The Premiere Panel: Artists’ Journey – Role of Artist in Our Society

#InternationalArtGallery #Lisbon #JubileeArts #STEAM #Arteducation #ZainubVerjee #Arts

Art Education is critical to our education system

A year ago, senior curators, artists, exhibition makers and scholars converged at the International Art Gallery (IAG) in Lisbon as part of the Diamond Jubilee Celebrations. They were a key part of the IAG programming, under its knowledge production workstream, there were international panels, keynote, roundtable, workshops, and masterclasses. It highlighted how Art Education is a very critical component of our education system.


The importance of role of Arts in society was well articulated by Dr. Sara Diamond, President and Vice-Chancellor of OCAD University, Toronto. In her brilliant premier keynote mapped out the potentialities and actualities of such a role and how it brings about transformation in society.

The movement to add the “A” (for Arts) to correct the lopsidedness of STEM (Science, technology, engineering, math) approach to education had begun since 2015. Dr. Diamond is among the strong voices supporting this movement along with John Maeda who is the spokesperson of the movement in the US.

This is crucial as the students of today who begin their elementary school will face likely scenario of working in jobs that have not been invented! How does one prepare this generation with new skill sets across disciplines to be successful in the new work force and economy of the 21st Century.

“Artists have always been out-of-the-box inventors of technologies and new social systems. Take, for example, TransPod and its carbon-neutral tube system for ultra-high-speed transportation that reduces friction found on trains, automobiles and jets. Ryan Janzen is the inventor and co-founder of TransPod. He was educated at the University of Toronto as a composer of orchestral music,” wrote Dr. Diamond in an Op-Ed.

Art is directly linked to our economy. As per the Provincial and Territorial Culture Indicators, 2017, Statistics Canada, 2019,” Arts and culture in Ontario directly contribute $25.0 billion annually to the provincial economy, representing 3.3% of Ontario’s GDP.”

It does not come as a surprise that among the 83 new appointments to the Order of Canada, Dr. Sara Diamond was recognized for her outstanding contribution to Art Education. It was a distinct honor for our Jamati artists to be exposed to such high calibre and inspiring slate of speakers at the IAG.


As a legacy of International Art Gallery, let us add A to STEM, Make it STEAM!

“The Jamati artists were exposed to an international slate of Curators, Scholars, Artists and many of them have communicated to me as to how critical and game-changing this experience has been for them,” says Zainub Verjee.
She adds, “As a legacy of International Art Gallery, let us add A to STEM, Make it STEAM!”

Author: ismailimail

Independent, civil society media featuring Ismaili Muslim community, inter and intra faith endeavors, achievements and humanitarian works.

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