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The £2 million programme will strengthen the evidence on ‘what works’ in arts-based learning, and help schools and arts organisations to improve quality and effectiveness in an evidence-based way.

Working with the Education Endowment Foundation, Arts Council England, the Department for Education and Paul Hamlyn Foundation, we are delivering three distinct projects: 

Building the evidence for arts-based learning

We are evaluating five promising arts-based learning projects by measuring whether they improve the literacy and creativity skills of participating pupils. The Education Endowment Foundation is leading this work, building on 10 years of experience running more than 100 high quality evaluations in schools. Find out more about the trial.

Supporting schools and practitioners to use evidence

We have established an Evidence Champions Network, bringing together more than 100 educators and arts practitioners to learn about the role that evidence can play in improving the quality and effectiveness of arts-based learning. Contact your local Arts Council Bridge organisation if you would like to join the network.

The Evidence Champions’ Handbook is a practical guide to carrying out evaluations and sharing what you’ve learned, produced by the RSA to support the Network.

Learning from existing practice

We are visiting ‘arts-rich’ schools across the country to improve our understanding of what enables and motivates some schools to put the arts at the heart of learning.

Read our report on Arts-Rich Schools.


Together, this work will support schools and arts organisations to make informed decisions about the type of arts-based learning that is offered to pupils, driving up the quality of the provision and ensuring that pupils get the most from their learning.

Download the complete Learning About Culture Prospectus (pdf). 

What is Arts-Based Learning?

What is Arts-Based Learning?

Art-based learning involves learning through, and about the arts. For this project, we are looking at arts-based learning in schools.

Arts subjects in schools include; English, Drama, Art and Design, Design and Technology, Media, Music, Dance and Performing Arts. However, arts-based learning goes beyond learning about the arts, or learning particular arts skills: many arts-based learning interventions use elements of the arts to help children develop a wider range of skills and knowledge.

Project Partners

Learning about Culture is being delivered in collaboration with the Education Endowment Foundation, and is supported by Arts Council England, Paul Hamlyn Foundation, the Wolfson Foundation, Foyle Foundation, Bank of America and the network of Arts Council Bridge Organisations.

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