Engaging children in the arts is fundamental not only to children, but to

society as a whole Comment by VICTORIA POMERYOBE, Director, Turner Contemporary

At Turner Contemporary, we believe in the power of creativity to transform people and places, doing things differently to achieve our vision, “Art Made Essential”. Since opening in 2011, Turner Contemporary

has become one of the most successful galleries in the UK. We’ve achieved more than 3.4 million visits and the gallery has been a catalyst for the regeneration of Margate. Central to this success is our commitment to challenging

traditional gallery practice to make ourselves more accessible. Rather than telling people what to think about art, the gallery has developed an enquiry-based approach where adults, children and young people can lead their own learning. We consult with a practical philosopher and our learning team are all qualified in Philosophy for Children. Inspired by the belief that we are all experts in something, we bring

people together to learn from each other, and through artists’ work and ideas. Our approach acknowledges that children see and encounter the world in ways that are mostly beyond the reach of adults, offering

valuable perspectives. These perspectives deserve to be seen and heard. Building on its significant expertise in developing children’s leadership

through the arts, Turner Contemporary is now delivering Pioneering Places East Kent: Ramsgate, part of the Great Place Scheme, which is funded by Arts Council England and the National Lottery Heritage Fund and supported by Historic England. 60 children, known as Young Arts and Heritage Leaders, from two

primary schools in Ramsgate, have recruited artists and heritage researchers to work with them. They have collaborated with the Turner Prize winning collective Assemble to create a toolkit which aims to inform planners, decision makers and those in the education and creative sectors about how children can positively contribute to place making. They created a brief to invite artists to produce a new work for Ramsgate Harbour, and shortlisted three artists to interview from the proposals received. Following this, they appointed artist Conrad Shawcross. They have now started working with him, to develop a major artwork which will be installed by July 2020. This is an ambitious commission, with children at the heart of the

process using a very different model compared to a conventional schools’ project. Children and young people are central to the long term regeneration of Ramsgate. Their attitudes and engagement with heritage and culture influence their networks now, and will influence generations to come. They are uniquely able to motivate adults in their community to connect with their local heritage. Pioneering Places East Kent: Ramsgate will demonstrate a truly

pioneering process of child-led community engagement and commissioning. Its success will impact future cultural and urban regeneration in Thanet and beyond. Working with ambitious artists and designers in this unique way, we will inspire cultural and heritage sectors in the UK and internationally, providing a deeper understanding of how culture and heritage can inspire each other and bring about positive change.

Giving young people the right foundation for

their future Comment by SALLY HILLS, Deputy Head and The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Leader, Luckley House School, and HEIDI LASCHINGER, student and DofE Ambassador, Luckley House School

Sally Hills

As teachers, our main wish is to see students leave education as confident and determined young people, armed with the skills and tools to pursue a happy and prosperous future. There has been plenty of discussion recently on balancing exam outcomes with supporting young people in their character development and this is reflected in the new Ofsted inspection framework which includes a specific judgment category covering personal development.

Whatever our individual views on Ofsted are, our roles have always

been to support our young people with their personal development and running extracurricular activities, with set outcomes and benefits for students in mind, can make a huge difference to pupils. Heidi Laschinger, a student at Luckley House School in Berkshire,

comments that “extracurricular activities can make a huge difference in our lives. Amongst many positive outcomes, the influence these activities are having on me and fellow pupils include anything from promoting


key life skills, fitness or improving confidence; all of which are hugely beneficial. In addition, these activities are also in the best interest of the school as a whole; for example, sports activities advocate exercise and teamwork for participating students but also help the school to have a fitter and healthier community, as well as one that can work together more efficiently.” As education professionals, we are already doing an amazing job of

supporting young people through our teaching, but perhaps there is scope to consider whether we can encourage and provide a broader range of extracurricular activities in our schools to ensure wider appeal and accessibility to all pupils. One such extracurricular option, which combines a range of these life

enhancing activities is The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award (DofE), which incorporates Physical, Skills, Volunteering and Expedition sections within each level of Award, and a residential activity for Gold programmes. Through their DofE programmes, young people have fun, make friends and enhance essential skills and attributes including resilience, problem- solving, team-working and communication. It also helps pupils to evidence their ‘soft skills’, commitment and determination when it is time to apply for further study or jobs. There are also plenty of other options to explore, from sports and

hobbies clubs to skills-related challenges such as debating and poetry competitions, creative outlets including sewing, painting and photography, community volunteering, music clubs or, as featured prominently in the media at the moment, social activism opportunities such as supporting important causes and campaigns. Incidentally, many extracurricular activities can be used as part of DofE programmes. In an increasingly complex world with multiple opportunities,

pressures and hurdles, young people may already find it challenging transitioning to the world of work or further education and our guidance and support can help give them a solid foundation and an even better chance to succeed in life.

Editor’s Choice 2020

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