Raising the bar: In search of quality in arts and cultural programs for children

Date:  Wednesday, 9th October, 2013
Time:  5.15 – 6.45 pm
Venue: Frank Tate Room, Level 9, 100 Leicester Street, Carlton

RSVP: Please RSVP by Tuesday, 8th October, 2013
Gina Grant / grantg@unimelb.edu.au


Children’s cultural and artistic participation in Australia is growing annually as more and more children engage in arts and cultural activities in their communities outside of school hours (ABS 4901.0). Increasing numbers of children visit museums, galleries, theatres and libraries to participate in exhibitions, performances and public programs. On a weekly basis, children are routinely involved in all kinds of artistic pursuits in private classes, community centres, clubs and at home; they are playing musical instruments, making art and craft, dancing, singing and performing. The scope of this activity is largely unregulated and without any standards, yet many providers are working to offer high quality experiences for children’s artistic and cultural lives. The session will focus on a discussion of the dimensions of quality, and the need to raise the bar to ensure all children’s rights to “appropriate and equal opportunities for cultural, artistic, recreational and leisure activity.” (United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child, Article 31).

Dr Barbara Piscitelli AM is a freelance consultant and researcher in education and the arts. Her research explores cultural policy and childhood, children’s learning in museums, and early childhood visual arts education. In 1986, she established an archive of children’s art and has created several exhibitions and catalogues from her collection; she donated the collection to the State Library of Queensland in 2004. Dr Piscitelli was Chair of the Queensland Cultural Policy Advisory Committee, and currently serves on the Council of the National Museum of Australia and as a Board Member of the Queensland Museum. She taught at Queensland University of Technology for 20 years (1984 - 2004) and was Visiting Scholar at the Hong Kong Institute of Education (2007-8). Dr Piscitelli was recognised in the Australia Day 2006 Honours as a Member of the Order of Australia (AM). The citation for her Award reads: ‘For service to early childhood education as a teacher, to the establishment of programs in cultural institutions for children, and as a collector and curator of children's art.’