Insights into our response to Covid-19

As North West England’s sector support organisation for creative and cultural education, Curious Minds wanted to react quickly to the coronavirus crisis to ensure our region’s cultural education ecology was able to emerge at the other side as healthy as possible.

We are an established charity and, therefore, found ourselves in a strong position to cope with the challenges that the national lockdown would bring. We recognised, though, that many arts organisations, freelance arts practitioners and grassroots projects were far less fortunate and would be finding the situation extremely difficult - not to mention the challenges facing educators and families as they worked to support our region's young people through this crisis.

Naturally, we wanted to do what we could to help.
A values-driven response
We often describe Curious Minds as a 'values driven organisation', and we hope you can see our values writ large in how we approach our work, the partnerships we broker and the programmes we deliver. We refer to our values as the "7 C’s" - seven words, beginning with C, by which we hold ourselves to account for what, how and why we do things.
  • We are CURIOUS
  • We CARE
  • We are CREDIBLE
"2020 gave us a new C-word to contend with and with it came the opportunity to stress-test our values like never before. "
We are proud of how we stepped up to the challenges of the past seven months: the difference we’ve made to individuals and organisations impacted by lockdown; the alliances we’ve forged; the partnerships we’ve brokered; and the creative activity we’ve helped make happen.

Today (Friday, 6 November 2020) we are publishing the report below, to provide a deeper insight into what we've been doing, the people and organisations we have helped and the difference they have told us it has made for them.

From Crisis to Recovery

As we move from crisis into the recovery phase, Curious MInds will continue to use the 7 C’s to navigate our journey through the choppy waters ahead; listening and responding to the needs of our sector to the best of our ability. Our aim remains the same as it was at the start of the pandemic. We will work to support the North West’s cultural education workforce so that, together, we emerge at the other side of the Covid-19 crisis stronger and better positioned to respond to The Cultural Education Challenge.

The 7Cs of Curious in Recovery

“Curiosity is little more than another name for Hope.”
Augustus William-Hare

We remain hopeful and optimistic for the future.

We believe in dialogue as a catalyst for creativity and will always start with an ask.

We’ll explore new possibilities - asking ‘what if?’ and ‘why not?’, to place cultural education at the heart of recovery.

The Covid-19 crisis has exposed the stark inequalities that exist across our region and we remain determined to tackle the social injustices that prevent too many children and young people from experiencing the joy and life-changing benefits of arts and culture.

We care deeply about the welfare and wellbeing of the cultural education workforce. The crisis has hit the sector hard and we’ll continue to do our best to help where we can.

We responded quickly to the crisis - taking risks that we wouldn’t normally have done in order to meet the urgent needs of the sector.

We’ll continue to respond to the emerging needs of the cultural education sector with courage and tenacity – confident in the knowledge that cultural education has a key role to play in recovery of individuals and communities.

We continue to take our sector support role seriously and never take for granted the privilege of being trusted by our funders to do the right thing.

We maintain robust financial systems and refuse to compromise on quality.

2020 has forced a reckoning. We face the coming months determined to do more to be a fully inclusive and explicitly anti-racist organisation, and to boost the diversity of the cultural education workforce – starting with ourselves.

Partnership and collaboration remain at the heart of everything we do.

We believe in dialogue as a catalyst for creativity, and as we move through times of accelerated change and deepened uncertainty, we understand the importance of listening to build meaning and shared purpose.

The Covid-19 crisis has given us a valuable opportunity to widen the range of partners and funders we work with and we’ll continue to nurture and grow these relationships as we move into the next phase of recovery.

Our team is made up of professionals from across the education and cultural sectors, so that we’re able to skilfully navigate both worlds.

We’re not afraid to admit when we don’t know something and have built strategic alliances with a wide range of experts who know the stuff we don’t.

Covid-19 has forced us into an online world we’d only dabbled in before. We’re working with experts to learn how to facilitate interactive online workshops and to develop our own e-learning platform.

An important part of our sector support role is to celebrate and champion the incredible cultural education work happening across our region.

Over the coming months we’ll up the ante on this area of work to demonstrate the vital role cultural education has to play in post-Covid recovery for children and young people, their families, schools and communities.


Bubble Up

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Bridging the Gap

Learn more about this programme