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Expressive Arts

Expressive Arts


The dynamic nature of the expressive arts can engage, motivate and encourage learners to develop their creative, artistic and performance skills to the full.

The Expressive Arts Area of Learning and Experience (Area) spans five disciplines: art, dance, drama, film and digital media and music. Although each discipline has its own discrete body of knowledge and body of skills, it is recognised that together they share the creative process.

What matters in this Area has been expressed in three statements, which support and complement one another and should not be viewed in isolation. Together they contribute to realising the four purposes.

Learning and experience in this Area encourages the development of knowledge, skills and values that can help learners grasp the opportunities and meet the challenges that arise in their lives.

Whether as creators or as audience, through engaging with the expressive arts, learners can gain an understanding and an appreciation of cultures and societies in Wales and in the world. Such engagement can equip learners with the skills to explore cultural differences through time and place.

Importantly, this Area wants to make the expressive arts accessible to all learners and, through this inclusive approach, expand the horizons of every learner. Experiencing the expressive arts can engage learners physically, socially and emotionally, nurturing their well-being, self-esteem and resilience. This can help them become healthy, confident individuals, ready to lead fulfilling lives as valued members of society.

Experiencing the expressive arts can also encourage learners to develop not only their ability to appreciate the creative work of other people, but also their own creative talents, artistic skills and performance skills. The aim is to provide learners with opportunities to explore, refine and communicate ideas while thinking creatively and engaging their imagination and senses.

Engagement with this Area requires personal application, perseverance and close attention to detail, dispositions that contribute to making learners ambitious, capable learners ready to learn throughout their lives.

Experiences in this Area can provide inspiration and motivation as it brings learners into contact with creative processes. This means providing learners with opportunities such as visits to theatres and galleries and bringing the expertise of external practitioners into the classroom.

Engagement with the expressive arts can enhance learners’ employability as they are encouraged to manage their time and resources to achieve meaningful work and meet deadlines. It can foster critical inquiry that can lead to change. Together, these skills can support learners to become enterprising, creative contributors, ready to play a full part in life and work.

In addition, the evaluation involved in the creative process enables learners to explore complex issues, to challenge perceptions and to identify solutions. This can lead learners to a better understanding of their own cultural identity and that of other people, places and times. From this experience they are supported to become ethical, informed citizens of Wales and the world.

Finally, through the enjoyment and personal satisfaction they gain from creative expression, learners can become more confident, which can contribute directly to enriching the quality of their lives.



What Matters Statements


Exploring the expressive arts is essential to developing artistic skills and knowledge and it enables learners to become curious and creative individuals


Exploring this Area, both through their own creative work and other people’s, engages learners with genrestechniques, tools, materials and practices and enables them to become curious and creative individuals.

By exploring forms and disciplines in the expressive arts, whether through experimentation, play or formal research and inquiry, learners can develop an understanding of how the expressive arts communicate through visual, physical, verbal, musical and technological means. This exploration can also progress their understanding of how the expressive arts shape ideas and feelings. It can encourage them to develop their imagination and draw upon their own experiences, skills and talents to become creative artists themselves.

The expressive arts are also a powerful medium through which learners can explore Wales and its unique traditions and diverse cultures. They can provide opportunities for learners to explore their own cultural heritage and that of other people, places and times, and through this discover how the expressive arts can be used to shape and express personal, social and cultural identities. Learners can also explore how the expressive arts can be used to question and challenge viewpoints and be a force for personal and societal change.



Responding and reflecting, both as artist and audience, is a fundamental part of learning in the expressive arts


Responding within the expressive arts engages the emotions and the intellect. Response may be a simple sensory reaction to artistic stimulus or a critical analysis of creative work. The ability to reflect is deepened as learners increase their knowledge and understanding of how and why creative work is developed and produced.

Adopting the skills and critical vocabulary encountered in this Area can equip learners to consider creative work in a range of media, formsgenres and styles.

Learning the important skills of refinement and analysis can contribute to their creative development.

Learners’ resilience can also be developed when they are encouraged to identify how they can improve their work and respond to feedback from others.

The act of responding encouraged by engagement in this Area challenges learners to reflect on the effectiveness of their own work and that of others, including the work of artists from Wales and beyond.




Creating combines skills and knowledge, drawing on the senses, inspiration and imagination


By engaging with this Area, learners will be given opportunities to be innovative and bold, to create individual work and to develop their own identity as artists in Wales. This learning and experience can foster resilience and flexibility to overcome challenges.

Creating in the expressive arts embraces a range of activities including planning, drafting, designing, making, choreographing, shaping, composing and editing. Creating requires learners to develop and demonstrate control of a range of skills and an application of knowledge.

During the creative process learners communicate through a variety of art forms or disciplines. Communication includes performing, presenting, sharing, exhibiting and producing with consideration of the audience.

In this Area, learners’ engagement with the creative process can enable them to recognise opportunities to transform their ideas safely and ethically into work which has cultural and commercial value, and to use their creative skills to realise ambitions