Over 100 school leaders from across the North West gathered together at the Bridgewater Hall, Manchester on the 24 October 2014, to celebrate being nominated as ‘culture champions’ by the Arts and Culture sector across the region.
Curious Minds approached the region’s arts and cultural organisations during June and July and asked them to nominate schools they thought were champions of art and culture. This resulted in over 400 schools in the northwest being recognised for their enthusiastic support of the arts and cultural education.
Keynote speakers on the day, advocating for the importance of arts in school, included Dave Moutrey, CEO of Cornerhouse and soon to open HOME and the award winning author and poet Jackie Kay.
The celebration ran alongside a social media campaign to raise the awareness and importance of arts in schools. At a time when schools feel under increasing pressure to achieve targets connected to the Ebacc there has been a gradual decrease in arts subjects being offered at GCSE and A-Level.
The #stARTedinschool campaign hopes to raise the profile of the arts subjects in schools by celebrating the positive impact that arts education made to people’s lives, particularly those working in the creative and cultural industries.
The #stARTedinschool campaign has seen contributions from leaders in the arts world such as Julie Hesmondhalgh, Frank Cottrell Boyce and Eddi Reader. As well as contributions from teachers, artists, cultural professionals and students – all of them advocating to keep the arts high on the education agenda. A special film has been produced and can be watched here:
Arts partnerships were a key theme on the day and the Curious Celebration included a festival market place made up of arts organisations from across the North West such as Home, National Football Museum, Wordsworth Museum, The Lowry and Africa Oye.
The celebration was hosted by Burnley based charity Curious Minds, Arts Council England’s funded organisation with the remit to connect schools with great art and culture across the North West. Curious Minds will be supporting the schools nominated as cultural champions to build partnerships with the arts and cultural sector and also help them in continuing to improve the quality of arts provision in their schools.