Northern Encounters – Finland


I am writing from the World Alliance for Arts Education (WAAE) Global Summit conference titled, ‘Cultural Encounters and Northern Reflections’ being held at the University of Lapland, Finland. The air is crisp, fresh snow is resting delicately everywhere in every direction and its -3C outside. On the morning of the first day, after four connecting flights from Sydney, Adelaide, Singapore and Helsinki, I finally arrived in Rovaniemi in the very north of the country just over an hour’s flight from Helsinki. Bleary eyed and without much sleep over the past 36 hours, I headed directly to the conference to catch the last of the opening morning session.

Many familiar faces from the Global daCi/WDA Dance Summit in Taipei and new faces from around the globe have gathered here in Rovaniemi to join delegates from the International Drama Theatre and Education Association (IDEA), the International Society for Education through Arts (InSEA), the International Society for Music Education (ISME) and the World Dance Alliance (WDA). The conference brings together an exciting line up of key note speakers and panelists to discuss the future of arts education around the globe.

Today’s inspiring discussions have been centred around Advocacy, Networking and Research with key note presentations from members of all four organisations being represented including Ralph Buck (WDA), Patrice Baldwin (IDEA), Rita Irwin (WAAE) and Margaret Barrett (ISME). I’ve also sat in on a discussion with arts educators from Brazil and Finland to discuss the Seoul Agenda: Goals for the Development of Arts Education and a Response the the 2006 UNESCO Roadmap for Arts Education. I’ve listened to some inspiring speakers from Germany, Russia, Finland, America and Denmark, attended a film screening ‘Eleven human image’ about rock painting and attended an opening night function/cocktail reception exhibition ‘Cultural Encounters’ (visual arts) from the University of the Arctic.

I will be chairing a discussion on Advocacy with presenters Maryanne Flanagan (St. Mary’s University College, Belfast – Ireland), Peter Duffy (University of South Carolina, Columbia – USA) and Anna Cy Chan (Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts, Hong Kong – China). I’ll also be presenting my paper, Reflections from abroad on Friday 9 November 2012. For more information about this conference and my presentation see the link to my site.