"Inclusive artistic education - accessibility of art and culture for all"
On April 21 at Šiauliai Academy of Vilnius University, the international final conference "Inclusive artistic education - accessibility of art and culture for all" took place, where three years of experience in "Erasmus+" KA201 project "All in - International Inclusive Society in the Arts (ALIISA)" was summarized.
The final conference was attended by teachers from all over Lithuania, the community of Vilnius University Šiauliai Academy, and guests from abroad - up to 100 participants and 12 speakers. The leaders of the Academy, representatives of the municipality and the member of the Seimas (parliament) of the Republic of Lithuania, who participated in the conference, emphasized the importance of arts in the implementation of inclusive education. The great interest in inclusive arts education showed that it is a relevant topic for schools, art education and cultural institutions, and all arts teachers.
Inclusive education is a priority of educational reform and school development programs in the strategic plans of the Ministry of Education and Culture of Lithuania. The main goal for all schools is to be open for everyone, to experience pupils‘ success in learning, regardless of social, cultural, or religious beliefs or disabilities and the resulting individual needs.
The participants of the conference discussed their perspectives on the implementation of inclusive education in Lithuania. The „Aliisa“ project's activities, results and perspectives of creating an international network community in the context of inclusive artistic education were presented by Prof. Dr. Diana Strakšienė and Assoc. Prof. Dr. E. Musneckienė. The opportunities of Arts Education in implementing inclusive education and learning experiences of teachers in the international context results were discussed.
Speakers of the conference shared the experience of music education in working with persons with disabilities and intercultural diversity. The National Color Music Orchestra presented a practical seminar on color teaching methodology and guests from the University of Liepaja shared practical methods of music therapy and its application in the pedagogical process.
National Color Orchestra „Guboja“
„Aliisa“ results and experience
In spring 2022, the "Aliisa" project continuing arts education workshop and practical training was held in Šiauliai (Lithuania) for arts teachers and students. 11 Lithuanian participants took part in the international training and deepen their theoretical knowledge, professional and special competencies, and practical abilities.
Aliisa students and teachers at Šiauliai Academy
Stanislava Rusevičienė and Laura Dudnikienė, teachers of Šiauliai Arts School, participated in the training of the "ALIISA" project. They applied the acquired knowledge in practice, working in the music studio "En-den-du" of the Šiauliai School of Arts. Only after the training ended, the war in Ukraine started and Ukrainian war refugees arrived in Lithuania. The Šiauliai School of Arts founded the day school for Ukrainian children, where the teachers of the School of Arts volunteered.
At the VU final project conference Stanislava Rusevičienė, a teacher at Šiauliai School of Arts, presented her report "Reflection of the training of the international project "ALIISA": intercultural practical experience". She stated that the fact that arts education, art, and music have great power and wide possibilities in the education, physical and emotional therapy of people of any age, different cultures, and/or exclusion. “The main task of the teachers when meeting with the children of war refugees was to provide those children with a safe environment, to offer activities that would calm them down, help at least solve emotional problems and help them integrate into the local community, build connections and relationships with their peers. Music can be an important tool in helping children cope with stress and anxiety, improve their cognitive abilities, and develop creativity and communication skills“, said Stanislava. Arts education is a very important area of inclusive education – practical artistic activities can solve some language barriers and help to engage all participants in the learning process.
Conference participants had the opportunity to get acquainted with inspiring methods of musical education, and positive educational strategies that promote inclusion and equal opportunities when working in a multicultural environment with students of different needs.