Educational innovation project: how can we connect arts and education?

Last April, an application was submitted for the educational innovation ‘Integrating arts-science-society connections in a curriculum-broad educational track’. Part of this innovation project consists of workshops called ‘What’s art got to do with it?’, an important medium through which we attempt to explore the connections between art, science and society. Initiators Anke Tonnaer, Tine Davids, Catrien Notermans and Anick Vollebergh combined their energy, interest and curiosity for the role of arts-based methods in education and research, as they found that artistic methods were increasingly being experimented with in areas such as writing and data collection. The innovation ties in with the field of Cultural Anthropology and Development Studies (CAOS). The art of storytelling and highlighting different perspectives on the world is something typical of the discipline. Anke: "The intention is to have a mixed audience. The workshops are meant for ALL audiences, meaning teachers, students but also other interested people from outside, certainly also outside of CAOS." The first workshop took place on 1 December 2022. In this workshop, John Johnston, Associate Professor of socially engaged art education and head of Master Artists Educators (IMAE) at ArtEZ art academy in Arnhem, kicked the project off nicely by showing how art and education can be connected.

The workshops also include a student panel in which students, spread across the study years of CAOS, evaluate the workshop together. "We discuss what we think of the workshop, what we can do with it and what we would like to hear more about in the future," said Willem Bennenbroek, a member of the student panel. "I am a musician and I am very serious about it. I think it is incredibly interesting that I can now bring these two worlds together." Ultimately, the intention is to work together with the student panel to see what lessons from the workshops can be used in the programme. "It can also mean a lot for the faculty," said Tine. "We can use this as a basis for developing more different workshops, which in turn can be offered to other departments within our faculty."

Tine and Anke are enthusiastic. Tine: "It's really great to be involved in this project, especially because we are not artists ourselves. It's a big challenge. How do you work together with someone who is? That exchange is very innovative." Anke: "Art as something groundbreaking is something we can learn a lot from, without having to become artists ourselves. We think there is a future in it, because the future calls for boundaries to be pushed."

The initiators are enthusiastic and are looking forward to the next workshop on Wednesday morning, 8 February. In that workshop, Noortje van Amsterdam (UU) will talk more about how art can be used as an educational method.

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