Creative teachers offer the most industry experience

Children and Teachers look at an Abstract Painting
02 Feb 2022

A new report recommends long term funding to allow more schools to embed opportunities to work with industry partners.

BBC orchestra moves to Great Yarmouth

01 Feb 2022

The BBC Concert Orchestra is taking up a three-year residency in Great Yarmouth.

The move is part of Create Yarmouth, a collaboration with Orchestras Live and East Anglian arts organisations, which aims to to provide new music learning pathways.

BBC Concert Orchestra musicians will deliver workshops in every Great Yarmouth primary school, with free school concerts also scheduled.

Local young producers will develop their cultural industry skills by helping deliver parts of the programme.

A Heritage Action Zone cultural programme will see small ensembles perform in community settings across the region.

Ways of working with universities revealed

performers dance in front of a lit up building
25 Jan 2022

One of the largest surveys ever undertaken between the arts and academia produced some new perspectives on how collaborations can be forged. Evelyn Wilson and Emily Hopkins share their insights.

Three-year inquiry into GSA fire inconclusive

25 Jan 2022

A three-year investigation into a fire at Glasgow School of Art has given no answers.

The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service’s final report says the cause of the June 2018 fire remains “undetermined” due to extensive damage and the destruction of evidence.

At the time of the blaze, the Mackintosh building was undergoing a £35m restoration project, having already been damaged in another fire in May 2014.

In a joint statement, the school's Director Penny MacBeth and interim chair Kirsten Bennie expressed frustration the fire's cause was not identified. 

They said the school will learn from the report for future construction projects, including the Mackintosh's reinstatement.

Call to scrap GCSEs amid paltry arts entries

25 Jan 2022

The summer exams must go, former education secretaries say, as a new commission reports the need for students to develop creativity. 

ABSRM extends musical theatre grades 

24 Jan 2022

Musical theatre students can now take exams across eight ABRSM grades.

Two new higher grades of Singing for Musical Theatre exams have launched and can be assessed in two formats; pre-recorded or live.

ABSRM says new repertories were designed to appeal to diverse tastes. Song lists across existing syllabuses have also been refreshed.

Academic Director Philippa Bunting says the courses are designed to "encourage the real-life musical skills that are needed to enhance rehearsals and performances alike".

Contribution to culture part of universities' value

20 Jan 2022

A new metric for measuring the merit of "low value" courses like creative arts aims to change perceptions of what a quality education looks like.

Parents support creative university degrees

13 Jan 2022

UK parents are in favour of university-level creative courses and recognise their economic benefits, new research indicates.

A study conducted for Universities UK found 65% of parents agree that creative degrees benefit the UK economy, with 69% saying students on these course gain skills to power the creative industry.

Two thirds said the pandemic has caused long term damage to the UK’s creative industries.

In response, Universities UK is launching MadeAtUni: Creative Sparks, a campaign to showcase creative talent and encourage the Government to support creative university degrees.

Universities UK Chief Executive Alistair Jarvis said universities are central to the UK’s creative excellence: "They’re where the nation’s creative sparks are ignited."

Schools may have to suspend music teaching, DfE warns

12 Jan 2022

Professionals have voiced "real concerns" over the proposal, saying it would harm pupils more than it helps them.

ALRA makes second round auditions free

12 Jan 2022

There will be no fees for applicants who make it to the second round of acting auditions at the Academy of Live and Recorded Arts (ALRA) this year.

The conservatoire said it wants everyone to be able to audition regardless of background or financial situation.

Although there is still a £5 administration fee for the initial audition, it says the subsequent £30 fee has been removed: "We know that £30 can be a steep cost for some, especially if the applicant is applying to several schools."

Sonia Watson-Fowler, ALRA’s Director of Culture and Creativity, called it "a small yet necessary step towards the long-term goal of creating and maintaining a more inclusive organisation".

Black British theatre

Students at BADA
11 Jan 2022

In the wake of the killing of George Floyd, many drama schools committed to reform their curricula. Oladipo Agboluaje shares a ground-breaking programme that has emerged as a result.

Partnership to expand music education in South East

05 Jan 2022

A new partnership aims to grow options for music tuition in the South East of England. 

Brighton & Hove Music & Arts (BHMA), which manages the Create Music hub, has joined forces with East Sussex Music (ESM) to expand its online offering.

Create Music Director Peter Chivers said the partners will share resouces and skills to reach more learners.

BHMA Chief Executive Andrew Comben added: "As access to the arts becomes increasingly difficult for a lot of communities, offering affordable tuition in familiar locations or online is essential to keep young people engaged."

More inclusive classical music

violinists play classical music in an orchestra
05 Jan 2022

Poor quality data about classical music is a significant obstacle to understanding its lack of diversity. But Anna Bull thinks ACE’s new research provides some valuable insights.

Covid harmed drama education

group of drama students perform on stage
14 Dec 2021

More than half of drama teachers saw a drop in pupils choosing the subject at GCSE and A-Level following remote learning. 

Survey to explore culture collaborations in higher education

14 Dec 2021

Researchers are calling for arts workers involved in higher education to contribute to a new survey.

The National Centre for Academic and Cultural Exchange has extended its questionnaire until December 20 to explore collaborations between the two sectors.

Devised and led by Dr Thanasis Sypriadis, the survey asks how confident and supported arts professionals feel collaborating with educational institutions, what could be improved, and the role the centre might have in this.

Anyone who has been involved in the joint devising, leadership, or delivery of projects, research or activities is encouraged to take part

New global exchange programme for young musicians

13 Dec 2021

Young musicians will benefit from a new international exchange scheme at the Royal Academy of Music (RAM) when it launches in September.

The Sir Elton John Global Exchange Programme, named for its benefactor, offers exchanges ranging from one week to a year in length at internationally renowned conservatoires.

Twelve schools including Shanghai Conservatory of Music, Renia Sofia School of Music in Madrid, Berlin's Hanns Eisler Academy, Sydney Conservatorium of Music and The Julliard School have confirmed exchanges thus far.

RAM Principal Jonathan Freeman-Attwood said the participating institutions have "long been friends" of the academy.

"What drives this latest programme is the need for music - indeed all the arts - to break down the kinds of boundaries and barriers which actively work against the open spirit of creative enquiry and collaboration between different countries."

Dance partnership to 'lift the curtain' for students

10 Dec 2021

A new partnership will "lift the curtain" on the the dance industry for students.

Birmingham Royal Ballet and the Royal Academy of Dance will launch the new programme in February with a series of pre-show talks and workshops for dancers and company staff.

They aim to inspire young dancers and deepen their understanding and appreciation of ballet as an art form.

The academy's Artistic Director Gerard Charles says there is "so much more to studying ballet than simply learning the steps".

"We are all part of a large dance community that includes beginners, experienced dancers and teachers, and we learn from each other. I cannot wait to see how our dancers and teachers benefit from this amazing opportunity."

Wales extends creative curriculum until 2025

06 Dec 2021

Wales' action plan for creative learning has been extended until March 2025.

Since its launch in 2015, 84% of Welsh schools have engaged with the creative curriculum, creating 238,000 opportunities for learners.

The Welsh Government will announce curriculum reforms next year that are expected to include expressive arts as one of six core pillars.

Arts Council of Wales Director of Arts Engagement Diane Hebb said the three year extension will support arts-rich experiences in school. 

“The achievements of the programme to date have been extraordinary and evidence continues to show that the impact has been transformational for learners, teachers and schools, and indeed for artists alike.”

NI schools funded to work with professional artists

30 Nov 2021

Eleven schools in Northern Ireland will each receive funding to hire professional artists.

£15,000 has been awarded by the Creative Schools Partnership, a combination of National Lottery, Education Authority and NI Executive funding, across the schools' proposals.

Projects include screenwriting, dance, photography, filmmaking and music composition. Grants will cover two years' work.

First Minister Paul Givan said: “This successful partnership has already seen hundreds of children engage with the programme within post-primary schools in urban villages areas.

“The young people have benefited from this innovative arts-based approach, which has supported curriculum learning and improved their educational outcomes.”


‘Seismic’ shift towards digital music learning

30 Nov 2021

ABRSM has reported a "seismic" shift towards digital music learning.

64% of children use digital resources to make music, according to the music board's Making Music 2021 report.

Whilst 59% of children and 27% of adults surveyed currently play an instrument, 86% and 43% respectively said they are making music, suggesting a trend towards online tools.

Despite increases in digital participation, 11% fewer children are taking instrumental lessons at schools than in 2014.

Finance remains a barrier to participation. People from wealthier households are 1.4 times more likely to play a musical instrument, with 25% of children and 18% of adults who never played an instrument saying this was due to expense.

The music sector must work to overcome “fundamental and deep-seated barriers” that stop people accessing music, ABSRM Chief Executive Chris Cobb commented.


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