Arts education holds enormous potential to benefit learners and the communities in which they live. Realizing this potential is a global concern requiring the collaboration of many stakeholders. The Canadian Commission for UNESCO (CCUNESCO), the Canadian Network for Arts and Learning (CNAL), and the UNESCO Chair in Arts and Learning at Queen’s University have come together to initiate change within the Canadian context and to inspire international partners to do the same. A UNESCO World Conference held in Lisbon in 2006, identified arts education as a key component of human culture and development, highlighting its capacity to enlighten, fulfill, empower and sustain individuals and communities in every part of the world. A second World Conference convened in Seoul in 2010 produced the Seoul Agenda: Goals for the development of arts education with the intention of turning these principles into action. While some progress has been made in implementing the strategies of the Seoul Agenda, much of the potential of arts education to promote peace, global citizenship, cultural diversity and sustainability remains unrealized, despite clear evidence that the world has never been in greater need of support in all these areas. The partnership of CCUNESCO, CNAL, and the UNESCO Chair offers this position paper as a first step in the process of reinvigorating the Seoul Agenda. It proposes an approach to developing strategies that can be adapted within diverse contexts. This involves:
- Identifying priority areas of the Seoul Agenda by assessing local contexts;
- Building partnerships with influential leaders and identifying potential knowledge brokers;
- Choosing appropriate and manageable strategies for:
- a. Translating knowledge to community stakeholders;
- b. Building their capacity to implement change;
- c. Reinforcing and monitoring implementation efforts, and;
- d. Monitoring change and impact.
Project partners will initiate change within their own contexts using the proposed strategies and model examples and will encourage others to make a similar commitment.