The Arts in Education Portal was one of the objectives of the Arts in Education Charter – signed December 2012 by the Minister for Education and Skills and the Minister for Arts, Heritage and the Gaeltacht. A major objective in the Arts in Education Charter, was the establishment of a National Arts in Education Online Portal for arts education in Ireland (4.12). The Charter Implementation Group, established by both Ministers in 2013, has given detailed attention to the planning and design of such a portal. With the appreciated assistance of experts from a variety of partnership organisations much progress has been made and Ireland’s Arts in Education Portal was launched on 19 May, in Dublin Castle.
The ethos for the portal is about building a community of practice within arts and education, and providing a space where both artists and teachers can be supported and inspired. It will provide a platform through which good collaboration practice in arts-in-education and arts education will be supported, developed and enhanced. Submissions for the portal will be invited on an ongoing basis and templates and guidelines have been drawn up to assist those who wish to make a submission. The Portal’s development is rooted in the desire to empower people, and build confidence, passion and support. Underpinning the development of the portal is a strong and implicit shared belief in the intrinsic value of the arts in the lives of children. The Portal – through the content that it shares – will have a role in advocating this value. The portal seeks to reflect current practice that is taking place in Ireland. Its vision is to establish a structure through which the arts and education community can be developed. From here, the content will develop through continued support and building of the community both online and offline. New features for the Portal will be phased in over the coming months.
The aim is to make the portal the key national digital resource of arts and education practice in Ireland. A communications strategy is planned which will outline ways for the Portal Editor to maintain ongoing dialogue and communication with the arts/education community. Quality of content will be a key guiding criterion. When in operation, the Portal will provide an unprecedented opportunity for young people throughout the country to engage productively with arts-in-education in Ireland.
The following definitions from the Arts and Education Charter help to give an understanding of the nature of Arts-in-Education practice:
“While much arts-in-education interaction occurs within school time, not all of it takes place on the school premises. There are two strands to arts-in-education practice: one involving interventions by the arts world into the domain of formal education, and the other involving students engaging with the arts in the public domain, usually in publicly-funded arts venues, whether local or national.
“Arts-in-education practice involves skilled, professional artists of all disciplines working for and with schools in the making, receiving and interpreting of a wide range of arts experiences. Arts-in-education practice can happen within or outside the school. It ranges from once-off visits, through more extended programmes, to intensive, collaborative projects.
“Artists, arts organisations, pupils, teachers, and sometimes, primary carers, work together to create arts experiences that enrich the curriculum and support the core educational mission of the school. Arts-in-education practice enriches the lives of all involved, particularly in nurturing the developing the minds and imaginations of the pupils.”
The governance of the Arts-in-Education Portal is overseen by an Editorial Committee, comprising representatives of the stakeholder groups that the Portal serves. The current committee members are:
Dr. Katie Sweeney (Chair)
National Director for the Integration of the Arts in Education (DES)
Senior Curator: Engagement and Learning, IMMA
(Representing Encountering the Arts, Ireland)
Community & Education Manager, The Abbey Theatre
(Representing the Council of National Cultural Institutions)
Director, Graffiti Theatre Company
(representing the Arts Council)
Arts Officer, National Association of Principals & Deputy Principals
Arts Officer, Kildare County Council
(Representing the Association of Local Authority Arts Officers)
National Coordinator, PDST Technology in Education/Scoilnet
Higher Executive Officer in the Creative Ireland Programme
(Representing the Department of Culture, Heritage & the Gaeltacht)
Creative Director, Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership Ltd
Project Manger, Kids’ Own Publishing Partnership Ltd
Its about building a community of practice within arts and education, and providing a space where both artists and teachers can be supported and inspired.