International Conference and Meeting 2019 – Creative Convergence

October 24 – 26, 2019, Winnipeg (Canada)


This symposium, UNITWIN Winnipeg 2019, will convene international scholars to mobilize research addressing the future of arts education in a variety of diverse cultural contexts and to advance the development of cross-disciplinary research networks and initiatives. The symposium (20 international presenters) will be held in parallel with a major national conference hosted by the Canadian Network for Arts and Learning in order to promote interaction and knowledge exchange between the international scholars and 150 Canadian educators, academics, policy makers and arts professionals.

UNESCO Connection

The 20 symposium presenters are members and associates of the Arts Education Research for Cultural Diversity and Sustainable Development UNITWIN.  (A UNITWIN is a network of universities sponsored by UNESCO’s University Twinning and Networking Programme). This recently established UNITWIN connects universities in Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, Germany, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Korea, Israel, New Zealand, Norway, Taiwan, Thailand, and Singapore. A key objective of the symposium is to consolidate and build further connections and partnerships amongst the members and associates of the UNITWIN and with the Canadian arts education community. 

The Future of Arts Education

Mounting evidence indicates the value of the arts in education. In 2011 the General Conference of UNESCO unanimously endorsed the Seoul Agenda (UNESCO, 2010), a global action plan that calls upon UNESCO member states to realize the full potential of high quality arts education.  And yet, policy decisions across jurisdictions continue to diminish arts education opportunities. Research has identified a strong correlation between standardized accountability testing in “core subjects” and decreasesin time and resources for the arts. Studies also suggest that traditionally underserved populations encounter the most severe barriers to accessing arts education. Despite the promise of learning in and through the arts, much of the potential remains unrealized. Arts education deserves a better future.

With this symposium, academics from across the globe will gather to mobilize research that addresses the question, What is a sustainable vision for the future of arts education?and two pertinent sub-questions: What value can the arts add to the education of citizens of the 21stcentury? and What are the challenges and ways forward to realize the potential of arts education in diverse contexts? Of note, the symposium focus is noton arts education advocacy, but on moving the field forward.

Symposium Objectives

A key objective of the symposium is to produce, in collaboration with representatives of the Canadian arts education community, a position paper (The Winnipeg Declaration) synthesizing presented research and discussions into (a) recommendations for international arts education policy and practice, and (b) proposed questions for further research. Actionable strategies will be developed for mobilizing the position paper broadly through the institutions, networks, and associated dissemination platforms of the symposium presenters and conference delegates. Additionally, the symposium will advance the development of research collaborations and networks amongst the international symposium presenters and with the Canadian arts education community, thereby ensuring continued work towards a sustainable vision for the future of arts education in Canada and internationally.