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Denmark/ 8.3 Arts and cultural education  

8.3.2 Arts in schools

The situation regarding art education in schools has been widely debated since The Danish Arts Councils  report "Spænvidder" ("Spans - about art and culture") was published in September 2010 (can be downloaded from

The debate has been centred on how the teaching of art in the Danish school system can be further developed and improved. Are children educated in art by doing making art themselves? Or should they be educated through teaching in art-history, art appreciation, art theory etc. What are the effects of the two sides of arts education in schools?

These kinds of questions draw on various art educational traditions and understandings, as expressed in the Anne Bamford Report The firebrand in the Classroom, which operates with a distinction between teaching in the arts and education through art. (Anne Bamford: The firebrand in the Classroom. A Review of Danish Arts Education Schools, the Arts Council Copenhagen 2006. (

Art training can therefore aim at an objective of imparting aesthetic experience and insight about art for "passing heritage on to young people". In this case, priority in teaching art in schools focuses on selected works, traditions and forms. The others tradition in arts education will seek to "allow them [the young] to create their own artistic language and contribute to their overall development - emotional and cognitive". (Anne Bamford: The Wow Factor. Global research compendium on the impact of the arts in education. Waxmann, New York / Munich / Berlin 2006).

The Danish Arts Council’s Music Committee works to ensure a large and diverse range of school concerts. In 2009 the Committee launched a survey of school concerts. The findings can be read in the report School Concerts in Denmark published 2010 (can be downloaded from

The organisation Live Music in Schools has been appointed as the key player in funding school concerts.

Chapter published: 16-07-2018

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