportunities?
- Issues of Identities: multiplicities, cultural and national contexts, national considerations, pluralistic and collective negotiations
- Cultural diversity continuum: MulticulturalàInterculturalàTransculturalàUnity
- Power negotiations – Symmetrical/Asymmetrical
- Arts-led research/Practice-led research: Embodiment/enactment
- Children’s voices– constructing/co-constructing (dialogical) habits; dislocating habits/habitus dislocation
- Empowering teachers
- Empowering artists; Socially conscious artists
- Managing sustainability/funding in Arts and community projects
The inaugural of the UNITWIN – Arts Education Research for Cultural Diversity and Sustainable Development was a private network meeting from 27th-28th April 2017 at the Singapore International Foundation. The 2 day meeting was a success in finalizing the UNITWIN research agenda and projects.
The UNITWIN agenda is as such:
- The UNITWIN will be identified as an Arts Education Research Think Tank
- Establish collaborative research projects, gather, and leverage on research from UNITWIN 13 member states related to UNESCO’s goal of Sustainable Development
- Sustainable Development includes: Cultural Diversity & Identity, Heritage and tradition transformation/Temporality, Cultural Changes affected by digitalization towards Aesthetic Practices, Peace/Community Building, Intergenerational Learning leading to Social Transformation, Informal and Formal Connections through the Arts, Leadership (Professional Development), Collaborative/Multi-Sectorial Interdisciplinary Research, Creativity, Quality in Arts Education, Education for All, Evaluation Methodology, Environment.
- Share exemplary practice/research methodologies via critical discussion/dialogue
- Conduct meta-analysis of research for academic publications such as Book series, Edited books, Monographs and position papers for policy change delivered to local governmental agencies.
- Gather feedback from local governmental agencies and international arts education and arts organizations.
- Annual reports to UNESCO