A Mari Usque Ad Mare

From Sea to Sea

par Melissa-Ann Ledo

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Melissa-Ann Ledo

Melissa-Ann Ledo

Conseillère pédagogique pour les 4 arts, Commission scolaire English-Montreal, étudiante à la Maîtrise en éducation artistique, Université Concordia

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What is CSEA/SCÉA? The Canadian Society for Education through Art/La Société canadienne d’éducation par l’ art (CSEA/SCÉA), is Canada’s national art education association. It seems appropriate to introduce ourselves via our mission statement: 

“The CSEA/SCÉA represents art educators, students and artists in schools, universities, and art galleries. We are dedicated to the visual arts as essential to student learning in schools, colleges, universities, community settings and other venues, because art education is the conduit to holistic human growth and development, both affective and cognitive.  The visual arts are implicit in and expressive of culture. Engagement in and with the visual arts has the power to transform who we are individually and collectively. CSEA/SCÉA believes students must engage in the visual arts conceptually, analytically, critically, reflectively, historically, culturally and creatively. We are committed to strong partnerships with provincial, national and international arts education organizations. CSEA/SCÉA promotes and supports seminal conceptions of theory, research and practice at our conferences, in our publications, and in art teaching and learning in all public and private education institutions in Canada.” Visit CSEA/SCÉA website @ http://www.csea-scea.ca/

It is our mandate to work in partnership with each provincial art education with the goal of offering support, and to create a stronger voice on behalf of art education and art educators across the country.  To this end, we have a position on our executive, specifically dedicated to maintaining relationships with the provincial organizations.  The latest manifestation of this position is called PAL, or Provincial Affiliation Liaison.  This position is a directorship, currently shared by Renée Jackson, and Melissa-Ann Ledo.  The purpose of this article is to share our current vision and strategic goals.

What is PAL?  The purpose of PAL is to build & strengthen relationships between CSEA/SCÉA and the provincial affiliates, as well as to help to build connections and facilitate communication between the provincial organizations themselves.  Our recent round-table and follow up correspondence with most provincial organizations has made it clear that many of our concerns as art educators echo across the entire country, with individual nuances varying depending on the history and current climate within each provincial context.  Through PAL, we would like to facilitate interconnection between organizations in order to strengthen the voice and role of art education across the country.  Our strategic plan for accomplishing this goal is threefold.

The Plan in Three Steps

Step 1:  Rekindling Relationships

The first strategic step was to rekindle relationships with each provincial organization.  To accomplish this goal, we reached out via email and by delivering welcome packages to each provincial association. Through these correspondences, we invited the provinces to participate in the PAL blog, where the intention initially was imagined as a “newsletter” type format, posting news items of interest from each province, so that it would be easy to keep abreast of interesting initiatives and projects taking place across the nation, all in one place.  Knowing that it would likely take time to create traffic and participation related to the site, we began gleaning pertinent details from the websites of the provincial organizations and sharing them through the PAL blog.

Step 2:   Assessing Provincial Climates

The second strategic step was to deepen the connection, and to begin to build a clear picture of the situation of art education across the country.  To accomplish this goal, we brought together provincial representatives from across the country to participate in a round-table at our October, 2014 conference Visual Revival! in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  After overcoming a few unanticipated challenges, we managed to engage in an incredible conversation with representatives from Nova Scotia, PEI, New Brunswick, Newfoundland (just in the process of creating their provincial association), Saskatchewan, Québec, and British Columbia.  From this conversation, we created a summary of each of these provincial situations, based on the following three subject lines:  regarding organization; general climate; and other points of interest.  We have been posting these summaries on the PAL blog.  We envision the blog not only as a hub for sharing information about art education nationally, but also as an archive of sorts, housing key information about the situation of art education as it evolves through time.

Please note that in support of the connection between CSEA/SCÉA and the provincial organizations, we offer funding towards conference registration for provincial presidents or a representative from provincial organizations to participate.

Step 3:  Developing a Strategic Action Plan

This brings us to our third strategic step, which is currently in progress.  Now that we have connected, and have a sense of the national picture, we will be sending out a two-question survey:

  1. In light of the recent information you have shared with PAL, what advocacy actions have been/are being taken by your association in order to address the art education challenges your province is facing?
  2. What are specific advocacy actions that you hope to invite CSEA/SCÉA to take in order to support and advocate for your provincial association?

Based on the information gathered from these two questions, we would like to share advocacy strategies across the country via the blog, so that others may benefit from projects already in progress, and begin to develop “support strategies”, so that we can work together to support provincial initiatives.  This information will form the basis of a national strategic action plan, to be built upon in person at our next conference.

We hope that you will participate in our survey, which we will post on the blog, and also email out to provincial presidents.  We also welcome ongoing input from the provinces, and are open to evolving our strategic plan based on your input!  Do you have ideas for the blog? Do you have a question you wish the associations to answer? email us @ pal.csea@gmail.com.  Be sure to check out the PAL blog: https://palcsea.wordpress.com You can make comments and share ideas here as well.  Together, we can have a stronger voice for Art Education across our provinces!

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