Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Art for Greater Empathy

When it comes to education, spending on Math and English are at the top of the list, and somewhere at the bottom is where you’ll find art. This shouldn’t be, as a study published in Education Next showed that students who are exposed to cultural institutions, like museums and performing arts centers, not only have higher levels of engagement with the arts but display greater tolerance, historical empathy, as well as better educational memory and critical thinking skills.

In the study, participants were sorted into two groups – one group who learned about art at school and the other at a gallery. Students who went to the gallery could recall information about the piece that wasn’t part of the main discussion. They also had better recall on the piece three weeks after the experience. When asked to write about a new piece of art those who had attended the gallery also engaged in greater critical thinking. Finally, being given a survey those gallery student showed higher levels of empathy and tolerance.

Art education is something we need to invest in for the future development of our children. To put it simply as a related article in Fast Company did “…Art Will Make Your Kids Better Thinkers (And Nicer People). It doesn’t replace Math and English, but it sure can make a difference to how future generations view the world.”


Simon Bell said...

I was annoyed with my city for ages because it lacks severely in creative culture. Big cities such as London, Manchester and others have this built in to them. These cities attract cultures of all types and this diverse mix creates amazing art; flags of different nations, so many different people, ways of life and all that is attached. This literally becomes art and I think this is where inner city creative culture breeds – I believe that it’s at its strongest here. No wonder these places are like magnets to artistic types who maybe feel let down in their current environments.

Sport, another form of art, often helps to bring this to the streets and enables ways for people to communicate their culture, display love, passion – be human.

In other countries they celebrate culture even in small villages much better that we do in the UK. The late Keith Floyd loved to be in the middle of all this – brilliant and unpredictable - compulsive viewing! This is raw art in the making.

Humans should have the chance to express this and there is no better time than when they’re new to the world in an environment where they’re safe and free to explore.

Movements being created by London Fusion plus others are educational and brilliant. I love this and the effect is moving from city to city among adults.

It’s good news that science is catching up and finding new ways to measure what has seemingly always been the immeasurable. Hopefully this will help to provide the type of tangible evidence that the educational authorities seem to need. And again hopefully, this type of work will lead to an equal investment in art which I agree is ultimately an investment in humanity.

Media Messiah said...

I'm going to comment on a comment this time ... where abouts are you based Simon? I assume you're in England? Funnily enough I have an absolute aversion to artistic hotbeds. Having been in London and Manchester and attended various cultural carryings on, I always left underwhelmed. I much prefer places where there is no obvious art, and the cultural bleakness becomes art in its own right. There's a photographer called Simon Barber who captures it brilliantly: http://bit.ly/Ukb5wT