A case study: Issues of culture, diversity and difference in art education in New Zealand

Jill Smith


This paper reports on case study research conducted in five Auckland secondary school art departments in 2005. Positioned within the reality of New Zealand’s increasingly multicultural society and progressively diverse school population, the study was underpinned by a critique of interpretations of culture, diversity and difference, an examination of claims by cultural theorists that schooling has a responsibility to educate for an equitable democratic society, and arguments by multicultural art education theorists that art education can make a significant contribution towards a democratic society. The study also involved an interrogation of pedagogical approaches for culturally inclusive art education and a critique of educational policy which raises issues of the subject’s position and value in the contemporary age of globalisation. This paper offers insights into the research participants’ schools and pedagogical practices. The findings are intended to inform rofessional judgements about the shape and role of art education in a diversified society which, in an era of economic and cultural globalisation, has a historically contingent commitment to biculturalism.


Arts education; Ccase study; culture; diversity; difference; secondary schools

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DOI: 10.15663/wje.v13i1.285


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© Wilf Malcolm Institute of Educational Research, Te Kura Toi Tangata Faculty of Education, 2015