How we work with cultural practitioners

Cultural practitioners have specialist knowledge of how make and share truly engaging and enriching creative and cultural experiences with others.

This group of people includes artists and community engagement specialists working in museums, galleries, theatres, dance and drama companies and festivals, as well as freelance artists, performers or writers.
Curious Minds aims to support cultural practitioners in ways that both enable quality creative practice whilst also building capacity and resilience for cultural education delivery across their sector. Our offer includes:
  • Training and support - in the fundamentals of teaching artistry and pedagogy, as well as for the delivery of youth-focused frameworks like Arts Award, through which they can help young people develop creative and leadership skills.
  • Curious Kitbag - a package of simple, practical tips and advice for brand new grassroots organisations and freelance practitioners, who are looking to take their next steps and improve their business models.
  • The CASE Fellowship - a year-long leadership development programme, designed to created a talent pool of credible schools specialists, working in the North West’s arts, heritage and libraries sector.
  • Events, advocacy and intelligence - Our sector-focused events, conferences and networks facilitate meaningful connections and information exchange between creative and cultural practitioners; underpinning the foundations of a cultural education workforce that is skills-rich and self-sustaining. In 2020, our intervention through Bridging the Gap rapid response bursaries, at a time of National crisis provided targeted support to shore-up and invest in this eco-system for future growth.
Short term outcomes
In the short term we seek to enhance knowledge and understanding of education and youth sector contexts and how of how art and culture can be utilised. We increase skills to deliver work for young people who are missing out on cultural participation. This, in turn, builds confidence to work with wider and more diverse groups of young people. Cultural practitioners are better able to communicate and build partnerships with the education and youth sectors.
Medium term outcomes
In the medium term, our work gives cultural practitioners greater status and credibility within their organisation. Career prospects are improved and cultural practitioners are more able to influence strategic decisions.

Researching our impact on cultural practitioners

Our independent reviewer, Social Value Lab (SVL), surveyed and conducted semi-structured interviews with cultural sector professionals that were known to have engaged with one or more of Curious Minds' support offers. This fieldwork identified the following outcomes being reported by cultural practitioner respondents:
  • Improved skills and knowledge

  • Better understanding of other sectors

  • Were trusted with more responsibilities

  • Better equipped to work with young people that are missing out on culture

  • Better knowledge and understanding of how to use culture in an educational setting

  • Improved ability to communicate with schools

  • Increasing confidence as advocates for arts and culture

  • Were seen as experts in the field of cultural education

  • Were more able to influence others

    What cultural practitioners told us

    An example of impact in practice

    Case Study: Bettina Carpi

    Survive and Thrive

    Like many established freelance artists, Bettina was hugely affected by the effect of the Covid-19 pandemic on the creative sector. . Bettina is a professional dancer and dance practitioner with over 20 years’ experience, including 8 years touring, performing and teaching with CanDoCo.

    After being awarded a Bridging the Gap rapid response CPD bursary, Bettina joined several of our CPD workshops, as well as Curious Minds’ newly established freelance network. Her engagement with these programmes opened the door to further opportunity when, in partnership with Stepping Stones Creative and Warrington Youth Club, Bettina successfully applied to co-lead a Bubble Up cultural learning programme specifically targeting young people with SEND.

    As well as achieving some truly wonderful outcomes for young participants, Bettina’s own performing arts organisation, Company Carpi, has been able to support a young graduate artist from Warrington beyond the end of the project.
    "It has been truly noted and very much appreciated how much Curious Minds has done for freelance artists over this terribly difficult period in time, it’s wonderful to feel the support!"

    Curious Minds is a catalyst for cultural education

    Changing policy and practice... a time.