ENCATC conference 'Rethinking Education on Arts & Cultural Management' edition:21 location:Antwerp date:5-7 November 2013
Most organisations concerned with art, heritage or media are situated “outside” the education system but do have educational goals. Several authors have argued that partnerships between those organisations and schools can have a positive impact on classroom ACE (e.g. Bamford, 2006). While an increasing number of studies examine those benefits and evaluate partnerships from the point of view of schools, teachers and pupils (e.g. Rowe et al, 2004; Castaneda & Rowe, 2006; Burnard & Swann, 2010), little is known about the “anatomy” of partnership strategies (Abeles, 2004) and how to strengthen sustainable ACE partnerships from the perspective of cultural and youth organisations. Using a SWOT-analysis, we explored these topics for Flanders (Belgium). The degree of partnerships was estimated through a survey of all subsidized cultural and youth organisations (N=1063, response= 59.1%). Results show that cooperation is inherently linked with ACE (e.g. teaching artists, museum visits, etc.). Off all the organisations working on ACE, 90.5% are involved in partnerships. 31,7% of the ACE offer by those organisations is tailor-made for schools. Motives and barriers for successful ACE partnerships were traced using interviews (17 interviewees) and focus groups (46 participants in 4 groups). The open and informal approach of the learning process, the explicit use of the lived experience of pupils and the challenging methods of cultural specialists are considered essential drivers for successful partnerships with schools. Financial constraints, inadequate accommodation in schools, time constraints and scheduling difficulties and the teachers’ lack of overview on what cultural and youth organisations have to offer, are the most important factors hindering ACE collaboration with schools as perceived by external cultural and youth organisations. These SWOT-elements can shape the ground for new policy strategies. To maximize the potential of the opportunities and strengths it seems important cultural organisations and schools explore all essential aspects of a creative partnership beforehand. A clear theoretical framework can facilitate this (Hallmark, 2012; Konings & van Heusden, 2013).