So creativity…for whom and for what?

For schools, it was stressed in conference organised by
key local arts founder.






Left to right: Arts Minister Estelle Morris, Hammersmith & Fulham Council's director of education Sandy Adamson, the council's deputy for education Cllr David Williams, and Nick Stuart, chairman of John Lyon's Charity

Arts Minister Estelle Morris joined more than 80 creative movers and shakers, including headteachers, arts organisations, funders and the council, who came together at the Lyric Hammersmith for the conference So creativity…for whom and for what?

The conference on Tuesday (27 April) was hosted by John Lyon's Charity. Nick Stuart, chairman of John Lyon's Charity, said: "When professional actors, musicians and artists who are passionate about what they do either visit schools or meet groups of pupils and teachers it is nearly always a success. Schools and teachers are inspired and helped to think more creatively and imaginatively and artists get a kick out of communicating with the young.

 

But what about the children themselves? To shape future policy John Lyon's Charity would like to know more about the real impact of funding the arts in schools. Hence the conference.

The strong support network and leadership given by Hammersmith & Fulham Council is a key pre-condition for the delivery of the arts in schools and a model for other boroughs."

Since 1992, John Lyon's Charity has distributed nearly £4 million for arts projects to benefit schools and young people in nine London boroughs, including Hammersmith & Fulham. Programmes funded by John Lyon's Charity in this borough include:

- £96,000 for three-year Dance Challenge programme in schools with professional dancers, which is co-ordinated by the council's arts team. Comprises workshops and performances in a variety of dance styles and supports the development of dance in the school curriculum.
- £100,000 for sculpture programme in schools, involving sculptors in residence, which is due to start later this year.
- £100,000 capital funding for the Lyric Hammersmith's new education and training room, part of the recently-completed £2.6 million extension to the theatre.

Arts Minister Estelle Morris welcomed moves to unlock the creative potential in schools. Speaking at the conference, Ms Morris told delegates that she hoped others would follow their lead in making creativity in education a high priority. She said there was plenty of high quality arts work going on in schools but this wasn't always fully recognised or exploited.

The main subject under discussion at So creativity…for whom and for what? was how schools and the council can work more effectively with arts organisations, venues and funders to create as many exciting opportunities as possible for schools. The conference comes as the borough is poised to form a Creative Partnership with Brent and Ealing - giving a major boost to the arts in schools across the three boroughs.

Organisations represented at So creativity…for whom and for what? included theatre company Dramarama, which has worked with virtually every school in the borough and is currently planning a schools' celebration of Shakespeare, called Shakespeare Live, at the Lyric Hammersmith in September.

Also represented was artists' collective ACAVA (the Association for Cultural Advancement through Visual Art), whose members will be going into schools as part of the sculptors in residence programme.

Cllr David Williams, deputy for education, said: "This groundbreaking conference brought together some of the key players in our borough's vibrant arts scene, headteachers and leading education professionals from the council. Children and young people benefit enormously from what professional artists have to offer and are inspired by being given the chance to perform at high profile venues. This event gave everyone a chance to consider where we are now and how we can best develop the huge talent in our schools."

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