Artsmark in Rural Schools Research

Free Curiosity Connections Events
April 12, 2024
Free Curiosity Connections Events
April 12, 2024

Call out for schools in Whitehaven and Copeland

Join our funded and supported creativity project.
This fabulous opportunity includes Curious Cover, which brings artists into your school while teachers attend related CPD sessions.

Schools in rural and isolated communities face unique barriers to accessing a broad and integrated arts and cultural offer for pupils.

Curious Minds and Arts Council England want to address these issues and explore innovative new ways of supporting schools to offer outstanding creative opportunities throughout the curriculum.

If your school is based within the Whitehaven and Copeland area of Cumbria, an exciting opportunity will soon be coming to your area. Don't miss out!
Funded by the Arts Council England, Curious Minds is delivering an innovative pilot project which will use the Artsmark Framework as a tool to plan and test bespoke arts-based activity for pupils, in a way that is flexible to the needs of individual schools.

About this opportunity

Curious Minds is looking for four schools in the Whitehaven and Copeland area to take part - each of which will receive a funded package of specialist support from Curious Minds and local arts partners. In addition, the schools will each be allocated a £2000 budget to commission creative activities for students.

This reseach project will explore the challenges that schools in rural settings face, when it comes to arts and cultural education. It will also test new ways in which schools can approach these challenges with the right support, and enhance provision using the Artsmark Framework as a developmental tool.

As a key component of the support available through this unique pilot, participating schools will receive support and guidance on how to authentically develop and embed Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) in their setting - drawing on the extensive expertise of our local delivery partner, Anti-Racist Cumbria.

What the research will inform

We understand that rural settings often face extra challenges when it comes to providing their pupils a broad and balanced range of high-quality arts and cultural experiences. To develop Artsmark in a way that reaches all types of settings, Arts Council England is keen to understand how the Framework can support schools in a place-based way - with a specific focus on rural and semi-rural schools.

The findings and outcomes from this research project will inform the future evolution of the Artsmark programme. At the same time, we hope this opportunity will enable participating schools to enhance skills and expertise within their workforce, and to pursue a transformed approach to creative and cultural learning across their curriculum.

Key elements of the project

This project will run for an academic year, from September 2024 to July 2025, and will take an action research* based approach.

Using parts of the Artsmark Framework as a vehicle for exploration, participating schools will:
  • Identify and understand the barriers and challenges that prevent or limit rural/semi-rural schools’ engagement in high quality arts and cultural education and activities.
  • Plan and deliver arts-based interventions that respond directly to these barriers and challenges.
  • Find ways of working that harness cultural learning as a powerful conduit for anti-racism and inclusion in schools and communities, for example by collaborating with a diverse range of artists and cultural organisations.
  • Explore how schools can increase pupils’ exposure to culturally diverse experiences that are purposeful, inclusive and relevant.
*Action research is a way of working that investigates problems or challenges whilst at the same time taking action to solve the problem. It often involves collaboration and includes reflection/analysis of the outcomes and impact of the action taken.

Interested? Here's what to do next...

We would be delighted to hear from any education setting based in the Whitehaven and Copeland areas that are interested in joining us on this exciting journey.

We have prepared this short information pack which we recommend you read. This explains this project in more detail, including details about eligibility and school committments, including the a list of training dates and meetings that project leads will be expected to attend. There are a mix of online and in-person sessions involved.

Interested settings should submit an online Expression of Interest Form by Friday 24th June at 5:00pm.

If you would like to have a conversation about this project, please email:

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