National Advocates for Arts Education 2017 arts education advocacy

The NAAE has had another busy year advocating on behalf of all five arts subjects in the Australian Curriculum: The Arts. In 2017 we – 

  • Prepared a submission into the Inquiry into innovation and creativity: workforce for the new economy (co-authored by John Saunders and Sandra Gattenhof with input from all other artform members of NAAE).
  • Met with Inquiry member Ann Sudmalis MP, thanking her for her role in drafting and supporting recommendation 10 of the review (released on 20 June): 

The Committee recommends that the National Innovation and Science Agenda explicitly recognise the importance of STEAM, creative digital skills, the creative industries and the arts more generally.

  • Supported The Australian Major Performing Arts Group’s submission about the impact of removing creative arts occupations from the list of eligible skilled occupations.
  • Met with officers from the federal Department of Communications and the Arts and the Department of Education & Training in Canberra. Followed up on our previous submissions regarding the loss of VET FEE-HELP for legitimate and highly regarded arts courses, and had further discussions about advancing the STEAM agenda.
  • Met with Shadow Arts Minister Tony Burke’s Chief of Staff and Sarah Hanson-Young’s advisor, both of whom were receptive to our discussions about VET FEE-HELP and STEAM. Provided written record of our discussions to both parliamentarians’ offices.
  • Invited to contribute to the new version of the ALP’s Creative Australia policy prior to the next Federal election. 
  • Supported NAVA’s recommendations for the School to Work inquiry, particularly the discussion of future employment predictions, the undue focus on STEM subjects and the role of creativity in promoting innovative thinking and entrepreneurship.
  • Included ATOM Co-chair and NAAE rep, Derek Weeks, on the 2017 National Dance Forum panel ‘arts education in the digital age’.
  • Participated in Drama Australia’s national conference ‘Creative Capital’ (Julie Dyson in conversation with Dr Anita Collins).
  • Wrote to Rob Stokes, NSW Minister for Education, requesting that he direct the NSW Education Standards Authority (NESA) to implement the Australian Curriculum: The Arts in K–6 and acknowledge that each Arts subject in the Creative Arts be treated equally. 
  • Asked that Media Arts be included as the fifth Arts subject in the Creative Arts, as detailed in the Australian Curriculum: The Arts. (Received unsatisfactory response on 28 September and followed up by meeting with NESA staff in October. Still awaiting a response to our further submission.)
  • Addressed the issue of the ‘crowded curriculum’ (2014), as raised again by NESA staff. Provided the NSW Minister with NAAE’s response to this issue.
  • Endorsed the Early Childhood Education (WA Branch) call for a WA Play Strategy in Early Childhood Education and Care.
  • Made a submission to the Gonski Review to Achieve Educational Excellence in Australian Schools, by lead writers Sandra Gattenhof and John Saunders (Drama Australia). 
  • Reviewed (ongoing) NAAE’s teacher education strategies (e.g. supporting initiatives for primary specialisations in the Arts).
  • Archived and catalogued NAAE records (back to 1980s) at the National Library of Australia.
  • Maintained regular NAAE Facebook postings. 
  • Welcomed new Art form representatives to the NAAE board: Margaret Baguley (Art Education Australia), Esther Anatolitis (National Association for the Visual Arts), Antony Hubmayer (Australian Society for Music Education), Music Australia (new rep tbc)
NAAE meetingNAAE members John Saunders (Drama Australia), Tamara Winikoff (Visual Arts), Julie Dyson (Chair), Sue Fox (Ausdance), Roger Dunscombe (ATOM), Antony Hubmayer (ASME), Esther Anatolitis (NAVA), Richard Letts (Music Trust) and Margaret Baguley (AEA), meeting in Sydney on 11 December with Jackie Manuel and Robyn Ewing. Absent were Jeff Meiners (Ausdance), Sandra Gattenhof (Drama Australia) and Derek Weeks (ATOM).

NAAE met for the last time this year on 11 December to review our 2017 recommendations and action plans, and to plot new strategies for 2018. Included on the agenda were a review of all 2017 NAAE submissions and recommendations for further action; review of political parties’ arts policies and preparation for 2018 meetings with key politicians and advisors in Canberra; discussion of primary teacher education specialisations in the Arts; further progress with the re-issue of More Than Words Can Say; and discussion with arts education researchers Robyn Ewing and Jackie Manuel.

I wish to thank NAAE members for their ongoing passion for arts education, their expertise, generosity of spirit and their belief in providing a voice for arts education through the political process, at the same time working to maintain the integrity of their own separate arts subjects—quite a feat!

Thanks also to thank Tamara Winikoff and Richard Letts, whose years of experience we are reluctant to let go! Both are staying on the NAAE as observers, and we look forward to continuing to benefit from their unique wisdom and experience.

—Julie Dyson, NAAE chair