The Arts Education Archive Malaysia (AEAM)  is an online platform that extracts and interprets  case examples  of non-formal Arts Education in Malaysia using archival materials. Non-formal arts education as defined in this archive, refers to activities which take place outside of mainstream/formal education curriculum and carry no formal accreditation.

Non-formal arts education is a modern concept which took root in Malaysia the 1960s. It involves arts practitioners offering organised arts education programmes for young people outside of the formal education system, either through institutional or not-for-profit organisations. Practitioners use modern modes of instruction as opposed to the tradition of master-student transmission.

It often takes the form of a planned programme or ad-hoc projects involving personal, aesthetic and social education designed to provide access to and opportunity for children to acquire creative and critical skills, competencies, and appreciation in and through the arts. Although it is an organised process, non-formal arts education does not typically lead to certification.  Individuals participate on a voluntary basis and the individual takes an active role in the learning and art-making process.

A scene from Suara Rimba (1994). Teater Muda, Five Arts Centre, Kuala Lumpur.


The AEAM is an online platform which provides a space for the interpretation of various non-formal Arts Education Collections from across the country. In its current form, the AEAM website features interpretations of selected arts education Programmes and Projects from one archival collection, known as the FAC-Arts-ED Collection; whose physical records are stored in an archival repository in Penang.

AEAM is an example of an approach to online archival interpretation of arts-education which showcases how archive collections can be read and interpreted. It should be noted that the present contents of the AEAM website are not representative of the comprehensive state of non-formal arts education in Malaysia. However, it is hoped that the online archive will grow with further submissions from other arts practitioners/organisations/institutions.

The current AEAM online example, constitutes the first such archival interpretation of an arts-education record collection. The collection is described below.


The AEAM website is organised in a manner that allows users to examine the bigger picture as well as the detailed aspects of non-formal arts education in Malaysia.

Case-examples in this website of Selected Programmes (big picture) and Projects (ground examples) are presented through a series of interpretive articles. The interpretative articles attempt to trace the impetus or beginnings of programmes, lists the people involved and describes the art-making processes and creative works produced.

Each of the interpretive articles is created by extracting and piecing together information from the original record collection as well as from memory recollections of past practitioners and participants. Archival sources used in creating the respective interpretative articles can be viewed in the section entitled Record Inventories.  The record inventory lists the various types of archival materials available in print, written, visual and audio form.

To provide a broader view of the influential factors impacting the development of non-formal  arts education, the case examples have been placed within a meta-timeline which seeks to locate each Programme and Project within the larger socio-cultural and political context of Malaysia at the time.

Access to written and multimedia resources which are related in general to the FAC-Arts-ED practices as well as other non-formal arts education practices in Malaysia is provided in the AEAM Resources page.



With the 21st century bringing an advent of fresh and renewed interest in the critical and creative pedagogy, educators and practitioners are becoming increasingly active in examining alternative approaches to education which facilitate multiple ways of learning, as well as inter-disciplinary and inter-cultural approaches. New educational approaches are becoming increasingly important to facilitate skills that enable participants to not only deal with differences, but to understand how to work with them as a resource.

AEAM hopes to encourage other arts practitioners/organisations/institutions to engage with the platform to showcase readings of their archival collection. It also targets educators, researchers, and practitioners interested in the theory and practice of the arts and/or arts education; and will hopefully serve as a database for non-formal arts education as well as inspire future research and practice.

Practitioners involved in Malaysian non-formal arts education may contribute to the Resources Page by using the AEAM Contribution Guidelines.

Please click here for detailed AEAM Citation Guidelines.