Artistic Learning Dialogues with Youth

This paper presents a study of 15 students in grades 8-12 focusing on different arts disciplines (visual arts, dance, language arts, music, photography), researchers, and teachers from a Fine Arts School in British Columbia. The researchers and students met for eight sessions over the course of several months to explore knowledge and develop shared understandings about why the arts matter. Activities focused on dialogue, reflection, student‐led participatory action research, and multimodal representations of the “messages” that the students thought were important for increasing awareness and understanding about the value of arts engagement, particularly within their own school culture (Damon, Menon, & Bronk, 2003). Their key messages emerged through the students’ growing recognition of the expansive artistic and positive growth they experienced when engaged in integrated or multidisciplinary arts activities. In this study, we were particularly interested in the opportunities, constraints and key processes that emerged in developing and implementing this project. This research will inform future iterations of this work and help us develop directions for future projects to encourage integrated music and arts, and whole school involvement in inquiry, reflection and advocacy to strengthen connections between arts subjects and between the school and community.


Sparks, J., & O’Neill, S. A. (2013, June). Diverse perspectives on arts disciplines revealed through dialogue in a fine arts school. Poster presented at the Annual Conference of the Canadian Society for the Study of Education (CSSE), University of Victoria, Victoria, British Columbia, Canada.