The World Alliance for Arts Education (WAAE)

By Associate Professor Margaret Baguley and Dr Georgina Barton

The 2006 World Congress on Arts Education, held in Lisbon, Portugal resulted in an important document for arts education - the UNESCO Roadmap for Arts Education (UNESCO, 2006). Reflecting UNESCO’s themes of access and equity, its main aims were to: uphold the human right to education and cultural participation; develop individual capabilities; improve the quality of education and promote the expression of cultural diversity (UNESCO, 2006, p. 2). This Roadmap aimed to provide arts educators, arts practitioners and arts policy advisors with a robust and evidence-based outline of the importance and provision of arts education, not only in schools but also in the community. To achieve these aspirations, it was recognised that an international conglomerate was needed to bring arts educators together in one voice and one that provided a strong foundation for advocacy, networking and research. The World Alliance for Arts Education (WAAE) was therefore established consisting of a collaboration between the International Drama Education Association (IDEA), International Society for Education through Art (InSEA), the International Society for Music Education (ISME), and the World Dance Association (WDA).

The 2014 Global Summit in Brisbane. . . resulted in the recently released The Palgrave Handbook of Global Arts Education. . . The Brisbane summit was also remarkable for its commissioned bespoke artwork by artist in residence Peter Muraay Djeripi Mulcahy, which features on the cover.

The first goal of the WAAE was to seek out a development agenda in response to the UNESCO Roadmap for Arts Education, resulting in the Seoul Agenda: Goals for the Development of Arts Education (UNESCO, 2010). Additionally, the WAAE decided to hold an annual global summit for key arts educators and practitioners to come together to work around the chosen elements of advocacy, research and networking. The summits provide an opportunity for arts educators and practitioners to share their work and enable important strategic planning to occur.  

WAAE Global Summits have been held in Hong Kong (2007 and 2012); Taiwan (2008); UK (2009); Finland (2012); Germany (2013); Brisbane Australia (2014); and China (2016). The 2017 World Alliance for Arts Education Global Summit will take place in Auckland, New Zealand

The 2014 Global Summit in Brisbane, in which the authors were involved as organisers, resulted in the recently released The Palgrave Handbook of Global Arts Education (Palgrave Macmillan, 2017) based on a number of presentations. The chapters are authored by arts educators and practitioners and include a range of international projects. The handbook draws from the strategic focus of this latest summit including factors that were identified as either enabling or inhibiting the provision of quality arts education and access to this across the globe.

The Brisbane summit was also remarkable for its commissioned bespoke artwork by artist in residence Peter Muraay Djeripi Mulcahy, which features on the cover of the The Palgrave Handbook of Global Arts Education.

“Brisbane Bigibilla" : by Peter Muraay Djeripi Mulcahy.  Reproduced with kind permission of the artist.

“Brisbane Bigibilla" : by Peter Muraay Djeripi Mulcahy.  Reproduced with kind permission of the artist.

In his accompanying story for the work*, Peter describes the work as ‘a detailed creation, mosaic like form’.

“First there is always Spirit, this is displayed in the white totemic animal figures situated around the work. In the south we have the totemic symbol of the Goanna, strongly connected to the Yuggera people of the Brisbane area.  As taught to me by my Jut Ju, Uncle Paddy Djeripi Warra Gerome, this creation was the Great Survivor, a hunter, a scavenger, one who can run when needed or one who will stand and fight admirably. 

To the east we have the symbol of the Sea Eagle, this majestic bird taught many of our coastal people, like those of the Quandamooka of Morton Bay how and when to sustainably hunt their precious fish stock.  North of this I have painted the figure of the dolphin.  These brothers aided our hunters also when called upon. The fish were rounded up by these brothers and driven towards the shore, where nets and spears awaited them.  As with all our people on this land, to take, means you must also give in return. For this reason our hunters would gather the fish on the beach and then give back to their dolphin brothers their portion of the catch.

Further West from here is a totemic image of a land/ river turtle.  In my Gamilaroi culture this creature stands for the warrior and protection. A little closer to the mountain range in the North West, and below the fern trees a totemic carpet snake is shown coiled within this sacred area.

Further south, just across the river, we come to an area known currently as the Southbank and Musgrove Park.  At this significant place, another carpet python has been positioned to acknowledge its sacred connection to the Juggera people of the area. 

Finally to the far South East, three small totems acknowledge the bordering of the three nations around the Ipswich area of the Yuggerra the Goanna, Juggera the Python and the Yuggembul the Frog.”

By commissioning an artwork as part of the conference, the Brisbane WAAE Global Summit connects art and education, and acknowledges Australia’s traditional owners in a way that will resound far longer than the spoken acknowledgement that is usually given at Australian based gatherings

The Summit played a major role in supporting the work of WAAE’s strategic planning through:  a project focusing on WAAE’s financial sustainability, governance and management ; finding ways in which arts education can link with the UNESCO Education for Sustainable Development priorities including the UNESCO ESD Summit in Nagoya, November 10-12th 2014; investigating international collaborations through the completion of a database of existing arts educators, arts practitioners and arts education organisations; the establishment of an online WAAE International research base, including a journal, for arts educators, researchers and practitioners;  and a project that explored new pedagogy (learning, teaching, curriculum) in institutionalised and community settings particularly informed by developing countries within Africa, Asia, the Pacific and South America.

By commissioning an artwork as part of the conference, the Brisbane WAAE Global Summit connects art and education, and acknowledges Australia’s traditional owners in a way that will resound far longer than the spoken acknowledgement that is usually given at Australian based gatherings and connects this event with its historical underpinnings.

As Peter says “This painting is a memory, a seed in the hearts and minds of those that can hear my words, a hope and belief that good people will not forget all this, as an insignificant footnote in Australian history. We are all linked, like the Dreaming, we stand on the same land, face those same ancient hills and look skywards to those same stars. Those same mountains and stars that will together record your rise, your story and your decline.”

* Peter’s story behind the artwork is included in full in the Handbook


References

Barton, G., & Baguley, M. (2017). The Palgrave Handbook of Global Arts Education. Basingstoke, UK: Palgrave Macmillan.

UNESCO. (2006). Road map for arts education. The world conference on arts education: Building creative capacities for the 21st century, Lisbon, 6–9 March 2006. Retrieved from http://www.unesco.org/new/fileadmin/MULTIMEDIA/HQ/CLT/CLT/pdf/Arts_Edu_RoadMap_en.pdf

UNESCO. (2010). Seoul Agenda: Goals for the Development of Arts Education.  The second world conference on arts education, Seoul, Korea, 25-28 May 2010. Retrieved from http://www.unesco.org/new/fileadmin/MULTIMEDIA/HQ/CLT/CLT/pdf/Seoul_Agenda_EN.pdf


Dr Margaret Baguley is an Associate Professor (Arts Education, Curriculum and Pedagogy) in the School of Linguistics, Adult and Specialist Education at the University of Southern Queensland, Springfield, Australia. Her research interests include visual arts education, creative collaboration, teacher identity and strengthening links between schools and universities. She is also currently a World Councillor for the International Society for Education through Art (InSEA) representing the South East Asia Pacific region (2014–2017). She has recently co-edited The Palgrave Handbook of Global Arts Education with Dr Georgina Barton which was published by Palgrave Macmillan in March 2017.

Dr Georgina Barton is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Education and Professional Studies at Griffith University, Brisbane, Australia. She is also the Program Director of the Bachelor of Secondary Education and lectures in English and literacy education. Previous to this role Georgina taught in schools for over 20 years including teaching English in South India. She has experience as an Acting Principal, Lead Teacher in literacy and numeracy and has been responsible for whole school literacy planning. She also has extensive experience in teaching the Arts from Prep-Year 12 and in tertiary contexts. Her research interests include: English and literacy education, multimodalities, arts and music education and teacher education with a focus on international students. She has published widely in these areas including an edited book titled: Literacy in the arts: Retheorising learning and teaching published with Springer.