WAAE - World Alliance for Arts Education

InSEA is one of the four arts education organisations that comprise WAAE - the World Alliance for Arts Education. The four are:

WAAE was formed in 2006, when UNESCO was holding the first world congress on arts education in Lisbon, Portugal. In preparation for that event, the presidents of InSEA, ISME and IDEA came together to write a response to the UNESCO Road Map. Seeking greater recognition for arts education through UNESCO, WAAE was formed and, a year or two later, WDA joined enabling WAAE to cover art, music, drama and dance education. This means that a member of InSEA is automatically also a member of WAAE. WAAE is committed to working with UNESCO foci whenever possible. More information can be found on the WAAE website.

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 cultural diversity. 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 resources; 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 decision making, and motivate young people to engage in active learning and creative questioning. Our 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 transformation.

Viseu, Portugal, March 4, 2006

Gary McPierson-ISME; Dan Baron-Cohen-IDEA; Doug Boughton-InSEA


Creation of the Word Arts Alliance: Signature of the Joint Declaration / InSEA; ISME; IDEA, Portugal, Viseu, March 2006 during the 2006 world InSEA congress, (Left to Right Diederik Shonau -InSEA; Gary McPierson-ISME; Dan Baron-Cohen-IDEA and Doug Boughton-InSEA)


Auckland, New Zealand. 22-25 November 2017

Engaging with Communities: Creative Pedagogies

UPDATE: the deadline for abstracts (Pecha Kucha’s and workshops) - Tuesday 23 May 2017.


Zhejiang Conservatory of Music - HangZhou, China -Dec 2-5, 2016

The WAAE or World Alliance for Arts Education held its 6th World Summit on Arts Education in HangZhou China. With over 400 delegates it was easily the largest world summit to date and was attended by national and international delegates. Each session had equal number of Chinese and English speaking presenters with simultaneous translation for the keynotes and contiguous translation during all other sessions. The spectacular opening and closing ceremonies showcased a wealth of talent across all ages and all arts disciplines, from several regions of the country. It was very impressive to say the least – made even more impressive with the outstanding architecture of the three year old campus for the Zhejiang Conservatory of Music. Stunning buildings on an equally stunning site.

WAAE is comprised of four arts education organizations: InSEA, ISME (music), IDEA (drama/theatre) and WDA (dance). Our history goes back to 2006, ten years ago, when UNESCO was holding the first world congress on arts education in Lisbon, Portugal. In preparation for that event, the presidents of InSEA, ISME and IDEA came together to write a response to the UNESCO Road Map. Seeking greater recognition for arts education through UNESCO, WAAE was formed and a year or two later, WDA joined to cover art, music, drama and dance education. A narrative history can be found on the WAAE website at: waae.edcp.educ.ubc.ca Members of these four organizations are automatic members of WAAE. As a result WAAE does not have a membership per se yet is directly linked to InSEA and our sister organizations. WAAE is committed to working with UNESCO foci whenever possible.

Joining a WAAE World Summit for Arts Education offers an opportunity to meet arts educators from across the disciplines interested in UNESCO related themes. The World Summit theme was on “Arts Education for Sustainable Development.” The presentation that stood out the most to me on this theme was InSEA member Ernst Wagner’s keynote where he detailed several case studies from around the world that highlighted one or more of the following dimensions:

  1. ecological/environmental dimension [consumption, production, settlements],
  2. cultural dimension [diversity, heritage, lifestyle], and
  3. social dimension [inclusion, equality, peace]. I found these distinctions instructive as I listened to discussions and sessions during the rest of the congress.

While I was not able to attend all of the InSEA member sessions, several stood out to me. Sue Girak’s (Australia) recycling project demonstrates how recycling materials can be usable and reusable materials for art educators. Local authorities collect materials specifically for use by artists for this project – it is a truly remarkable project that more communities should implement. We should all realize our impact on the environment. Marta Contrelas Valle (El Salvador) shared a incredible workshop on sustaining cultural practices from her country. Participants danced, made art, and sang as they embodied a method of sustaining ourselves as cultural workers.

Geraldine Burke and Clare Hall (Australia) shared an intergenerational project that demonstrates sustainable creativity for lifelong learning while recognizing our need for health and wellbeing.

Ian Brown (Australia) spoke about assessment that reimagined Bloom’s taxonomy to suit visual literacy – a fascinating study that I hope is shared broadly.

Jun Hu (Canada and China) shared a dynamic model with multiple end points that demonstrates how a/r/tography and related arts based research can be understood through a multidisciplinary lenses.

Sunah Kim (Korea) detailed how Korean society is becoming more multicultural and how arts education is helping to support cultural diversity in this quickly changing society.

Marjan Prevodnik (Slovenia) gave a wonderful drawing workshop that lead everyone through some very good drawing exercises that can stretch us to see differently and perhaps with a more active eye for perception.

I too gave a talk on arts based research practices being used to document and guide mentoring or professional development practices for all educators, but especially arts educators. My example highlighted the use of comic illustration and how it could help to focus our knowledge mobilization efforts.

There were likely other InSEA member’s giving sessions and I wish I could write about their sessions here. I apologize if I have not mentioned you here. Suffice it to say, InSEA was showcased very well at the conference with thought provoking sessions.

Last but not least were all of the Chinese speakers. I learned a tremendous amount about Chinese education, Chinese aesthetics, Chinese curriculum change and Chinese culture through our immersion into this Chinese world congress. It was a fabulous experience and wish more of my InSEA colleagues could have joined us there.

Continue to watch the WAAE website for future announcements. Next November 2017, we will host a World Summit on Arts Education in Auckland, New Zealand. Please plan ahead and join us there!

Rita L. Irwin

WAAE Executive Member (representing InSEA)

  • A History of WAAE Work (pdf)
  • Joint Declaration of the International Drama/Theatre and Education Association (IDEA), International Society for Education through Art (InSEA), and the International Society for Music Education (ISME) dated March 6, 2006 (pdf)
  • World Alliance for Arts Education World Summit"Transform: From Inception to Innovation in Arts Education"Brisbane, AustraliaNovember 26-28, 2014. Program Outline > Download here
  • 4th WAAE World Summit in Rovaniemi, Finland (Nov 7-10, 2012). More info about the summit can be found at www.ulapland.fi/waae2012


WAAE Summit, Newcastle, UK, October 31 – November 2, 2009


(Hosted by WAAE in partnership with Creativity, Culture and Education and Newcastle-Gateshead)


World Creativity Summit in Taipei, Taiwan, June 5th – 8th 2008


(Hosted by InSEA and the National Taiwan Normal University)


The World Creativity Summit, Hong Kong, July 23-25, 2007


One of the significant recent InSEA initiatives is collaboration with two other world arts education organizations to form the World Alliance for Arts Education (WAAE). InSEA President Doug Boughton (2004-2006) and members of the InSEA World Council established a working party to explore ways to respond to recent UNESCO arts policy. Leaders of the International Drama/Theatre and Education Association (IDEA) and the International Society for Music Education (ISME) were invited to contribute to this discussion and one of the most important outcomes of the meeting was the creation of the World Alliance. The first result of the international multi-disciplinary alliance is the Joint Declaration on Arts Education for the UNESCO World Congress of Arts in Education held in Lisbon, Portugal, in March 2006. This document establishes a fundamental position that arts education groups around the world can cite for direction and support.

InSEA President Ann Kuo (2006-2008) has actively worked within the World Alliance organization to plan the first World Creativity Summit (WCS) in Hong Kong, July 23-25, 2007. This international meeting brings together more than 100 innovative educators, scholars, and leaders from around the world to develop initiatives that will serve to nurture the creative and transformative potential of every human being in the world. These are the words of the World Creativity Summit Director and IDEA President, Dan Baron Cohen.


World Creativity Summit


See website for more information.


Asia-Pacific Alliance for Arts Education (APAAE)


The WAAE Asia-Pacific Alliance for Arts Education (AP AAE) Online Summit is hosted by the WAAE website and organized by the University of South Australia, 14-22 December 2009, under the theme: “Arts Education: Perspectives on cultural policy, creativity and diversity in the Asia-Pacific region”

Organising an Asia-Pacific face-to-face regional summit provides an enormous resource challenge and WAAE members decided that an online forum would facilitate the realisation of the following guiding aims, objectives and outcome (see attachment).


Canadian Arts and Learning Symposium 2009


Charting a national/regional/global course for Research, Networking & Advocacy

A Regional Summit of the World Alliance for Arts Education (WAAE)

December 2-4, 2009, Royal Conservatory, Toronto

Canadian Networks for Art and Learning (CNAL) , CNAL Declaration (see attachment)


Latin American and Caribbean Summit on Arts Education 2009


In partnership with the World Alliance for Arts Education and CORFERIAS. Bogotá, Colombia, South America. See website

Latin American Summit Report

Latin American


2009 African Regional Summit for Arts Education


Hosted by: THE KUMASI SYMPOSIUM: Tapping Local Resources for Sustainable Education Through Art Department of General Art Studies, College of Arts and Social Sciences, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), Kumasi, Ghana, July 31-August 14, 2009.

Objective: Develop WAAE’s contribution from Africa to the second UNESCO World Conference on Arts Education in May, 2010. Contact initially through Dan Baron Cohen.


2009 Southern African Regional Summit for Arts Education


Hosted by: The 2009 Africa Research Conference in Applied Drama and Theatre, 12-14 November 2009, Wits University, South Africa.

Objective: Develop WAAE’s contribution from Africa to the second UNESCO World Conference on Arts Education in May, 2010. The 2009 conference will also be hosting the WAAE African regional Summit on 15 November (for more information go to www.dramaforlife.co.za). Further information about the WAAE summit is available from Dan Baron Cohen.