Academic Research on Arts Education: Some Resources

1 January, 2015
Camille Pernelet, translated by Roshnara Corby

Following the conference “Food for Thought: Enriching Teaching” in Como on 15-17 October 2015, RESEO invites you to reflect upon how to use academic research to validate and develop innovative artistic projects in partnership with schools.

In the current context of budget cuts for cultural institutions and the ever-decreasing role of arts education in school curricula, parents, educators, artists and culture professionals are expressing their discontent. The Internet offers a plethora of blog posts addressing education and art, aimed at an audience of teachers and parents and advocating for arts education in schools. The articles cite academic studies, scientific experts, and teachers who observe and measure the benefits of arts activities on their students in their classrooms.

If you still need to be convinced – or convince others – of the incredible power of the arts on pupil development, we invite you to consult this list of 11 facts about arts education put together by a collective for the defense of youth and social change, or the 5 reasons identified by the organisation Young Audience Arts for Learningthrough its own activities which explain why art is vital to education, or this collection of 10 research studies carried out between 1999 et 2011 that demonstrate the importance of arts in schools.

Resources on the importance of arts and culture education in schools abound, including academic, scientific, and sociological resources, European and national reports, statistical studies, details of past and future projects and recommendations on what can be carried out.

When looking for resources on a specific topic it is important to identify relevant databases that gather the requisite information. Here you will find some examples of international and national databases providing reports, studies and analysis on the theme of arts education in schools.

International databases:

European Union databases:

The Directorate General for Education and Culture is the executive branch of the European Union responsible for policy on education, youth, culture, languages and sport. The activities of the DG EAC are divided into 6 poles of action, including Education and Training and Culture and Media. Commission legislation can be found on the Eur-Lex Europa site. You can also consult evaluations of DG EAC activities by year and by activity.

On the page dedicated to Education and Training you can consult the legislation and recommendationsgoverning the activities of the Commission as well as several portals and databases including Open Education Europa, which provides digital education resources and a document library developed as part of these activities. You can also consult the databases of their partners and networks:

You can access a document library on the page dedicated to Culture provided by the service as part of its activities (laws, framework recommendations, statistics, studies), as well as publications by its partners and networks such as:

The DG EAC supports these sectors through several specific programmes, particularly Erasmus + (Education and Training and Youth activities) and Creative Europe (Culture and Media activities).

Erasmus + aims to strengthen skills and employability and to modernise education, training and youth work. European projects aimed at advancing education are funded as part of the programme. Many of these projects can be found in the Erasmus + database, providing information about past and current projects at a European level.

Creative Europe is part of the European Commission program for the development of the cultural and audio-visual sectors. It supports cultural initiatives that promote international cooperation, platforms, networks; initiatives for the development, dissemination and accessibility of audio-visual work; and transdisciplinary work through transnational cooperation and help to organisations. As with Erasmus +, the various projects (networks, platforms and cooperation projects) supported by Creative Europe are good resources for  learning about European cultural initiatives.

As the executive body of the European Union, the European Commission is accountable to the European Parliament. As such, the DG EAC is accountable to the Committee on Culture and Education.

On the website of the Committee on Culture and Education of the European Parliament you can find studies, analysis and reports produced by the European Parliament research services to facilitate the work of commissions. You can explore the database by keywords. You also have access to all documents produced by the Committee as part of its various activities.

Finally, the EU Bookshop website offers a bookstore, library and archive of publications from 1952 onwards. It contains 100,000 titles and 190,000 corresponding electronic versions (PDF, eBook, CD ROM, DVD, etc) in over 50 languages, including all 24 official EU languages. Most publications listed on EU Bookshop are drafted by the European institutions, including the Commission, the European Parliament and the EU Council, as well as agencies and other EU bodies. Some publications are published in partnership with publishers and / or other international organisations. Others are authored by individuals whose work is recognized by the institution for which they work.

Some national databases and resources:


The association Culture and Democracy is a platform for reflection, observation, exchange and awareness of links between culture and democracy. It develops a critical approach to the concept of culture, explores the issues of access to culture, cultural participation, the cultural dimension of public policy and cultural rights. These topics are explored by theme – art and health, culture and education, culture and prison, culture and social work, and transversally the right to participate in cultural life – through exchanges and publications. You can consult the Culture and Education section for research on this subject.

The SMart Association has 10 offices in Belgium, 60,000 members and is present in 8 European countries. It is provides concrete solutions and offers advice and training as well as legal, fiscal, financial and administrative tools for professional activity in the creative sector. You can explore their Studies section for factsheets, publications, studies and analysis of continuing education in the cultural sector. SMart and Culture and Democracy furthermore have a common a resource centre containing all their data.

United States

The United States is the most visible in terms of English-language research on arts education.

Aside from the various journals and academic publications on the subject, the most comprehensive and easy to use database is, the country’s most important research and policy recommendations database on the benefits of including arts in education (in or outside school) for both students and teachers. is divided into four categories: Students, Educators, School Day, Out-of-School. For each category you have access to a summary of the results of the studies that exist on the subject, an inventory of studies by age group, the policy implications of these studies, and a keyword search module. There is also a section detailing possible future research and a forum.

The National Art Education Association website is also a wealth of resources on the topic. Explore the Research Resources, Research Reports, Resources Catalog, and Publications sections or subscribe to their Art Education Journal and Studies in art education journals.

The National Urban Alliance for Effective Education, which advocates for professional development, the defence and the organisation of schools in urban and suburban areas, is also very active in the field of research and has developed an interesting database (sorted by year).

The Arts Education Partnership brings together partners across the country which advocate for the generalisation of arts education to all children and all schools. These partners provide extensive documentation on the subject and the national situation regarding arts education. You can explore their site and those of their partners in the search for information or to sign up for their bi-monthly newsletters.

NOTES (National Opera Teacher and Educators Source) provides a database of opera teaching resources.

If you are looking to address education issues from a scientific aspect, the Learning and the Brain association, composed of educators, researchers and neuroscientists, organises conferences on the topic.

Finally, if you are particularly interested in dance education, the website of the National Dance Education Organization offers many resources. Their “About Dance Education” section advocates above all for teaching dance in schools. You can find here a database of research related to dance education, links to the two journalspublished by NDEO – Journal of Dance Education and Dance Education in Practice-, an inventory of recommended resources (sorted by subject) and NDEO studies.


The Ministry of Culture and Communication provides culture professionals with a number of resources to improve knowledge and development of the sector, with extensive documentation in the “Resources” section of their website. You can explore the database by keyword or by type of document. The Ministry is also responsible for several publications, including the journal Culture et Recherche.

Within the General Secretariat of the Ministry of Culture and Communication, the ministerial statistical service of the INSEE département des études, de la prospective et des statistiques (DEPS), has for the last fifty years published the results of its studies and research on culture in a variety of formats. These publications are sorted by theme and document type.

The national Ministry of Education provides an education search engine that performs custom searches on the 350 public reference sites for state education. It is also possible to do a keyword search of all documentation available on the Ministry of Education website.
The Ministry also provides the Eduscol portal for education professionals, which includes many resources for teachers and educators.

The Cercle de Recherche et d’Action Pédagogiques publishes Cahiers Pédagogiques and provides a certain amount of teaching resources on its website.

United Kingdom

Arts Council England supports, develops and invests in cultural and artistic experiences. It supports activities in all artistic fields, including fine arts, museums, libraries, theatre, dance, music, literature and digital art. In their « Advice and Guidance » section you will find a link to all the documentation produced by the Arts Council (publications, reports, and studies) and another towards toolkits on various topics.


If your interest is dance, you are advised to explore the database provided by the Rudolf Nureyev Foundation Medical Website. The website provide dancers and related healthcare professionals with access to current and past articles, an updated research list and minutes of conferences, as well as resources and information. Their database contains scientific research articles related to dance and dancer wellbeing. Search is sorted by anatomy as well as by keyword or source category.

Obviously, this  bibliography of arts education databases is not exhaustive. Do not hesitate to send us your recommandations to complete it. If you know other useful databases than those quoted here, share your knowledge with your European colleagues so that we can all together enrich opera, music and dance education.


Arts education Culture/Arts Education Europe Schools