Awakening the “Sleeping Giant”? the arts in the lives of Australian families

Margaret S. Barrett, Heather Smigiel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review


In 2001 a nation wide study (Costantoura, 2001) raised a number of questions in relation to the arts and Australian families. This study used group interviews and surveys to question people aged between 18 and 60 about their participation in the arts. Results from this study suggested that the arts add ‘an important dimension’ to family life; however, the ways this occurs and the nature of family participation in the arts were not made clear. Significantly, this study did not include the perceptions of young people under the age of 18. Here we report on one aspect of a complementary research project that sought to provide more information concerning the ways in which Australian families participate in the arts and to identify the meaning, purpose, and value of the arts for children (ages five to fifteen) in Australian school and community settings. Specifically, we focus on the ways in which children describe their engagement with the arts in family settings using the voices of young people as the primary source of data.
Original languageEnglish
JournalInternational Journal of Education and the Arts
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 3 Nov 2003
Externally publishedYes

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