Colloquy #4 Education and the Arts: Policy, Research and Responsibilities

NCFA pre and post Budget Press Releases 2013
17th October 2013
NCFA January 2014 Newsletter
23rd January 2014


Education and the Arts: Policy, Research and Responsibilities

Wednesday 12th February 2014 at 1.30-5.45pm, Radisson Hotel, Galway.


This colloquy addressed the fundamental question of education, arts policy and research in the development of arts participants, audiences and practitioners in the future. The event featured three speakers: Ms. Hannele Lehto (Finland), Dr. Julian Sefton-Green (UK) and a local respondent.

The aim of the NCFA Colloquia series is to amplify and illuminate key research issues for the arts and arts policy in Ireland. Specifically, to develop a research agenda for the arts/arts policy  and to increase understanding and debate about the arts in Ireland and to do this by bringing together key stakeholders in the delivery, reception and policy context of the arts – the public (civil society/public sphere etc.), arts practitioners and the government (including policy makers etc.).

This was the final of four core events in the NCFA Colloquia series curated by Tara Byrne, independent arts manager and cultural policy adviser.


Colloquy #4 Speakers;

Dr Hannele Lehto is Director of Arts Policy at Finland’s Ministry of Education and Culture and was educated at the University of Helsinki and the University of Tampere, Finland. She is a researcher, librarian, information scientist and semiotician, whose diverse areas of study have ranged across the history of fine arts, cultural heritage, folklore and comparative religions. In addition to her role at the Ministry of Education and Culture in Finland, she is also Adjunct Professor at the University of Helsinki and has more than 30 years experience at a senior level in different posts in library and cultural policy. Her widely-praised 2006 publication Fair Culture? explores the ethical dimension of cultural policy.

Dr Julian Sefton-Green is a UK-based independent consultant and researcher working in Education and the Cultural and Creative Industries. He is currently Principal Research Fellow at the Department of Media & Communications at the LSE (London School of Economics) and a research associate at the University of Oslo, exploring learning and learner identity across formal and informal domains.  He is Honorary Professor of Education at the University of Nottingham and at the Hong Kong Institute of Education and has worked at the University of Australian developing a city-wide initiative to imagine and implement new kinds of spaces for learning. He has researched and written widely on many aspects of media education, new technologies and informal learning.

Dr. Marian Fitzgibbon is the Head of School of Humanities in Athlone Institute of Technology and a board member of the National Library of Ireland. She worked for many years and in different capacities for the Arts Council and was responsible inter alia for the development of regional arts and the first Irish Arts Plan.


Education and the Arts: Policy, Research and Responsibilities

The far-reaching question of the role of education and research in the development of future arts participants, practitioners and audiences, was the subject of the National Campaign for the Arts’ public conversation held on Wednesday 12 February 2014, 1.30 – 5.45pm in the Radisson Hotel, Galway.

Presented as the final part of the NCFA series of public COLLOQUIA, key international thinkers on cultural policy, Dr Hannele Lehto, Director of Arts Policy at Finland’s Ministry of Education and Culture, and Dr Julian Sefton-Green, a independent scholar working in Education and the Cultural and Creative Industries. Presentations also included a response by a member of the Irish arts community.

This colloquy considered both the wider and non-formal contexts in which arts education and learning takes place in societies and contributes to the formation of arts participants, as well as the more formal first, second and third level education contexts. The curator of the series, independent cultural manager and researcher Dr. Tara Byrne, sees the Galway meeting as addressing how and why it is that people come to encounter and experience the arts, and some don’t, the value of thinking both within and beyond the formal education system, and the potential for aligning the similar but discrete interests of arts and education policies.

The event was the fourth and final colloquy in the NCFA’s 2013-14 series of structured conversations specially devised to challenge how we think and speak about the arts in general and the publicly-funded arts sector in Ireland in particular. A key objective has been to promote a more research-based approach to the development and funding of the arts. Topics already addressed include public engagement with the arts, the understanding of “evidence” in an arts context, and the concept of cultural value in developing appropriate criteria for evaluating the contribution of the arts to the wider society.

The National Campaign for the Arts is a volunteer-led, grass-roots movement that makes the case for the arts in Ireland. It seeks to ensure that the arts are on local and national government agendas and are recognised as a vital part of contemporary Irish life. The NCFA was established in September 2009 in response to a government public expenditure review of public service numbers and expenditure programmes, known colloquially as the McCarthy Report.
The NCFA COLLOQUIA series is supported by Independent Senator Fiach Mac Conghail.

Help the NCFA continue to advocate for the arts in Ireland.