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Arts Award in LockdownDecember 4, 2020
Looking After Children
What tangible difference are Local Cultural Education Partnerships making for young people in North West England and how are they uniquely positioned to effect real change where it's needed most? Curious Minds asked Sarah Bailey, cultural education consultant and facilitator, to take a look at how the Liverpool Partnership has been able to make connections that count.
By 2020, before the onset of the pandemic, Liverpool's LCEP was working on 3 priorities:
- Safeguarding and inclusion
- Schools and cultural education, and
- Employment and skills
The organisations represented on the steering group serves as an illustration of the breadth of its work; arts organisations, museums, school improvement, schools, music education, universities and mental health leads all coming together to identify the way forward for children and young people in culture.
Like many cities, Liverpool has arts organisations that are passionate about reaching those least likely to engage (or - historically - easy to ignore). Prior to the development of the partnership, a number of organisations were already seeking out opportunities to work with Looked After Children. In particular, Collective Encounters, Liverpool Everyman & Playhouse and 20 Stories High.
Discussing this with Rebecca Ross-Williams, Creativity & Social Change Director at Everyman & Playhouse, it becomes clear just how essential the LCEP has been in making this work.
The Cultural Education Partnership has deepened and given shape to collaborations that support professionals like Rebecca to make structural change.
However, Rebecca and her colleagues had found referrals difficult. The usual challenges around information sharing - both in terms of what was available for young people and also what young people wanted and needed - were causes of frustration on all sides. This was an area in which the partnership could help.
This opened up the possibility of talking directly to Social Workers and, from there, several new ways of working became possible.
Professionals like Rebecca are common in cultural education. We all know deeply committed colleagues who want to make a difference. The Cultural Education Partnership has deepened and given shape to collaborations that support professionals like Rebecca to make structural change.
Rebecca talked with great respect and appreciation for her colleagues in other arts organisations; about Elaine Rees, the passionate School Improvement professional who connects all schools in the city, and about the changes in practice made possible through Steve Reddy and the new Virtual Head, Carolyn Lawler.
Together they make it possible for more Looked After Children and young people to access their cultural entitlement.