Doors to Diplomacy: Arts & Culture Category 8:
Arts and Culture


A. Task:
Produce a website that teaches how countries and regions can build better relationships through the sharing and promoting of international arts and culture.
Read rules and instructions.

B. Learning Objectives:

  1. Students will demonstrate how art and culture play an important part in creating community and in fostering an understanding between different countries.
  2. Students will take an active role in documenting and preserving their country's culture.
  3. Students will better understand their country's history by tracing a timeline of it's cultural heritage.

C. Discussion Questions:

These discussion questions are provided to introduce the topic of how countries and regions can build better relationships through the sharing and promoting of international arts and culture.

  • What do you consider to be unique or traditional forms of art, music, and dance existing today in your community?
  • From which countries or regions did these art forms and culture originate?
  • What are some interesting forms of art, music, and dance from countries around the world?
  • What are some unique holidays and celebrations in your community and from other places around the world?
  • How are these celebrations and arts similar and how are they different?
  • What do you think can be discovered about a particular culture from their traditional artwork, music and dance?
  • How does sharing local culture and art contribute to a larger community experience: festivals, history, holidays, religion, family, education, story-telling, and politics?
  • How have global communication methods such as the Internet and satellite television influenced our understanding of the visual arts and celebrations of other cultures?
  • What are local  communities and other peoples of the world doing to preserve their unique cultural heritage?
  • What local art or culture has garnered attention beyond your community?
  • How is your community actively sharing their own arts and culture?
  • How important do you think celebrating arts and culture are to cultural identity?

D. Suggested Starter Activities:

The traditional art, music, ceremonies, and celebrations which have evolved over many centuries establish a unique cultural identity for a group of people or a nation.  Much can be learned about the history, religion, government, social structure and values of the peoples of the world through a study of their cultural characteristics.

  1. List some of the cultures of the world and the characteristics that make them unique.
  2. Visit the library, local museums or do an Internet search to find out more about the art, music, dance, architecture, celebrations or ceremonies of some of the cultures of the world.
  3. Compare and contrast cultures by creating a chart listing their differences and similarities.
  4. List ways that cultures may have influenced each other over the centuries through trade and other communication.
  5. Create a timeline placing the development of each culture in chronological order.
  6. Collect some examples of music from around the world.  Have students try to list the different instruments as they listen to selection.
  7. Attend local cultural performances. Listen and watch for qualities which make that cultural event special.
  8. Look at examples of traditional artwork and architecture from the cultures of the world.  Ask students to try to identify how the works were created. 
  9. Through discussion, guide students to discover about the use of natural resources in traditional artwork and architecture.
  10. Through discussion, guide students to discover what can be learned about government, religion, values and daily life of a culture through the study of their art.
  11. Look at examples of modern artwork and architecture from the cultures of the world.  Ask students to identify traditional elements in each example.
  12. Make a list of unique cultural celebrations and ceremonies and conduct an internet search to find out about their origins and costumes.
  13. Name some unique traditional forms of dance from various cultures and use resource people, the library, or internet resources to find examples to show students.  Have students try to learn some of the dance steps.  Through discussion, guide them to discover what can be learned about a culture through their dance, music and costumes.
  14. Compare the different types of music in your community and determine if there are any recurrent themes in the music you're identifying (history, myths, culture, social or political struggle).
  15. Make a list of some of the more unique instruments and have students research the history of the instrument.
  16. Ask students to identify examples of how musical artists of today incorporate characteristics and instruments from the traditional music of other cultures.
  17. Look for similarities and differences between the music of your community and popular music played at a national level. Decide which music speaks more closely to your everyday experiences, and why.
  18. Interview local artists and musicians. Learn how long they've been involved in music, dance or art and what were the factors which lead them in that direction. This would also be a good opportunity to identify the influences of each individual artist. Who were their teachers? Whose styles helped shape their own?
  19. Musical styles are rarely created in a vacuum. Most music is a combination of a number of different sources. Trace the history and create a timeline of local musical traditions to identify the diverse influences that have helped shape the music that is performed in your community today.
  20. Create a catalog of local arts and culture which includes recordings, photographs, reviews and interviews.
  21. Review web projects created by past Doors to Diplomacy participants.

E. Content Standards:

As outlined in the National Standards for Arts Education:

  • Students should be able to communicate at a basic level in the four arts disciplines—dance, music, theatre, and the visual arts. This includes knowledge and skills in the use of the basic vocabularies, materials, tools, techniques, and intellectual methods of each arts discipline.
  • Students should be able to communicate proficiently in at least one art form, including the ability to define and solve artistic problems with insight, reason, and technical proficiency.
  • Students should be able to develop and present basic analyses of works of art from structural, historical, and cultural perspectives, and from combinations of those perspectives. This includes the ability to understand and evaluate work in the various arts disciplines.
  • Students should have an informed acquaintance with exemplary works of art from a variety of cultures and historical periods, and a basic understanding of historical development in the arts disciplines, across the arts as a whole, and within cultures.
  • Students should be able to relate various types of arts knowledge and skills within and across the arts disciplines. This includes mixing and matching competencies and understandings in art-making, history and culture, and analysis in any arts-related project.
  • National Standards for Arts Education: Learn more

F. Related Resources