Dirk Monsma | Network ‘Art and culture, from school to leisure’ (NL)

Inclusion and education
Several Rotterdam schools for (higher) special education and cultural institutions came together in the school year 2018-2019 to have more students participate in the cultural life of Rotterdam. Including students with special educational needs in a cultural environment can be valuable for the students, as they develop their artistic talents and cultural participation. However, their participation is equally valuable to the cultural landscape of Rotterdam. More and more schools for special needs education are improving their cultural curriculum with the programmes Cultuureducatie met Kwaliteit (Culture Education with Quality) and the Impuls Muziekonderwijs (Boost Music Education). Now that there’s more attention for cultural development during school hours, the lack of infrastructure for students with special needs in their free time has become glaring. A vulnerable group is underrepresented in cultural life. This problem is tackled in true Rotterdam fashion: figure out what’s possible first, then beg for money. This past spring, a series of lessons was designed for five cultural institutions. In this workshop they will be presenting their experience, along with the opportunities and barriers that they encountered. How did the participants and their parents respond? In what way were the Rotterdam schools involved? What part does Stichting MEE play? And… what can you do?

Dirk Monsma
Dirk Monsma is fascinated by the development of artistic abilities of young people who were not brought up with art. What role does education play? Does cultural education lead to cultural participation at a later age? What does art education mean to students with special needs? During his time as a director of centres for art in Amsterdam and Rotterdam, Monsma collected a wealth of experiences. He was an advisory member of the Dutch Culture Council from 2009 to 2014. With photographer Rinie Bleeker, he published ‘Fluisterzacht en haarzuiver’ (Lemniscaat, 2017) on the meaning of art education for children with disabilities.