We cannot afford to undervalue arts and humanities degrees

View of Warwick campus building in Venice on canal side
03 Aug 2023

Hardly a day goes by without a fresh attack on arts and humanities degrees as ‘low value’. Stuart Croft, Vice-Chancellor of Warwick University, thinks that is misguided. 

Cultural education 'at risk' following ACE shakeup

Young people painting
01 Aug 2023

Report identifies risk of patchier arts provision for young people following Arts Council England's decision to stop funding Bridge Network.

Young V&A shop to carry LGBTQ+ books

Young V&A shop
27 Jul 2023

The museum says it has also "identified replacement objects for the Young V&A Design Gallery that highlight trans themes", as PCS union members call for the removed books and posters to be reinstated.

Acosta dance centre to open in Greenwich

26 Jul 2023

Dancer, choreographer and director, Carlos Acosta, and the Acosta Dance Foundation (ADF) have announced the launch of a new dance centre, due to open in September.

The Acosta Dance Centre will be based in London’s Woolwich Works and will offer dance classes, courses, performances, residencies and programmes for locals in the Greenwich area and beyond. 

It will also serve as a gathering place and artistic space for dancers, industry professionals and the community, the foundation said, predicting that it will impact 215,000 people.

The centre will focus on educational and community-based activities involving local schools, public dance classes and Acosta Ballet Camps that provide intensive training for young ballet dancers.

It will also serve as the home of the Carlos Acosta Choreographic Fellowship and a residency programme for artists to collaborate and explore cross-cultural projects, as well as the Acosta Advanced Training Hub, a free pre-professional programme for students aged 18 and above.

“The Acosta Dance Centre stands as the epitome of my life’s work, representing a global sanctuary for dancers of all backgrounds and a beacon of inspiration for the world of dance,” Acosta said. 

“It is a dream come true, born from my passion to create a place where dance could bring people from all walks of life together, to celebrate joy and creativity through movement.”

Boost to creative opportunities for young people in Newham

25 Jul 2023

Newham Council and the University of East London (UEL) have announced a partnership aimed at increasing cultural and creative opportunities for young people in the area.

The partnership, based at Stratford Youth Zone, will see a £733,000-a-year investment go towards supporting creative and performing arts opportunities in Newham.

The venue will host social and emotional learning programmes, along with activities focused on drama, music, dance, fashion, games design, filmmaking, screenwriting and visual and digital arts. 

The programme will also include education workshops led by art students from UEL and the university will draw on staff and student expertise in education, youth work, social work, business, events and hospitality to involve young people – particularly those deemed disadvantaged and at-risk – in research and the production of arts activities. 

The partnership will also seek to make available opportunities for young people to undertake work placements, mentorships, internships and apprenticeships offering experience and paths to career opportunities in the creative industries.

“Providing exemplary youth service provision is a central objective of my administration because we want Newham to be the best place for a child and young person to grow up, so that they reach their potential and thrive,” said Mayor of Newham Rokhsana Fiaz.

“Through this pioneering collaboration with the University of East London, the Council’s Youth Empowerment Service will progress with its ambitious plans to offer a range of enriching and empowering opportunities for young people through an exciting curriculum anchored in culture, creativity and the arts.”

Music education hub reforms 'immensely challenging'

brass players play musical instrument
24 Jul 2023

Leading figure in music education warns the top-down nature of planned government reforms has created 'more challenge, more crisis-management and potentially less creativity' in local areas. 

New arts campus for Medway following UCA closure

24 Jul 2023

Medway School of Arts is set to open its doors in September on a site at The Historic Dockyard, Chatham.

The new school will be run by MidKent College and will offer university-level courses.

It hopes to fill the gap created by the impending closure of the University of Creative Arts (UCA) in Rochester.

UCA will close its current site in September with plans to move its arts courses to Canterbury, Epsom and Farnham.

Commenting on the site for the new school, MidKent College principal, Simon Cook, said: “The Historic Dockyard is known in Medway as a hub for the creative industries, so we are delighted to base Medway’s School of Arts there."

Campaign urges education reform to save arts subjects

24 Jul 2023

Open letter to Education Secretary, with more than 1,150 signatures, calls on government to review and reform Ebacc and Progress 8. 

Government plans for ‘low value’ degree cap criticised

Students in a library
20 Jul 2023

Admission restrictions to be placed on so-called 'low-value' degrees with high drop-out rates and poor employment prospects.

Time to be heard

19 Jul 2023

Young people are often excluded from conversations and decision making in the arts. Jacqui O’Hanlon shares an initiative which aims to ensure their voices are heard.

Youth-led arts fund awards £65,000 to young people

17 Jul 2023

A youth-led fund launched in partnership by Youth Scotland and Creative Scotland has awarded £65,000 of funding to young people across the country to pursue creative arts projects and experiences.

After receiving applications from more than 100 young people aged between five and 25, Step into the Art has awarded funding to 45 creative projects.

For some young people, the grants will support them to take lessons to explore or develop their skills in all kinds of artistic expression, from fine-art painting and fashion design to drumming and special effects makeup.

For others, grants will provide equipment or other practical support to get them started with specific projects, including everything from an educational film about bullying, to a podcast about the experience of being an immigrant in Scotland, to a Wild West-style play promoting positive masculinity.

Colin Bradie, Head of Creative Learning at Creative Scotland said: ‘We’re grateful to all the young people involved in the creation of this fund. Involving young people at the heart of decision-making ensures that they’re listened to and respected, making the opportunities more relevant to other young people. 

"They’ve created a vital opportunity for many more young people across the country to step into the arts. Not only will they be able to realise their creative ambitions but they’ll also be making friends, creating communities, and having fun along the way."

Starmer promises greater emphasis on creativity in education

photo of Keir Starmer delivering a speech in front of a red background
06 Jul 2023

Labour leader says every child will be given the opportunity to take arts subjects until the age of 16 as part of the party’s plans for education policy.

Consent workshops for teens attending first festival

05 Jul 2023

Music festival Boardmasters says it is investing in workshops for young people and webinars for their parents to tackle consent issues 'at the root'.

Young creatives embracing AI in music making

04 Jul 2023

New research from Youth Music has found 63% of young creatives are using artificial intelligence (AI) to help them produce their art, including music making. 

In comparison, the charity found that among those aged over 55, only 19% said they would use AI to assist with their creative vision, highlighting how different generations are reacting to shifting technologies.

Young creatives using AI in music making said that it made creating both quicker and easier, which the charity suggested might help to equalise access to the music industry. 

Dr Robert Laidlow, AI Expert at Jesus College Oxford, told the charity, using AI as a “human collaborator” could be helpful for young people attempting to discover new sounds.

Against concern from industry leaders and established artists that AI could lead to a decline in human creativity and innovation, the charity’s findings suggested it could offer to ways to improve imagination and creative thinking.

“There are still important questions to be addressed around the monetising of AI and the ownership of content, for example,” said Matt Griffiths, CEO of Youth Music.
 
“However, what we're hearing right now from the next generation of creatives is excitement around its potential to equalise access to making, learning and earning in music. 

“Especially those who don’t have the advantage of expensive music education or equipment to aid their learning process, or paid support to run their business.”

The charity said overall young creatives expressed a positive outlook on the future of the industry, viewing AI as a way to assist with the creation of new music, rather than a way to generate it outright.

EXCLUSIVE: Young V&A removes trans poster and LGBTQ+ books

interior of Young V&A
29 Jun 2023

A letter sent to PCS union members at the V&A says the decision to remove a poster advocating for trans rights and two illustrated books on queer identities was made by the museum’s director. 

NT's Let’s Play offered free to primary schools

29 Jun 2023

The National Theatre has announced its Let’s Play programme is now free to all state primary schools across the UK.

The programme pilot was launched back in 2017, but the National Theatre is now offering it to all state primary schools for free to enable more teachers to use theatre, drama and creativity in support of learning across the curriculum.
 
Let’s Play offers learning resources and training opportunities for primary school teachers covering three key areas: using theatre and drama to support learning (Let’s Learn), creating performances in schools (Let’s Perform) and watching high-quality theatre productions with related resources through the National Theatre Primary Collection (Let’s Watch).
 
For the first time, Let’s Play is also offering free online and in-person professional training for teachers to help them reconnect with their own creativity and develop new skills.

Young V&A museum to reopen after £13m upgrade

27 Jun 2023

The Victoria and Albert museum dedicated to children and young people will reopen to the public on 1 July, following a three-year closure and £13m refurbishment.

Young V&A – formerly known as the V&A Museum of Childhood – features over 2,000 objects dating from 2300BC to the present day. They are displayed across three new galleries: Design, Imagination and Play.

The range of different zones include an open design studio, a games design space for teenagers and an interactive Minecraft installation in the Play zone.

The museum, located in Bethnal Green, caters for children aged up to 14 and could help to fill the gaps in state school cultural provisions, said Tristram Hunt, the V&A’s Director.

“The V&A believes in the transformative power of creativity, and it’s critical we work to support and develop the next creative generation,” he said.

“The optimistic and transformative power of creativity radiates through Young V&A and we cannot wait to unleash it upon our teenagers to toddlers.”

The museum is free to enter and will run a programme of events and themed exhibitions throughout the year, beginning in October with an exploration of the influence of Japanese history and folklore on popular culture, technology and design.

Swindon arts partnership for children 'unable to flourish' in school 

27 Jun 2023

Revolution Performing Arts (RPA) has announced a partnership with specialist tuition service Hunt Scholars to create alternative provision for children with varied needs.

The two organisations will work together to support young people with non-traditional educational needs or those who may have found that school is not for them.

Revolution@HuntScholars will run initially from North Swindon, accepting referrals from local schools and support organisations and working with home-educating families, who are invited to make contact directly.

“We plan to offer a bespoke package to children who for many reasons have been unable to flourish in the school system,” said RPA’s founder Fi Da Silva-Adams.

“Academic education works best when a person feels part of a community of shared values, feels their skills and contributions are important and that their experiences are validated. We wanted to create a safe space with the right environment for resilience to develop and self-esteem to grow.”

Sessions will be tailored to help young people integrate into the wider community, as well as to reinforce skills across the curriculum, “linking them back to education in a way which feels relevant and attainable for them”, she added.

Ellie Hunt, a qualified teacher who runs Hunt Scholars, described RPA’s work as “naturally exuberant and joyful”.

“It is a place where children feel accepted, not ‘othered’, so that they can have the confidence to be themselves,” she said.

Other local providers primarily use sport to support young people with differing needs, she said, “so the time is right for an art-based package”. 

“We will use drama to develop emotional literacy such as understanding what body language may look like. Dance can help children who need movement breaks because they can’t sit still for long. By trying circus skills a child might master balancing a peacock feather on their finger and take that confidence forward into a maths lesson.”  

Why would a bank support the arts?

Woman in a gallery looking at pictures
27 Jun 2023

The National Portrait Gallery has reopened after a three-year refurbishment. Its Director, Nicholas Cullinan and Andrea Sullivan of the Bank of America discuss how their partnership will improve access for young people - and why that's so important. 

Labour slams government’s arts education provision

A group of school students take part in an art class
26 Jun 2023

Shadow Arts Minister Barbara Keeley says Labour would ensure all children have access to high-quality arts education as she criticises government for the ‘systematic exclusion and downgrading of arts subjects’.

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