Gökhan Kaya Christopher Mathieu Marie Sépulchre

Disability and Arts Education. From Unequal Participation to Opportunities for Innovation

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To promote human flourishing throughout society, opportunities for arts participation must encompass all citizens. A primary means to promote this is arts education and activities for schoolchildren. Equal opportunities for participation are currently not enjoyed by students with disabilities. In a population-based and cross-sectional study carried out on a 2016 public-health survey including 27,395 students with and without disabilities in the Swedish region of Skåne, it is found that all categories of students with disabilities experience some degree of diminished participation across six different arts activities. Students with ADHD/ADD and dyslexia suffer consistent diminished participation across all six activities, while students with other disabilities are ‘compensated’ for lesser participation in some activities by overrepresentation in other activities. This suggest that all students with disabilities are subject to external perspectives about what is appropriate for them, based on perceptions about their impairments and, possibly, combined with gender. Finally, it is argued that disability invites us to broaden our views of who can engage in various art forms, under which premises and how arts can be taught. This opens ‘opportunities for innovation’ in arts education drawing on the basic impulse of the arts: to continuously look beyond boundaries and facilitate emancipatory expression.


  • Ableism
  • Arts education
  • Exclusion
  • Disability
  • Schoolchildren


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