The group has 10 members (2 full time lecturing staff), 4 adjunct members, and 4 PhD students, with an additional 3 students currently undergoing PhD thesis examination, and 3 successfully completed. AERG is an inter-disciplinary group and has strong links with arts education organisations nationally and internationally. This collaboration not only facilitates the potential for lively and enriching inter-disciplinary exchange across a number of disciplines, but also serves to provide an important focal point for research in the area of the Arts in Education in wider society. Although in its early years of operation, AERG has been successful in developing valuable networking opportunities between organisations and institutions involved in arts education, and who are also interested in engaging in researching their own practices. For example, students on the associated M.Ed. (Drama in Education) and B.Mus. Ed. programmes, and doctoral students have engaged in collaborative practice and research with the National Gallery of Ireland, the Abbey Theatre, the National Association of Youth Drama, CREATE (the national government agency for community arts), Aspire (Asperger Syndrome Association of Ireland), the Arts Council, Education Centres, Fingal County Council's early childhood and arts offices, a regional Travellers' Association, and over 30 kindergarten, primary and secondary schools to date. Distance learning students associated with AERG are similarly involved in research projects in over 10 countries at the moment.
The establishment of the Arts Education Research Group is enhancing our ability to prioritise its vision in a belief in the value of arts and learning as an intrinsic component of human culture that deserves formal recognition in schools and wider society, and as a way of transforming and renewing educational systems to achieve valuable personal, social and cultural objectives which will benefit all children, young people and life long learners of all ages.
The Arts Education Research Group has a developing programme of activities across the arts generally, with several areas of specialism. It is concerned with research into the policy and practice of arts and aesthetic education. Its current areas of expertise include Drama and Theatre in Education, Music, Museum Studies, Artistic Biography, and the Visual Arts. It is particularly interested in teaching and learning issues with respect to inclusion and special educational needs. It is also currently building networks to bridge the arts and sciences, and exploring the ways in which the two can inter-relate in policy and practice.
The Group is engaged in the following four major strands of research activity currently:
- An artists' biography series
- A co-mentoring scheme between artists and teachers in early years settings
This work has generated a number of peer-reviewed publications (6, with an additional 3 in press), conference proceedings (2) and conference presentations (15).
AERG includes public performance and academic events in the range of its activities, and hosts an annual series of student concerts on campus. 11 research seminars have been organised since 2012, with 2 highly successful international conferences taking place in 2013 (one on the role of 27 fairytale in contemporary theatre, featuring Mike Kenny and Erika Eichenseer, and one on drama and autism spectrum disorder which attracted over 330 delegates). Members of AERG are regularly invited to give presentations, workshops, keynote addresses and CPD training to teachers and arts educators and practitioners in many parts of the world.