Building Public Will for Arts Education Eric Friedenwald-Fishman President, Metropolitan Group Access, Equity and Quality in Arts Learning Conference June 20, 2009
Manifesto: This Matters Not reaching as far beyond the choir as we must For too long first budget cut, last investment made Existing frames undersell the power of arts Education New paradigm for social change (collective action, dispersed innovation and shared responsibility) Information, Imagination and Ability to engage are critical tools Sparks creativity and innovation Breaks barriers and connects across cultures Strengthens human capital Harness arts to create a just, equitable, sustainable and meaningful society Must build public will to achieve new normative expectation
To Achieve Access, Equity and Equality: • Need engagement of other committed players • Need real buy-in of numerous stakeholders to drive scale implementation (administrators, teachers, arts education community, arts partners, etc.) • Need awareness and and engagement of larger community to ensure sustainability (parents, advocates, voters and policy makers)
What’s the problem? • Arts education is viewed by many Americans as a nicety, rather than a necessity • Arts education funding a roller coaster and often the first thing to go • Current frame(s)? • Transactional and not strongly tied to core values • Seen as secondary & defensive • Reflects lack of priority and buy-in by key stakeholders
What’s the solution? Build Public Will: • Reframe arts education as a priority need that makes individuals and communities stronger • Change fundamental positioning of the arts • Change public expectations • Increase buy-in from internal and external stakeholders • Create engagement • Motivate people to action • Establish new norm • Create relevancy and ownership for the new frame by integrating grassroots outreach with traditional media
What is Public Will? • Communication approach that builds public support for long-term social change by: • integrating grassroots outreach methods with traditional mass media tools • connecting an issue to the existing, closely held values of individuals and groups • Results in long-term attitudinal shifts • Manifested by individuals taking new or different action • Achieved when community members and thought leaders have galvanized around an issue to create a new set of normative expectations
Public Opinion vs. Public Will • Public opinion—influencing specific decisions and actions during a limited time frame • Public opinion—focus on mass media as delivery mechanism • Public opinion—narrows the discourse • Public will—long-term change built over time that focuses on grassroots engagement with mass media support
Principles of Public Will Building • Connecting through closely held values • Respecting cultural context • Including target audiences in development and testing • Integrating grassroots and traditional communication methods
Five Phases of Building Public Will: Organizers and Audiences • Framing the problem • Building awareness • Becoming knowledgeable/transmitting information • Creating a personal conviction • Evaluating while reinforcing To download MG’s entire Public Will Framework, visit www.metgroup.com.
Organizers • Conducting research about the problem • Determining connection to values and audiences for whom issue is relevant • Framing the message • Identifying potential change agents and pathways to change • Audiences • Moving from not aware of the problem to early awareness that defines the issue as one of relevance to them
Organizers • Preparing: segmenting, learning about and prioritizing audiences; crafting messages; identifying communication mediums • Attracting early adopters and key influencers • Building awareness through grassroots and traditional media • Audiences • Participate in testing • Gaining awareness and depth of information through trusted relationships, affiliations, media, etc.
Organizers • Transmitting information, with specific information about how to create desired changes • Audiences • Hearing about the issue through multiple channels and trusted relationships with identification of specific desired changes
Organizers • Providing opportunities for commitment and action • Audiences • Gaining ownership • Identifying specific actions to take • Committing themselves • Recruiting others
Organizers • Evaluating effectiveness of tools and messages • Adapting as necessary • Reinforcing audience choices and encouraging champions • Audiences • See messages that support their choices • See impact and value of action • Rededicate to continue taking action and to recruiting others
What are the strategies to reach this solution? • Audience understanding • Values identification • Message framing • Integrated outreach / engagement
Audience Understanding • Segmentation and prioritization • Influence mapping • Needs identification • Values identification
Identify the closely held values— examples… • Options and opportunity • Achievement • Innovation and adaptability • Sense of belonging and sense of community / identity (self-worth) • Creativity and beauty • Freedom (of expression/thought) • Safety and stability • Health (mind and spirit)
Reframing the message Definition: Framing is the use of images/words to intentionally associate an issue with certain deeply held values, thereby providing a context that predisposes audiences to accept a particular definition of the issue. To move framing from nicety to necessity arts education needs to: • Demonstrate relevancy to people’s lives • Identify benefits that reinforce values and needs
Reframing the message—current examples • Schools should nurture the whole child by integrating the arts into teaching (Ford) • Integrating the arts help students become well-rounded (Ford) • Learning and participation in music, dance, theater and the visual arts are vital to the development of our children and communities (AFTA) • Promote the essential role of the arts in the learning and development of every child and in the improvement of America’s schools (AEP) • The arts are an essential component of education, and all children, not only those with specific artistic talent, benefit from an education in the arts including opportunities to create, perform, and communicate through various artistic media (NEA)
Reframing the message—current examples • The arts are where learning starts, from a child’s first exploration of meaning on a page by finger painting to an adult's use of the arts to develop, understand and communicate new ideas. The fundamental way in which we experience our world and express our selves is through the arts, and arts education develops essential skills and abilities for successful 21st century citizens (ODOE) • We believe that art - and therefore art education - means three things everyone wants and needs Art means work. Art means language. Art means values. (NAEA)
Reframing the message—some concepts to consider • Arts education opens opportunity • Arts education: the spark of innovation • Creativity is the foundation of opportunity • Imagination creates solutions • Inspiring creativity and instilling adaptability is a sound investment • Arts education makes life better • Create Opportunity/Create Prosperity • Create links and connections in a multi-cultural world
Integrated outreach/engagement • Heal thyself—ensure that the choir learns and owns the new music. • Create a fertile environment for discourse (media and traditional outreach tools to “frame” the message and set the terms of the debate). • Convert interested investors into activist shareholders (start with thought leaders and key influencers—the power of trusted relationships). • Ensure consistent reinforcement—use of grassroots, media and other traditional tools to reinforce the conviction of others and the message frame.
This matters. • We know the educational and cultural benefits. • We have seen nearly two decades of definition being set by others. • We know that the trade-offs are false choices and that a “both/and” demand is the pathway to educational success • We must engage others and build the public will to demand a new baseline.
Breakout • What change do we seek – what action do we need? • Who has the power to create change? (pick one key stakeholder group) • What are their closely held values, drivers and motivators? • Ideas for powerful frames: What is the value we deliver? What are the values we advance? • Messaging: What? So what? Now what?
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