JOINT DECLARATION OF THE
International Drama/theatre and Education Association (IDEA)
International Society for Education through Art (InSEA)
International Society for Music Education (ISME) !
This is an historic moment in international arts education. After six years of preparatory
meetings, IDEA, InSEA and ISME have now united to define an integrated strategy that responds
to a critical moment in human history: social fragmentation, a dominant global culture of
competition, endemic urban and ecological violence, and the marginalization of key educational
and cultural languages of transformation.
In a visionary agenda in the aftermath of the World War II, UNESCO recognized the unique role
that arts education can play in the creation of a culture of peace, international understanding,
social cohesion and sustainable development. However, at that time, few could have anticipated
the socio-cultural needs that would be generated by the accelerated technological change during
the intervening decades; and today few can imagine the impact and challenges of technological
convergence in the immediate future.
We believe that today’s knowledge-based, post-industrial societies require citizens with confident
flexible intelligences, creative verbal and non-verbal communication skills, abilities to think
critically and imaginatively, intercultural understandings and an empathic commitment to
Research increasingly shows that these personal attributes are acquired through the process of
learning and applying artistic languages. We welcome decisions by governments throughout the
world to place educational reform and cultural development at the heart of their agendas.
However, we know that there is not always the political and professional will to integrate the arts
into an effective ‘education for all’, as vital instruments for learning human rights, responsible
citizenship and inclusive democracy.
Drawing membership from more than 90 countries, our global alliance of arts education
organisations involves leading practitioners and promotes innovative practices in arts education
internationally. Through our national affiliations and individual memberships, we draw on the
experiences of more than one million dedicated and courageous teachers, artists/performers,
researchers, scholars, community leaders, administrators and policy makers who themselves are
in touch with formal and informal educational communities throughout the world.
Our three organisations are uniquely positioned to advance professional practices and policies in
the visual arts, music and theatre/drama education. We provide
effective channels for international communication and the exchange of policy and pedagogical
national, regional and world forums which debate and disseminate innovative educational
theories and practices;
conceptual and professional structures to preserve tangible and intangible artistic cultures
(particularly in the developing world), that are threatened by globalization
models of intercultural analysis that explore aspects of traditional and new media and enable
diverse pedagogies to be demonstrated and exchanged
research into pedagogies for personal and social transformation; and
critical investigation into the educational, socio-economic and cultural impacts of the arts.
Together, we will advocate new and appropriate paradigms of education which both transmit and
transform culture through the humanizing languages of the arts that are founded on the principles
of cooperation, not competition. For more than half a century, our associations have contributed
significantly to the development of curricula and teaching approaches. We are now ready to
respond proactively to the diverse social and cultural needs of our world. In response to the
urgent crises of our times, we embrace the challenge to make our exceptional resources available
to governments and educational communities across the globe.
In the visual arts, critical and reflective pedagogies and new means of artistic production offer
students opportunities to explore their multicultural, multi-technological visual worlds. Through
the performing arts, educators are transforming classrooms into theatres of creative dialogue,
equipping young people to enact solutions to contemporary social needs and challenges. In music
education, the new technologies provide astonishing opportunities to develop intercultural
awareness and collaborative production.
Collectively the arts offer young people unique opportunities to understand and create their own
cultural and personal identities. They stimulate interdisciplinary study and participatory decisionmaking,
and motivate young people to engage in active learning and creative questioning.
2Our three organisations have formed an alliance for strategic action based on principled and
sustained dialogue. Our primary aim is to accelerate the implementation of arts education
policies internationally. We want to collaborate with all governments, networks, educational
institutions, communities and individuals who share our vision.
We challenge UNESCO to fulfill the responsibilities of its founding mandate by joining us to
make arts education central to a world agenda for sustainable human development and social
March 4, 2006