Partnerships between schools and the professional arts sector supported by Arts Victoria: Research and evaluation

Research Team


Funding Source

Dr Wes Imms
Dr Neryl Jeanneret
Dr Claire Irvine
Associate Professor Kate Donelan
Professor John O'Toole
Jennifer Stevens-Ballenger


Arts Victoria & Department of Education and Early Childhood Development, Victoria


Arts Victoria supports a range of partnerships between schools and the professional arts sector across Victoria. These partnerships include Artist-in-residence programs where artists spend a minimum of 20 days in a school, school-based Exposure-to-arts programs that involve sessions in schools by visiting arts organisations, and venue-based programs where students visit sites such as galleries, performing arts centres or museums. The Department of Education and Early Childhood Development (DEECD) also supports a range of these initiatives through their Strategic Partnerships Program (SPP). This evaluation determined the learning that occurred through these programs and directions for future policy, programs and practice. More specifically, the research examined:

  • how arts partnerships impact student engagement, student voice
  • social learning, creative skills and arts-related knowledge and skills
  • the characteristics of effective partnerships
  • the special roles, functions and characteristics of the teacher, artist and school
  • leadership in these partnerships and
  • implications for future programs and practice


The research sites included a representative sample of primary, secondary and special schools from low, medium and high socio-economic backgrounds, urban and regional locations, and government and independent systems. Selected school partnerships included Artist-in-residence programs, and Exposure-to-arts programs (both venue-based and school-based) for students in Years P-10. The evaluation drew on over 150 hours of interviews and on site observations, 390 surveys, over 40 site visits, and comprehensive documentary analysis of Artist-in-residence program products, school documentation and other reports. Participants included more than 380 students, 50 teachers and other school leaders, as well as 34 artists. The partnerships examined occurred between 2005 and 2009 and incorporated dance, drama, music, visual arts, media and numerous multi-arts mixtures, and were implemented by both specialist arts and generalist teachers in the schools. The research utilised a mixed methods strategy, with pre- and post-program surveys producing quantitative data capable of summarising general trends relevant to the five student outcomes being assessed, and qualitative data (transcripts from interviews, in situ observations, and documentary analysis) 'fleshing out' those trends and allowing effective triangulationof the data.

Publications/ Presentations

Stevens-Ballenger, J., Jeanneret, N. & Forrest, D. (2010). Preservice primary music: Where to begin?
Victorian Journal of Music Education, 1, 36-41.

Jeanneret, N. & Forrest, D. (2009). Teaching Music: How we prepare the Primary generalist? In Proceedings of the Asian Pacific Symposium on Music Education Research, Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Shanghai, China.

Jeanneret, N. & Forrest, D. (2009). Music in preservice primary education: Current developments in Australia. In W. Baker (Ed.) Musical Understanding. Proceedings of the Australian Society for Music Education National Conference, Launceston.