The Possibilities of Educational Programs in Museum Practice to Realize Social Inclusion: The Forest of Expression of Arts Maebashi

Tomo Imai

Arts Maebashi

The inclusive program through individual expression has become progressively important in Japan toward the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympics. Since the exhibition Forest of Expression in 2016, Arts Maebashi has been conducting five long-term collaborative projects with various facilities in the fields of welfare, medical care, and education: special nursing home for the elderly, support facility for single mothers, shelter for refugees with mental illness, third space for youth of hikikomori, and a public housing apartment. The people we met through the projects mostly seemed to have difficulties in becoming involved in social activities due to their individual problems such as illnesses, disabilities, family affairs, and social conditions. Concerning involvement with society, efforts to express are especially important in order to communicate with others. The project with artists aims to rebuild the wholeness of life that tends to be divided into pieces within our contemporary society. Through these concrete museum practices directly associated with human lives, I would like to consider the role of educational programs in museums today. Museums should show expressions directly associated with our society. It is time to inquire how these expressions can stimulate the mechanism of social change.


Tomo Imai is curator at Arts Maebashi. Her latest curated exhibition is Ecology of Expression: Remaking Our Relations with the World (2019). She won the 33rd Society for the Study of Japonisme Award for Un goût d’Extrême-Orient: La Collection Charles Cartier-Bresson at Musée des Beaux-Arts de Nancy (2011, France).


The Asian Studies Association of Australia (ASAA) is the peak body of university experts and educators on Asia in Australia. Established in 1976, we promote and support the study of Asia in Australian universities and knowledge of Asia among the broader community. Our membership is drawn mainly from academics and students, but also includes industry and government Asia experts. We take a strong interest in promoting knowledge about Asia in schools and in contributing to state and Commonwealth government policies related to Asia. We provide informed comment on Asia to a broad public through our bulletin, Asian Currents, and specialist research articles in our journal, Asian Studies Review. Four book series published under our auspices cover Southeast Asia, South Asia, East Asia and Women in Asia.

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