Kinichi Fukumoto Waa Eprest

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Kinichi Fukumoto Waa Eprest

  1. 1. Presentation from Kinichi Fukumoto Toward the Reorientation of the Arts Advocacy in Japan Kinichi Fukumoto Professor of Art Education, Hyogo University of Teacher Education/ Japan The Japanese “Agency for Cultural Affairs” have promoted creative artistic activities in accordance with the “Creative Plan of Culture and the Arts” which was enacted in 2002, The programs are provided by the agency to enhance the range and quality of creative artistic activities, initiate focused support for performing arts, and training artists and artistic groups that meet world-class standards of excellence. At the same time, the NPOs in the field of arts have flourished in the last decade to encourage local residents to participate in the regional cultural activities in support with local museums and local governments. The programs vary from the museum workshop to the arts festival according to the local needs. “ASIAS”(Artist's Studio In A School)programs are spreading over the countries CANVAS in Tokyo or Meeting with Artists with Kids in Kyoto are the exemplary NPO activities. They dispatch the contemporary artists to the schools and they collaborate to develop unique arts lesson plans with teachers. Arts education in the school curriculum, however, has been weakened by the revisions of the National Curriculum Standards. The overall reorientation of the advocacy is needed to change the status-quo of arts education in Japan. From a global perspective, there have been growing moves to place arts education at the heart of school education in the 21st century. At the UNESCO General Conference in 1999, an "appeal for the promotion of arts education and creativity at schools" was launched, which proposed to make arts education that includes poetry, visual art, music, drama, dance and cinema mandatory in school education. In 2006, the Joint Declaration on Arts Education was compiled by the International Drama/Theatre and Education Association (IDEA), the International Society for Music Education(ISME), and InSEA. In line with such moves, many countries are working to implement educational reform with the recognition that arts education is essential for fostering creativity. In Japan, in response to the enactment of the basic law to promote culture and arts in 2001, the Agency of Cultural Affairs formulated the new Arts Plan 21 and materialized programs including a program to promote children to have in cultural and artistic experiences to nurture sensitivity through such activities (called cultural and artistic creation plan.) The agency is working to provide children with opportunities not only
  2. 2. to observe visual arts but also to see authentic performing arts, dispatch local artists and traditional performing artists for them, and hold workshop to actually observe and feel cultural assets for them. The arts-related environment surrounding children has been extremely diversified and has become increasingly borderless. Combined sensuous media arts have also become commonplace. In consideration of education for children who are exposed to such visual culture, will we be able to deal with the situation only by providing traditional curriculum for the visual arts? Arts education may be reviewed, bringing comprehensive media arts including screen image and drama and physical arts into the main stream. Some point out that the idea of music education or education of art itself is a thing of the past. We need to think about the possibility of widening the concept of arts education that centers on creativity and imagination. It is important to respect artistic values and deepen understanding in arts and culture by expressing oneself and actually see and feel a wide variety of arts and culture also in the sense of the creation of children's own arts and culture. We need to reconsider the significant effects of children's imagination on the development of their cognitive abilities and redesign the learning Fig.1 environment that is more flexible and full of creativity. However, in reality, as more importance has been placed on basic learning ability in recent years, it has become difficult to guarantee the opportunity of arts education. We wonder whether it is proper to deprive children of their opportunities to see and feel arts. Although the expectation for the role of arts education or the significance of the subjects have not lessened, it is true that there has been a concern over the effective aspect of the values.
  3. 3. Here, we present pictures drawn by Japanese children in 1982 and 1999 (Fig. 1.) In comparison with the picture drawn in 1982, people in the picture drawn in 1999 are depicted with more symbols and the scenery around the house was depicted poorly and explanatorily. We have an impression that children’s ability to communicate their feelings and recognition of objects seems to have been deteriorated. Even though the Course of Study is a binding national curriculum guidelines provided by the Ministry of Education, Science, and Sport (MEXT) in Japan, art teachers have much flexibility to develop their own curriculum and lesson plans beyond the guidelines in many cases. However, the back to the basics movement is now in the main stage of schooling. Opportunities of facilitating imagination have been deprived of by focusing on 3R’s and research type of problem solving skills. Actually, the credit hours allotted for the art subject have decreased as is shown in Table 1. Due to the reduction in class hours, the number of art specialists in elementary schools and art teachers in junior high schools has been reduced, so that it is not overstating the fact to say that arts education in the school curriculum is facing a critical situation. Under these circumstances, there have been cases around Japan in which artists have been conducting unique classes in schools. This movement is closely related to the outreach activities of cultural facilities and arts organizations that became popular from the latter half of the 1990s. These activities allow students to look at the arts with a positive attitude that differs from that in regular classes, and the various new possibilities in the arts have been proven. Compared with conventional arts education in which music and art are taught, Arts in Education (AIE) is trying to expand the possibilities of the arts in education. Activities based on this concept are gradually being implemented. As Table 1 shows, the organizations that are promoting this movement in Japan are the various art NPOs throughout the country. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Elementary School 68(68) 70(70) 60(70) 60(71) 50(70) 50(70) Junior High School 45(70) 35(35-70) 35(35) Table 1 Annual time allotment for arts subjects (1 hour =45(50) min.)
  4. 4. NPO name (location, date of Outline of activities establishment) S-AIR Utilizing the experience of "Sapporo Artists in Residence" that was started in 1999 and its (Sapporo, 1999) network, S-AIR started its "Artists in School" project in 2003. This is a program in which artists use unused classrooms as their studios for long periods, and they conduct creative activities with children during recesses and after school. S-AIR is making preparations to start independent operation from 2008. Artists and Children This NPO was established to create a place where children and artists could come into (Tokyo, 1999) contact. It is conducting such activities as "ASIAS" in which artists visit schools and cooperate with teachers in holding workshop-type classes, and the art project "ACTION!" in which local residents, mainly children, participate at the cultural facility "Nishisugamo Sozosha" which uses a closed school building. (See the main contents for a more detailed description.) CANVAS This organization was established with the support of the government and Multimedia (Tokyo, 2002) Promotion Center as an "NPO that promotes the nationwide growth and international exchange of participatory creative and expression activities for children." CANVAS holds workshops in various locations that foster children's creativity and power of expression by using leading-edge digital technology, such as movies, animation, robots, the Internet, etc. ST Spot Yokohama This NPO started in 1987 as the managing body for the small theater "ST Spot." In 2004 it (Yokohama, 1987) created its Arts Education Department and started the "Project for Establishing New Education Activities Utilizing the Arts" as a joint project with Kanagawa Prefecture. . (See the main contents for a more detailed description.) Encounters between With the goal of creating a rich educational environment through the arts, this NPO sends Children and Artists artists to elementary schools, junior high schools and children's centers to hold workshops. (Kyoto, 2004) Art Support Fukuoka This organization sends artists to schools and local neighborhoods and coordinates art (Fukuoka, 2002) experiencing workshops for children. It also issues an "Artists Catalogue" that lists artists and art organizations in Fukuoka that can hold art experiencing workshops for children. The NPO activities to bring together schools and various arts are supported by corporate philanthropy and private foundations. Since 2003, Toyota Motor Corporation has cooperated with the NPOs Artists and Children and Encounters between Children and Artists, and nationwide executive committees to hold the "Toyota Encounters between Children and Artists" to foster diversified senses of values and sensitivities by having children meet artists. NPOs can conduct such detailed and thoughtful activities because they are thinking seriously together with artists and teachers about what is needed. Instead of simple outreach projects that send artists to schools to conduct workshops, they think about the various problems in schools and the needs of schools, and consider the role that the arts can play for the healthy growth of education and children. The artists that are sent to schools are not teaching the children about music, drama, dancing, art and the like. The artists are trying to foster the "strength to live" in children by bringing out the children's imagination and creativity by using the characteristics of the arts and their own abilities and in ways not possible through other classes.
  5. 5. However, these movements may also make arts education in school education even more fragile. There are worries that these activities will be considered a part of social education, and that art classes will become an extracurricular activity. The basic reason for this is that because the meaning of having children participate in the arts and creative activities and their educational effects are not sufficiently understood, the arts are not expected to play a role in building scholastic ability. Music and art are positioned as mandatory subjects within the framework of Japanese school education, and it is necessary to assert the importance of these classes to the bureaucracy and society with a long-range view and strategy. In that sense, the advocacy of arts education is needed for the establishment of acountability in Japanese society. Reference: Mitsuhiro Yoshimoto, Thinking Education from the View of Art, Report II, NLI Research Institute, July 2007, pp.10-17

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