Credit: UNESCO / UAE

On Tuesday 27 February 2024, Luxembourg's Ministry of Culture confirmed that UNESCO Member States have unanimously adopted a new global framework for cultural and artistic education. 

The World Conference on Cultural and Artistic Education organized by UNESCO and the United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi from 13 to 15 February 2024 brought together nearly 1,000 culture and education stakeholders, including 90 ministers, 125 representatives members of the organisation's Member States, policy makers, experts, NGOs, United Nations agencies, academics and representatives of the private sector.

After two years of multi-stakeholder consultations, dialogue and negotiations, UNESCO Member States have unanimously adopted a new global framework for cultural and artistic education. It plans in particular to give a greater place to cultural and artistic education in teacher training, to better promote local heritage and cultures, or to further promote artistic and cultural skills within the professional sector.

The new UNESCO framework emphasises the need for lifelong cultural and artistic learning, in all types of educational environments. It places culture and the arts at the heart of educational policies and strategies, programmes and curricula. It broadens the notion of culture to include built, natural and living heritage, cultural expressions, as well as cultural and creative industries. It also emphasises the potential of digital technologies in cultural and artistic education with a view to promoting intercultural dialogue and linguistic diversity.

The objective of the UNESCO transdisciplinary framework for cultural and artistic education is to promote accessibility, innovation and equity through differentiated learning. Cultural and artistic education allows pupils and students to develop their creativity, knowledge, skills and critical thinking throughout their lives. Culture and the arts deserve to be integrated more consistently into education through interactions with cultural institutions,” said Luxembourg's Minister of Culture, Eric Thill.

The adopted text also highlights the essential role of learning about diversity to overcome divisions and facilitate mutual understanding. It also calls for strengthening relations between educational and cultural establishments. This means creating more partnerships and connections between schools and cultural places and elements – whether UNESCO World Heritage sites, documentary heritage or listed traditions, skills and festivals representative of the intangible cultural heritage of humanity.