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Stem vs. Humanities: The Necessity of Aesthetic Education

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Stem vs. Humanities: The Necessity of Aesthetic Education Stem vs. Humanities: The Necessity of Aesthetic Education

The Necessity of Aesthetic Education is a manifesto. As funding cuts increasingly slash the support for the arts, there is a need to argue for why the arts and arts education is valuable, for their own sake, as well as for the positive contributions they can and do make to society. That which is experienced through art, through the many various and diverse art forms and media, is essentially valuable to the lives of human beings. In order to fully appreciate and gain the most out of the arts, which offer a variety of aesthetic experience, there are concepts, skills and techniques integral to such understanding.

Laura D’Olimpio argues that aesthetic education ought to be a compulsory part of education for all school-aged students, from pre-primary to high school, on the basis of its distinctive value. This is a timely argument given the crisis in the arts and humanities, with declining student numbers in subjects that do not have a direct vocational correlative, and increased focus on science, engineering, technology and mathematics (STEM) subjects.

Dr Laura D’Olimpio is Associate Professor of Philosophy of Education at the University of Birmingham, UK. Prior to taking up this position in 2019, Laura was Senior Lecturer in Philosophy at The University of Notre Dame Australia. Laura completed her PhD ‘The Moral Possibilities of Mass Art’ at The University of Western Australia. She is co-founder and co-editor of the open access Journal of Philosophy in Schools. She is also a regular contributor to The Conversation, Philosophy Now magazine, The Ethics Centre, and ABC Radio National’s Philosopher’s Zone and The Minefield. Laura’s first book, Media and Moral Education: a Philosophy of Critical Engagement (London, Routledge, 2018) won the 2018 PESA (Philosophy of Education Society of Australasia) Annual Book Award.

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