A £120k pilot scheme will see ten Northern Ireland secondary schools collaborate with artists on a range of projects to improve wellbeing and increase interest in cultural careers.
A new scheme in Northern Ireland is aiming to use creative learning in schools to increase confidence and promote positive mental health in communities previously hit by deprivation.
The Creative Schools Partnership, supported with a combined £120k from the Arts Council of Northern Ireland (ACNI), the Education Authority and the Urban Villages Initiative, will pair ten secondary schools with artists on projects including ceramics, script writing, photography and animation.
It is based on the belief that quality arts experiences in school “can benefit all aspects of learning”, by improving engagement, attendance, and results in other school subjects, and hopes to encourage new perspectives on long-term career ambitions for the young people involved.
The ten participating schools are part of ‘Urban Village’ areas across Belfast and Derry-Londonderry – a programme designed to create positive community identities and “develop thriving places” in areas with a history of community tension.
Speaking about the programme, Roisin McDonough, Chief Executive of ACNI, said: “While the ten projects are all very different, what they have in common is that they will each help the young people involved develop their own sense of self-belief, as well as supporting their learning and development in all aspects of school life.”
Sharon O’Connor, Chairperson of the Education Authority, added: “Young people from communities challenged by multiple layers of deprivation and ongoing tensions will benefit from enhanced access to resources to explore creative projects. The experiences they will acquire will benefit them, their schools and communities, ultimately enriching school life.
“The breadth of subject matter they have identified demonstrates the practical concerns they will explore through work with professional artists.”