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Di Lorenzo Tillborg Adriana

Adriana Di Lorenzo Tillborg


Di Lorenzo Tillborg Adriana

Sweden's Art and Music Schools and Compulsory Schools: The Collaboration Discourse


  • Adriana Di Lorenzo Tillborg
  • Patrick Schmidt

Summary, in English

Sweden’s Art and Music Schools offer courses and activities after the school day. Besides that, Art and Music Schools also work in collaboration with compulsory schools, including training schools and special schools. The investigation report on Art and Music Schools, part of the national policy process, focuses on the ‘after school’ parts of Art and Music Schools, leaving the other parts untouched, as the investigation considers that the voluntary after school activities/programs constitute the core of Art and Music Schools. The present paper focuses on how Art and Music Schools work in collaboration with compulsory schools, as a way to include all children, and departs from the troubling information provided by extant research that confirms that the dominant Art and Music School discourse is sharply separated from a compulsory school discourse.
Discourse analysis, discursive psychology and educational policy theory will constitute the theoretical framework. Specifically, the paper will make use of the vast literature on policy conflict and deliberation in order to make sense of the tensions and produc- tive actions currently emerging as educational and arts policy face greater demands to address inclusion in its many forms.
This paper presentation investigates the discourses that emerge when Art and Music School leaders talk about inclusion in relation to national policy process. The data informing the present paper consist of three focus groups with a total of sixteen Art and Music School leaders from northern, central and southern Sweden. Anal- ysis is guided and informed by the following research question: how do Art and Music School leaders talk about inclusion and pol- icy when describing their own schools?
The results challenge the antagonism between the Art and Music School discourse and the compulsory school discourses, exposing (i) a collaboration discourse connected to inclusion; and (ii) ten- sions between policy and inclusion discourses. While the findings emerge out of the Swedish context, they can be seen to be rep- resentative to the international music community, as specialized Art and Music Schools and music curricula within-outside schools are realities present in music education field writ large. Finally, as this presentation draws from a collaboration between two music education researchers—one in Northern Europe and one in North America—a comparative exploration of policy and inclusion in both contexts will also be presented. The paper presentation will provide suggestions for similar analysis internationally and offer specific policy action implications.


  • Teachers (Malmö Academy of Music)

Publishing year






Document type

Conference paper: abstract


  • music education
  • Educational policy
  • policy process
  • music schools
  • Compulsory school
  • art schools
  • Art and Music Schools