Multicultural Arts Education: Attitudes and Perceptions of Australian Tertiary Students

By Dawn Joseph.

Published by The International Journal of Humanities Education

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Through social interaction the Arts connects communities and brings people together where both contemporary and traditional arts can be preserved, protected and promoted. In multicultural Australia, the Arts provides a space in teaching and learning that enables students the opportunity to engage, create and imagine both individually and collectively. The ‘Arts’ in the wider community fosters empathy, acceptance and appreciation of difference where diversity is celebrated between people of different cultures, languages, religions, and ethnicities. Through a discussion of multiculturalism, teacher education and multicultural education, I argue that the Arts can be seen as an agent of social change, a powerful dais to alter perceptions, attitudes and beliefs. This paper situates itself in Melbourne (Australia) through the lens of celebrating our rich multicultural arts. Through questionnaire data collected in October 2010 from Arts Education final year students at Deakin University, I present a snapshot of their understandings of multiculturalism: what they value, believe and understand as agents of change in education. By experiencing multicultural arts, both new and different hybrid art forms can be explored in schools and the wider society. Through such connections, the Arts can foster a positive experience that promotes diversity and enhances intercultural and cross-cultural understanding in our multicultural Australian society.

Keywords: Multiculturalism, Australian Multicultural Arts Education Teacher Education

The International Journal of Humanities Education, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp.25-38. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 232.541KB).

Dr. Dawn Joseph

Senior Lecturer, Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia

Dr. Dawn Joseph is a senior lecturer in music and education studies in the Faculty of Arts and Education, Deakin University, Melbourne, Australia. She is currently responsible for teaching in both undergraduate and postgraduate courses and is the course coordinator of the Bachelor of Teaching and Bachelor of Arts. Dawn researches, publishes, and reviews in national and international journals in the areas of teacher education, music education, African music, cultural diversity, and multiculturalism. She is a national committee member of the Australian Society for Music Education and deputy chair of the Victorian Chapter.