A growing body of Australian and international research demonstrates the enormous positive impacts that participating in The Arts can have on students’ academic and non-academic success.

Some of these groundbreaking studies will help inform decision makers at all levels: politicians, school principals, parents, academics, teacher education students and arts educators.


Academic and social skills

There is a strong relationship between the cognitive capacities developed through learning and communicating in dance, drama, music and the visual arts, and students’ academic and social skills. Positive effects of young people involved in arts-rich education programs include achievements in reading, language and mathematics development, increased higher order thinking skills and capacities, increased motivation to learn, and improvements in effective social behaviours.

Bowen, E.H, Kisida, B. (2019). Investigating Causal Effects of Arts Education Experiences. Rice University’s Kinder Institute for Urban Research. “… giving students more access to the arts offers measurable benefits. And adding time for dance, theater, or visual arts isn’t at odds with traditional measures of academic success, according to the research — which amounts to one of the largest gold-standard studies on arts education ever conducted.”

Winner, E., Goldstein, T. R., Vincent-Lancrin, S. (2013). Arts for art’s sake? Overview, OECD Publishing.

Bryce, J., Mendelovits, J., Beavis, A., McQueen, J., & Adams, I. (2004). Evaluation of school-based arts education programmes in Australian schools. Melbourne: Australian Council for Educational Research.

Fiske, E. (Ed.). (1999). Champions of change: The impact of arts on learning. Washington, DC: Arts Education Partnerships/President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

Well-being and self-esteem

An arts-rich education from an early age develops individual creativity and self-expression. School-based arts participation can increase learners’ confidence and motivation, thereby improving school attendance rates, academic outcomes and the well-being and life skills of children and young people.

A growing body of international and Australian research demonstrates the multiple benefits of an arts-rich education from an early age. Over and above the obvious development of individual creativity and self-expression, school-based arts participation can increase learners’ confidence and motivation, thereby improving school attendance rates, academic outcomes and the well-being and life skills of children and young people.

Caldwell, B.J, Vaughan, T., & Harris, J. The Song Room (2011). Bridging The Gap In School Achievement Through The Arts

Catterall, J. S., Dumais, S. A., & Hampden-Thompsan, G. (2012) The arts and achievement in the at-risk youth: Findings from four longitudinal studies. Washington, DC: National Empowerment for the Arts.

Intrinsic value

All children are entitled to a school curriculum that includes critical creative thinking involving expression and the opportunity to create ideas and feelings in a visible material form.

Australian Curriculum, Assessment & Reporting Authority (2018): The Australian Curriculum: The Arts

O’Toole, J. (2019) Mind the Gap – Some implications of the Australian Curriculum: Arts for policy change in tertiary arts and education training. NiTRO. Australian Council of Deans and Directors of Creative Arts Incorporated.

Barton, G. (2013). The Arts and Literacy: What Does it Mean to be Arts Literate? International Journal of Education & the Arts.

Hunter, M., Baker, W., & Nailon, D.  (2014). Generating Cultural Capital? Impacts of artist-in-residence on teacher professional learning.  Australian Journey of Teacher Education, Vol. 39, Issue 6.

Davis, D. (2008). First We See: The National Review of Visual Education. Australia Council for The Arts.

Pascoe, R., Leong, S., MacCallum, J., Mackinlay, E., Marsh, K., Smith, B., Church, T., & Winterton, A. (2005). National Review of School Music Education: Augmenting the diminished.

Innovation and 21st Century capacities

Collaboration, problem-solving, critical thinking, imagination, communication, agility and empathy—the experiences and learning that a properly implemented Arts curriculum offer are profound. The Arts provide the logical conduit through which these capacities and related skills, in both the social and emotional domains, can be developed.

The Foundation for Young Australians. (2015). The new work order: Ensuring young Australians have skills and experience for the jobs of the future, not the past.

Ewing, R. (2010): The Arts and Australian Education: Realising potential. Australian Education Review