This article reports findings from an ethnographic study of the arts curriculum and pedagogy in a British primary school. The policy context for the study is the school's involvement in promoting creative partnerships between teachers and artists. The pedagogies of three different artist-led projects are analysed, using a Bernsteinian framework, and are characterised in relation to notions of 'competence' and 'performance' pedagogies. These characterisations are then used to consider the impact of the artists' pedagogies on teachers in the school, and the extent to which the different pedagogies promote inclusion. Broad conclusions are drawn about the relative difficulty of adopting competence pedagogies in the current educational culture of British schools; more specific conclusions are drawn about the importance of time, text, discourse and interpretation in arts pedagogies.