Curious Minds has been evolving since being established in 2009 to deliver Arts Council England’s Creative Partnerships programme across Lancashire and Merseyside.
Creative Partnerships was England’s flagship creative learning programme, designed to develop the skills of children and young people across England, raising their aspirations, achievements and life chances. As part of a national network of Area Delivery Organisations, Curious Minds worked in partnership with 350 primary, secondary and SEN schools and 4,000 teachers and school leaders, bringing creative workers such as artists, architects and scientists into schools to work with teachers to inspire young people and help them learn.
The government announced its plans to withdraw funding for the Creative Partnerships programme from the end of the academic year 2010/2011 forcing us to re-think the future. Remaining true to our founding vision, mission and beliefs, we applied to become the Bridge organisation for the North West of England and have been delivering the role successfully since April 2012.
We work hard to balance being the North West Bridge organisation with the delivery of a wider portfolio of programmes designed to enhance and extend the impact of the Bridge role.
The legacy of Chris’s work ensures that Curious Minds continues to have a significant impact on schools, children and young people across the North West, and that the organisation now enjoys a solid reputation upon which it continues to grow and prosper.
Chris May (1959 – 2011)
We can’t talk about the history of Curious Minds without remembering the significant contribution made by founding Chief Executive, Chris May.
After graduating from the Drama Department at Bristol University in 1981, Chris May worked as an artist, teacher, youth worker, project manager and consultant in a diverse range of educational and community settings. With over thirty years’ experience of working in the arts, he was passionately committed to developing the capacity of disadvantaged young people to realise their creative potential and tirelessly campaigned to place culture and creativity at the heart of learning and community renewal.
Moving to Lancashire in 1989, Chris worked as an arts management consultant throughout the North West, helping organisations develop their practice around learning, evaluation and change management. In 2003 he joined Arts Council England, North West as Social Inclusion Officer and moved to Creative Partnerships East Lancashire as Creative Director in 2005. During 2007/8 Chris worked with Creative Partnerships National Office as Interim Director of Schools Programmes, returning to Lancashire in January 2009 to lead the establishment of Curious Minds – a new charity and social enterprise committed to enabling creative collaboration.
Chris was an exuberant figure, full of life and passionate about his work. He was immensely proud of the achievements of Curious Minds, our team and our partners, believing strongly that this should be an organisation centred on a moral purpose, making a real and lasting difference to children’s lives. He drew pleasure from his collaboration and dialogue with others and hugely enjoyed working alongside the education, cultural and community sectors right across the North West and beyond. The legacy of Chris’s work ensures that Curious Minds continues to have a significant impact on schools, children and young people across the North West, and that the organisation now enjoys a solid reputation upon which it continues to grow and prosper.