InSEA President (1999- 2002)

My first contact with InSEA was in 1981, when I took part in the InSEA World Congress in Rotterdam. This was a revelation: to take part in an international discussion on what art education could or should be about, with all leading researchers present. It made me aware of the variety in approaches in art education, but also the need to find common grounds to make this domain stay relevant in education. A few months later I joined Cito, the Dutch Institute for Educational Measurement, which generated a life-long interest in me with regard to issues related to assessment in art(s) education. Talking about assessment is talking about what you expect students to learn, and the other way around. It has been my most profitable lens for looking at issues in art education.
When InSEA President (1999- 2002), I was able to get in close contact with my colleagues from the International Society for Music Education and the International Drama Education Association. We met in Paris, at UNESCO in December 1999, in what became the starting point of a renewed interest of UNESCO in arts education and its role in education. This initiative resulted in the UNESCO first world congress on arts education in Lisbon in 2006, the Seoul agenda (Goals for the Development of Arts Education, 2010) and the foundation of the World Alliance for Arts Education (founded in Viseu in 2006). In 2000 the European Regional Council for InSEA was founded, that would make it easier to apply for grants from the European Union and to arrive at more continuity in matters of research and policy in Europe. By strengthening regional cooperation it would be more attractive for members to participate in InSEA. In that period we also decided to introduce a more equal representation of InSEA’s regions in the World Council, notwithstanding the imbalance in membership representation in the regions.
It was actually my reading of Herbert Read’s Education through Art in 1970 that first triggered my interests in combining psychology and art (history). My study with Rudolf Arnheim gave me a most inspiring and helpful scientific basis to this endeavor. Investigating what is fundamental to all children and youngsters when it comes to the art in education and the art related competencies needed to take part in society and in life, is still my main interest to continue my research and contributions to the domain. Thanks to my wort at Cito I have been able to contribute to the discussion on assessment in the arts, more specifically by introducing the notion of developmental self-assessment in visual art education.

Diederik Schönau