March 12, 2024

Connecting Within & Across – Anita Collins

I like and hate conference themes. I think they are great anchors for me to build their thoughts around, and they can also be so broad that I struggle to find a hook into an engaging and stimulating conversation.

The theme of the MENZA 2023 conference is “Connecting within and across” and initially, I was stumped. But then I thought about the process we are moving through in the Australian music education context, and I realised it was all about connecting and collaborating within ourselves but also working across various organisations, jurisdictions, and priorities.

Let me explain. For the last nine years I have been on a journey to change the narrative around music education in Australia. Just like in New Zealand, music education has been rolled into an Arts curriculum and this has significantly changed the amount of time and value placed on music learning. We also have our wonderful, standardised literacy and numeracy testing called NAPLAN which has put a laser focus on these two areas, to the detriment of every other area of learning.

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