Dr. Angela Watson of the UofA NEA Research Lab has just released a new working paper on student and adult stakeholder perceptions on the value of arts field trips, particularly the importance of exposure to arts and culture experiences. The paper, Inside the Black Box: Stakeholder Perceptions on the Value of Arts Field Trips, is a descriptive, qualitative study documenting stakeholders’ experiences and perceptions of attending multiple arts field trips, where urban elementary students in fourth and fifth grades were randomly assigned to receive the experiences. The treatment students attended field trips to a live theater performance, an art museum, and a symphony concert all in a single year on the Woodruff Arts Center campus in Atlanta, Georgia. Findings from this study include:

  • Adult and student stakeholders both report the importance of exposure through these art and culture field trips.
  • Classroom teachers support and advocate for experiential field trips for their students, and believe field trips are an important and necessary part of their jobs to educate students.
  • Students make meaning from these experiences and can articulate that meaning in intricate detail, months after the field trips occur.
  • Students recall field trips from years past, connecting new experiences to prior learning.
  • There is evidence of student-to-student connection via common experience and shared meaning and learning.
  • Students advocate for the arts experiences for themselves and their peers, and articulate the importance of the experiences in detail.

Click here to download the working paper from SSRN: Watson, Angela (2019) Inside the Black Box: Stakeholder Perceptions on the Value of Arts Field Trips. EDRE Working Paper No. 2019-14.


 Dr. Angela Watson just received her Ph.D. in Education Policy from the Department of Education Reform at the University of Arkansas. She is transitioning to a new Senior Research Fellow position at John Hopkins.