The Arts & SEL: A Synergistic Pairing

The Arts & SEL: A Synergistic Pairing

September 24-26, 2020

University of Delaware (Newark, DE)

Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library (Winterthur, DE)

Over the past decade, the topic of Social Emotional Learning (SEL) has taken hold as an umbrella term for constructs related to non-cognitive development, character education, behavioral management, and 21st century skills. Numerous studies conducted around the effects of SEL-based instruction on student achievement show that SEL competency raises academic performance and positively impacts students’ attitudes toward themselves, toward others, and toward school. However, despite many SEL programs drawing heavily on arts activities to impart social and emotional growth in students, little research and development has taken place within the arts education community examining the important relationship between Social Emotional Learning and arts disciplines.

The Arts & Social-Emotional Learning (SEL): A Synergistic Pairing, the 2020 national conference of the State Education Agency Directors of Arts Education (SEADAE), will explore relevant intersections between SEL competencies and learning in and through the arts, while offering a meaningful platform for the arts education community to be involved in the national SEL dialogue. This conference aims to bring together a diverse group of arts as well as non-arts professionals and practitioners – including those from the fields of neuroscience, policy administration, higher education, and behavioral development. It aims to support equitable access to SEL and arts learning as means to improve academic achievement; build sustainable support systems and networks that increase student, teacher, family, and community engagement; and strengthen understandings with the goal of influencing arts education at the nexus of policy, research, and practice.

Priority Tracks/areas of focus and discussion will include but are not limited to:


  • The role of trauma informed instruction and pedagogy within the arts and SEL
  • Arts-based somatic education and its interconnectedness with SEL
  • Insights into the neurobiological benefits of arts education
  • Data on the impact of SEL and arts-integrated learning on academic and behavioral development


  • Policy inclusion of social and emotional behavioral factors into metrics for student success
  • State-level arts and SEL initiatives
  • Policy considerations around data collection on SEL and arts-integrating learning


  • Strategies for influencing and implementing the arts within SEL
  • Strategies for engaging non-arts based SEL organizations and others to become better informed about the appropriate intersections between SEL and arts learning
  • Building capacity for SEL practices in the arts classroom
  • Utilizing data to promote SEL and arts-integrated learning

The Arts & SEL: A Synergistic Pairing represents the culmination of a year-long professional learning project for SEADAE. Taking place over 2.5 days at the University of Delaware and Winterthur Museum, Garden & Library, the conference promises to be an immersive, inquisitive, and enriching learning experience for all.

AGENDA: Coming Soon




Questions? Email