Guest Blog from our Leicestershire Consultant Sam Whelan

Guest blog from our Leicestershire Schools Consultant Sam Whelan: on why the time is now for schools to get involved with their local Cultural Education Partnerships.

Posted by: Sam Whelan | August 30th, 2017

"Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much." Helen Keller

I visited the Take One Picture exhibition at the National Gallery this summer and enjoyed seeing primary school childrens' work exhibiting right alongside high profile artists. The way their responses had been facilitated by teachers, artists and their peers shone through the final pieces. Using the same image from the gallery as stimulus, students all over the country chose to respond to parts or the entire picture in whichever medium they chose. It was a delight to see St Cuthberts from Leicester, my patch for Artsmark support, in there taking up space.

I’ve seen the impact this annual project has had on staff and students in the East Midlands too. At St Lukes Primary School in Glossop, Derbyshire, Headteacher Mrs. Littlehailes even made the decision to retain their Take One Picture project plans (with older students designing and leading activity for their younger peers) on the first day of their most recent Ofsted inspection. On TMC’s recent tranche of Artsmark Adventures films, the school concludes it’s “Because the arts matter!” (No artistic license used here - there’s an exclamation mark when she says it, too).

Many of the schools I’ve worked with on their Artsmark journeys in 2016/17 have highlighted partnerships as an area for development. Some say they don’t know where to look for accessible, relevant and (often most importantly) financially possible activities. Projects like Take One Picture are available not just on a national stage but on a local one too. I don’t know the back-story to the project, but I can well imagine that schools were a part of the development – excellent examples of collaboration are rarely born in isolation. So if you work in a school and have got an idea for a project, or even some themes you’d like to work around, do approach your local venues; I know they will be very happy to hear from you.

I hear that busy diaries, more pressing deadlines and a lack of people on 'speed-dial' often delay schools from starting new partnerships. Let’s right that in this moment. If want to know more about the wealth of arts and cultural organisations in the East Midlands check out the extensive map TMC have put together for you. Alternatively give the office a call and they’ll happily point you in the right direction. If you’re a Leicester/shire school you can email me directly, I'm your area consultant and I would be happy to help –

Come on, time to get started.


Do you want to know more about becoming an Artsmark school? Contact the Artsmark team: | 0116 2616834

Do you want to know more about the Cultural Education Parternships work? Contact the Arts Alliances team: | 0116 2616834

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