Citation: Wienk, J. (2020). In conversation with four handbooks: On the current state of arts education in the 21st century. International Journal of Education & the Arts, 21(31). Retrieved from http://doi.org/10.26209/ijea21n31
Entering the new millennium, the field of arts education asserted to have undergone some substantial changes. I explore these assertions by analysing the discourse in four recent international handbooks on arts education, focusing on the perspectives of the editors, specifically the lens they use to frame, organise, thematise and shape the field of arts education. Based on the key concepts, recurring themes and grand narratives that the editors’ lenses collect and show, I firstly describe the historical timeline formed by the four handbooks published from 2004 to 2017. Given the constraints set, my research does not include the 3-volume International Encyclopedia of Art and Design Education has been published in 2019. Secondly, I search for dimensions that are overlooked or underexposed, due to these lenses. To conclude I connect these findings to my experience as an art teacher leading to the observation that art in education bears a particular potential for education. To address this however, research and education that relates more closely to the nature of the arts is needed.