Informal arts engagement programs in disadvantaged schools: student aspirations and creative limits

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Abstract

It is widely argued that the arts have a range of cultural, economic, and educational benefits. However, under state austerity arts curricula are devalued in favour of industry skills. To address this gap in arts education, a new type of student focussed informal arts engagement program has emerged. This article draws on a qualitative study of disadvantaged Australian secondary students’ experience of an arts engagement program and explores their experiences through Bourdieusian concepts. We observe how students’ homologous position allowed an immediate appreciation of the arts and note how their habitus frame the arts as ‘work’ and as a technical accomplishment. An illusio in the arts as career emerged from these understandings. We suggest informal arts programs act as a collective gift within a weak cycle of reciprocity, but without expanded in-school opportunities fall short in offering students new ways of understanding the place and value of the arts.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages20
JournalINTERNATIONAL STUDIES IN SOCIOLOGY OF EDUCATION
Early online date25 Sept 2023
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 25 Sept 2023

Keywords

  • Arts education
  • Bourdieu
  • creativity
  • educational disadvantage
  • habitus
  • informal learning

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