The general purpose of this research line on cultural education is to estimate the relationship between attending arts and cultural education and the wider cultural participation of young people. In this study we want to capture the diversity in cultural educational programs in and outside of school. We will include both formal and informal forms of cultural education, and both long term courses as well as short term forms of art education.

To question enough young people, we will make use of a school survey. Several sociological studies show the importance of the school context for outcome variables such as academic achievement, well-being at school and social participation of pupils both in and outside school and this regardless of (or in interaction with) the individual characteristics of students and their parents (references). In addition, school characteristics also affect participation in activities outside the school context. More specifically, we can describe the objectives of this study in six research packages:


1. What is the state of cultural education in Flanders?

A first specific goal concerns the detailed mapping of different forms of art and cultural education in Flanders. In what proportion of the Flemish schools are arts education programs offered to students? What forms of art education are common, and to what extent are they obliged or facultative in nature? Are there differences in the supply of art education that correlate with school characteristics such as the size of the school, the educational network, the curricular structure, the SES and ethnic composition of the school, etc.


2. Is there a link between the schools’ cultural climate, cultural education programs and pupils’ cultural practices?

Little educational research focuses on the schools’ cultural climate. One can expect that on the school-level, the prevalent perceptions of cultural education may have a clear influence on the offer, the nature and possibly also on the effects of art education programs (both in and outside of school). A primary goal within this research package is to get a picture of the cultural perceptions prevalent in Flemish high schools, by a detailed questioning of teachers’, school boards’ and pupils’ cultural perceptions and practices. In what proportion of the Flemish schools prevail what kinds of cultural climate? We thereby track how schools’ cultural climates correlate with cultural education programs: both concerning the supply of cultural education, pupils’ participation in it and the efficiency of the effect of cultural education on pupils’ cultural participation.  


3. What type of cultural capital do teachers possess?

Since teachers play an important role, both in the formation and evaluation of students, it is important to gain insight into the ways in which the cultural behavior of the teachers may influence or interact with pupils’. In doing so, it is important to give attention to a broad array of cultural practices. Teachers’ cultural practices are indeed a part of a school’s cultural climate. We will assess if and to what extent today’s teachers are characterized by a univorous highbrow participation pattern, as reproduction theory would suggest, or rather show a omnivorous pattern. We will also examine whether teachers characterized by cultural openness and having a broader cultural repertoire create a different climate for their pupils, and how the cultural practices of the teachers correlate with pupils cultural practices.


4. How does cultural education during high school correlate with pupils’ broader cultural participation? What role do school characteristics play in this?

In a fourth research package we focus on the link between cultural education at school and forms of cultural education and participation outside the school. The school survey allows here to estimate the impact of characteristics of the school context on the wider cultural participation of young people, controlling for individual characteristics of the pupils (and their parents).


5. What is the influence of cultural education on school related variables and educational careers? What role do school characteristics play in this?

An important goal of this research package is to track if, to what extent and how cultural education programs might have an influence on school related variables such as school attachment, study aspirations, well-being, academic self-esteem, etc. The use of a school survey allows to measure the possible effects of in and out of school art education controlled for school characteristics and parental characteristics, such as the amount of cultural and economic capital present in the parental milieu of these pupils.


6. Which factors influence facultative participation in cultural educational programs in or outside of school? What role do school characteristics play in this?

 A specific goal of this research package is to track what factors influence participation in facultative cultural educational programs In our research project, we aspire to include school characteristics as well, to track to what extent a school’s cultural climate, its SES composition, or even the school’s size, regardless of the offer, has an influence on pupils’ participation in cultural education programs. Finally, regarding the influencing mechanisms of participation in cultural education programs, it is important to track if and to what extent possible interactions occur between pupils’ background characteristics and school characteristics.