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KACES & The Song Room: Two organisations, from two different countries with one common goal

Over the last few years, The song Room has developed a significant partnership with the Korean Art & Culture Education Services (KACES).

Founded in 2005, KACES is a Government agency under the Ministry Culture, Sport and Tourism of the Republic of Korea. Like The Song Room, KACES’ major role is to develop and support arts education programs. Their core purpose is to increase accessibility of the arts for all Koreans, through their mid and long-term Teaching Artists Programs.

The Song Room first learned about KACES’ program at 2014’s International Teaching Artist Conference in Brisbane. KACES’ Dr Jun-Seok Roh told us that his government trained and employed more than 4700 Teaching Artists to help bring happiness and harmony to a society that was despairing with its high youth suicide rate. For over 10 years, KACES has strived to provide social engagement through arts and culture, delivering happiness and fulfilment.

KACES’ President Sung-Hey Joo spoke about their cause: “The society has turned to arts and culture education to mend and heal the emotional wounds created by life and to support them in times of need. […] KACES truly believes in the power of arts, which is the key to fostering empathy, communication, consolation, and hope to all people.”

To further their commitment to international best practice, KACES leads a number of international workshops every year to share overseas insights and expertise in arts and culture education with their Teaching Artists. Representatives from the US, UK, Germany, Finland, Australia, Japan and Norway have participated in these workshops.

In December 2016, Bitnalae Min and Jihoon Back from KACES’ Education Support visited Australia as ambassadors to promote collaborative learning for their Teaching Artist programs.  This included a visit to The Song Room to talk about our program and ARTS:LIVE, a visit to a program school as well as our Melbourne Town Hall Performance, Different People, Different Places.

KACES followed up that visit by generously inviting The Song Room’s Director of Programs, Deborah Nicolson, and Program Manager Lena Mitchell to visit Korea in January 2017 to deliver workshops with a focus on music-making but also including visual arts, singing, movement and creativity as a tool for learning. There were also lectures and discussions as well as an in-depth look at the resources on The Song Room’s online platform, ARTS:LIVE for an audience of around 50 Teaching Artists from KACES and their Arts Administrators.  The weeklong visit comprised workshops in both Seoul and Daegu.

Furthermore, to strengthen the working relationship and promote deeper understanding, KACES asked Deborah to write a short piece from The Song Room to celebrate International Arts Education Week that was then displayed at the arts & culture opening ceremony at Dongdaemun Design Plaza, Seoul in May.

Deborah said:  “It was a privilege for The Song Room to share our model with Korean Teaching Artists and Arts Administrators as there is much we have in common.  We look forward to strengthening this partnership and collaborating again in the near future.”

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