Learning to be in public spaces: In from the margins with dancers, sculptors, painters and musicians

Morwenna Griffiths, Judy Berry, Anne Holt, John Naylor, Philippa Weekes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Scopus citations


This article reports research in three Nottingham schools, concerned with (1) The school as fertile ground: how the ethos of a school enables everyone in it to benefit from the presence of artists in class'; (2) 'Children on the edge: how the arts reach those children who otherwise exclude themselves from, class activities, for any reason' and (3) 'Children's voices and choices: how even very young children can learn to express their wishes, and then have them realised through arts projects'. The research methodology was rooted in two modes of inquiry, philosophical investigation and action research. The article draws on this research to argue that arts-based work in school has helped disadvantaged and/or disaffected children to engage in activities (both arts-based and others), and to be able to lay the groundwork, for exercising voice and agency as they did so. If social justice is to flourish there is a need for particular kinds of public spaces and a need to create conditions such that children can learn to participate in those spaces, whether or not they are comfortable with the usual settings for 'rational argument' or 'deliberative democracy'. It is suggested that arts-based education, in some forms, is one good way of creating these conditions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)352-371
Number of pages20
JournalBritish Journal of Educational Studies
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2006

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Education


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