Arts, Heritage & Cultural Organisations

Making the most of arts, heritage and cultural organisations for pupil learning

On the 21st November we met in Newport at the Riverfront for a day of talks and workshops showing the importance that learners experience high quality culture and the importance our arts, heritage and cultural organisations play in providing these experiences.

Keynote speaker Ingrid Murphy is a ceramicist, in 2011 she started bringing technology into her work which led to her using “traditional as well as digital processes to make interactive artifacts”. She led the development of the innovative transdisciplinary Maker course at Cardiff MET heads the Fab-Cre8 research group.

Ingrid’s keynote speech was mind blowing in it’s insightfulness and depth of research. Some of the highlights of the the talk were a discussion about the four purposes of the new Curriculum for Wales and her aims with the Maker BA course. How to best equip young people to enter the creative economy which now employs 3.2 million people in the UK and the skills they need in the world today. The economy of today requires everyone to have a range of skills rather than a single specialism which is why her course focuses on transdisciplinarity, which she defines as “that which is at once between the disciplines across the different disciplines, and beyond all discipline.”

Head4Arts brought us their Museum in a Box, a handling collection “that explores the theme of silence in connection to the First World War.” Handling collections offer a excellent opportunity to bring the museum experience into schools, and all the objects can be handled by learners to create an authentic experience with the object, much more personal that looking at thing through glass. This collection appears in a large chest, that contains a series of beautiful small wooden boxes with items that can be slowly unwrapped.

Ballet Cymru gave a presentation with the David Lewis, headteacher of Aberbargoed Primary School about exploring the their real experience of how a partnership between a school and cultural organisation can work. For a number of years Ballet Cymru have been working with Aberbargoed Primary, not only conducting workshops in the school, but also bringing the children to their dress rehearsals.

Arts Champion Louise Tolcher-Goldwyn, education officer at Llantarnam Grange led a discussion and making session using a combination of traditional and contemporary craft methods to make greetings cards. These type of activities can be used to inspire the creation of multiples that schools can sell, developing into a social enterprise that might help schools generate income for their expressive art activities. The discussion centred around the variety of contexts in which schools can work with applied arts organisations, with Louise sharing her experiences.

Shaun Featherstone and Jack Hill of the Lead Creative Schools scheme make a case for creative learning in schools shared their experience of how schools are using creative learning to generate authentic experiences in the Expressive Arts to inspire their learners. The discussions were deep and insightful and the best of which were written on balloons.

The day ended with a workshop led by Ingrid looked at the sorts of ideas that can be generated by sharing our collective knowledge and skills, and the magic can happed by combining a school with an artist and cultural organisation.

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