What is cultural capital? In educational terms, it refers to the bank of cultural experiences students can gain from different cultural opportunities that go on to give them social mobility. E.g. Gallery visits, historic visits, music lessons, IT skills, dance lesson etc) Families have historically passed down these advantages to their children by providing them with these opportunities. Evidence shows that children with cultural capital do better in school and go on to do better in society, their career and the world of work. Schools can have a huge impact on equipping students with cultural capital.
I’ve created this video in response to a group of art teachers who created a ‘Cultural Capital Think Tank’, which I read about on the NSEAD (National Society for Education in Art & Design) Facebook page.
The examples in the video above are traditional ways in which cultural capital has been passed onto school aged children. I’m certain there are many, many more ways in which we can do this, and I’d love you to share your ideas in the comments below.
When I think about Cultural Capital and the impact it has on later life, I try to imagine a young person, who wants to make progress in their career, going to a network meeting without any Cultural Captial. It would be difficult to join in with any conversation and to build a social network. It’s easy to see its impact on social mobility.
Art educators are in a strong position to fill up students (metaphorical) schools bags with cultural capital both in school and through gallery visits. The video below describes three and half ways to engage your students with gallery education.
Cultural Captial is a term educators around the world should be aware of. Here in the UK there has been a new emphasis on ‘Cultural Capital’ in education since OFSTED (The Office for Standards in Education) included this term in their new framework in 2019. It is good for the arts in schools as school leaders should be putting a greater emphasis on cultural capital. A great curriculum builds cultural capital.
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