Arts Ed Collaborative believes in sharing what we learn with the field. Our new Activating Arts Learning resources unpacks what it truly takes to ensure youth benefit from powerful, personally relevant arts learning. Our earlier Translations series offers synopses of key arts ed research publications with practitioners in mind. For our shorter thought pieces, see our News Section.

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Activating Arts Learning:

A Theory of Change

Welcome to the Activating Arts Learning theory of change presented by Arts Ed Collaborative! A theory of change is a high-level overview that shows how a set of smaller steps can lead to a big impact on individuals and the community. AEC’s Activating Arts Learning framework examines how arts learning can transform young people’s lives and what supports need to be in place for arts learning to make a difference for all young people—regardless of appearance, ability, income, or where they live.

Even when designing for a poster-size format, we still ran into limits on how much information could fit comfortably in the printed version. That’s why we created this online space centered around the Activating Arts Learning theory of change. We hope it will serve as an evolving platform for sharing supplemental information, connecting with related resources, and amplifying additional voices and perspectives. Check back often – we will continue adding resources here to help you activate arts learning in your community!

Applying the Framework

Our theory of change shows how arts learning can transform young people’s lives, and what supports need to be in place to truly activate arts learning. Please use these resources to learn more about how to harness the framework, how we developed it, and what each piece of the framework contains.

How to Read Our Theory of Change
How to Use Our Theory of Change
How We Created Our Framework
Youth Outcomes: Explained
Elements of Instruction: Explained
Activating Arts Learning References
Activating Arts Learning in Action


Our Translations series distills important arts education research for teachers, administrators, and the community.

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