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The benefits and future of visual arts education - Public lecture by Prof. dr. Lois Hetland

Monday, 9 December, 2013 - 13:00 to Monday, 9 December, 2013 - 18:30
Ravensteinstraat 23, 1000 Brussel
Vrije Universiteit Brussel (VUB-EDWE), Research Institute for Work and Society (HIVA-KULeuven), University of Ghent (UGent), DSh VUB, Vlaamse Overheid/OJO, Vitamine C, CANON Cultuurcel, ACCE, BOZAR
Guest lecture


I'm not a student I'm a student

Prof. dr. Lois Hetland

Lois Hetland (USA) is Professor and Chair of the Art Education Department at the Massachusetts College of Art and Design and Senior Research Affiliate at Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education.

Trained in music and visual arts, she taught elementary and middle school students for 17 years. She obtained her Ed.M and Ed.D in cognitive and developmental psychology at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Her research in cognitive and developmental psychology focuses on issues of learning, teaching, and disciplinary understanding, with an emphasis in the arts. Specific research topics are:

  • non-arts and transfer effects of arts education (the REAP project, Teaching for understanding project),
  • how do students learn in the arts (Studio Thinking),
  • the planning, teaching and assessment of visual arts learning by teachers (generalists and arts teachers) (Studio Thinking),
  • implicit and explicit criteria for quality (The quality of Qualities).

Currently, she co-leads the Studio Thinking Network, a monthly online conversation among educators who use the Studio Thinking Framework, which is described in her co-authored book, Studio Thinking 2: The Real Benefits of Visual Arts Education (2013, Teachers’ College, 2nd edition), based on research supported by the Getty and Ahmanson Foundations (2001-2004) and is Co-Principal Investigator of a follow-up study with college students to the study of high school students that is just concluded (2008-2013), funded by the National Science Foundation. Both studies examine potential transfer from visual arts learning to geometric spatial reasoning.

Previous work includes conducting an assessment initiative at MassArt (2009-2013); serving as Consulting Evaluator for Art21 Educators (2010-20012); Principal Investigator for research and professional development in Alameda County, CA through Project Zero and funded by the US Department of Education (2003-2010); Co-Principal Investigator on a study funded by Wallace through Project Zero, Qualities of Quality: Understanding Excellence in Arts Education (2005-2008); and Project Manager for a study leading to a set of ten meta-analytic reviews analyzing the effects of arts learning on non-arts outcomes, through Project Zero and funded by the Bryant Family Foundation (1997-2000).


  • 13.00: Registration
  • 13.15: Introduction and welcome
  • 13.30: Lecture by Prof. dr. Lois Hetland (in English): She will discuss several issues concerning arts, culture and education: the core benefits of visual arts education; the centrality of making for the goal of educating students in the arts; conditions for quality arts education; the tension between visual arts and cultural education; key challenges that arts education must address and how Studio Thinking might help.
  • 16.00: Coffee break
  • 16.30: Workshop (in Dutch): The academic lecture will be followed by a workshop providing an opportunity to discuss the issues brought up during the lecture from a practice-based perspective. The workshop will be hosted by Vitamine C.
  • 18.00: Reception

Practical information


BOZAR (Centre for Fine Arts), Rue Ravenstein 23, 1000 Brussels Discover how to reach BOZAR.

Target audience

Scholars, PhD students, students, alumni, teachers and educators, educational practitioners in the field of education and culture.

Admission fee

€15 except students of the organizing universities (free entrance on presentation of your student ID card, but registration required).




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I'm not a student I'm a student