Common European Framework of Reference for Visual Literacy (CEFR_VL)


The European Network for Visual Literacy (ENViL) presented its research results, the prototype of a Common European Framework of Reference for Visual Literacy (CEFR_VL), at the InSEA Conference in Vienna in September 2016. This document is an instrument to describe and reflect art education practice in specific countries or situations. It was elaborated in a joint development process by more than 60 teachers, experts responsible for curricula, teacher trainers and researchers from 18 European countries. As a reference document, funded by the European Union, it is based on surveys, empirical research, conceptual discussions within the network and at InSEA conferences in Budapest, Canterbury or Melbourne. “It is the first time in InSEA’s history that such a widespread international approach exists”, stressed Carl-Peter Buschkühle, chairman of InSEA’s European board, in Vienna.

The Common European Framework of Reference for Visual Literacy (CEFR_VL) delivers a structural competence model of what can be learnt in art education, as well as a model to define levels of competences with respective scales, and manifold examples how the model can be used in different contexts (e.g. to develop assignments, lesson plans, curricula, teaching materials or tools for evaluation). A trilingual glossary (English, French and German) is included.

Since its publication in September 2016 ENViL, has started applying the CEFR_VL to different cases, covering a broad range of examples, such as implementing it into a museum for visual art in Belgium, evaluating an art-curriculum in Germany, developing new models of teacher training in Cyprus, creating a new culture of assignments in Hungary and Switzerland, writing an art textbook in Germany, validating the levels in The Netherlands, Hungary and Austria.

ENViL is open for new members and invites everybody to subscribe to its newsletter: ernst.wagner(at)

Reference: Diederik Schönau, Ernst Wagner (eds.): Common European Framework of Reference for Visual Literacy – Prototype, Münster – New York (Waxmann) 2016


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