Art Makes Children Powerful

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Metal presents a new in-school creative learning project for young people and their teachers, shaped by artists and practitioners living and working in South Essex.

This programme celebrates creativity in all forms!


The programme includes creative professional development for local teachers and artists, supporting them to discover new art forms, share skills and build new connections within the creative and education ecosystems of Southend and surrounding areas.

Art Makes Children Powerful (AMCP) is supported by Southend Education Trust, Royal Opera House Bridge∫ and Southend’s Cultural Education Partnership, with an exciting connection to ‘99 by 19’ – a list of 99 activities and experiences to complete in Southend by the age of 19.
With special thanks to Bob And Roberta Smith for lending our project this title, inspired by their original artwork made in 2013.

Taking place in June 2022, this project involves :
– 11 x Southend schools (selected via application, with teachers identifying their students who are most in need of a supportive participatory project)
– 11 x South Essex artists (paired with schools, directly in response to consultations with teachers and pupils regarding interests and need)
– 11 x visits to local cultural organisations or centres (which students will visit, experiencing the creativity and heritage on their doorstep).

Art Makes Children Powerful is an artist-led creative learning programme, designed specifically for schools across Southend. The project aims to support pupils more in need, for whom accessing culture/creativity is a challenge, or for whom this project could significantly impact their wellbeing. AMCP focuses on hands-on learning from professional artists and practitioners living and working in the communities of South Essex.

Metal hopes that the project will support :
– Pupils to discover new art forms, ways to wellbeing & creative careers on their doorstep.
– Teachers to find creative classroom inspiration and build relationships with local artists. Artists learn how best to work with schools/young people within their growing practice.
– All involved to develop new and ongoing connections across Southend’s creative and educational networks.


‘This project will enable children to feel confident in expressing themselves, whilst supporting pupils’ wellbeing, igniting their creativity, [supporting their] cultural capital and promoting diversity through exposure to a wide range of art and artists.’
– Participating teacher


Metal received well-written applications from primary schools across the city, keen to take part in this project and work with a local artist/practitioner. The application process invited schools to indicate which of their pupils were most in need, and how a creative project could support their learning and wellbeing. Metal also asked key questions regarding staff involvement in creative learning, to find out how best this project can impact teaching staff and future year groups.

Having selected 11 participating schools, Metal made individual visits to gain a better insight into student and staff interests, needs, school grounds and unique school values. From here, Metal’s team were able to ‘match-make’ 11 local artists who could each bring new creative methods, art forms and inspiration to the schools.

Who’s involved?

  • Multidisciplinary artist Philippa Stewart & Darlinghurst Academy
  • Photographer Anna Lukala & Edwards Hall Primary
  • Printmaker Louise Altman & Greenways Primary
  • Kinetika silk painters & Heycroft Primary
  • Multidisciplinary artists Wyrd Flora & Kingsdown School
  • Photographer Laurence Harding & Porters Grange
  • Musicians T.I.M.E. & Princes Avenue
  • Illustrator Claire Harrup & Sacred Heart
  • Community builders Brazilarte & Temple Sutton
  • Actor Anne Odeke & St Christopher School
  • Multidisciplinary artist Emma Edmondson & Thorpedene Primary

Over 1330 pupils and their teachers will enjoy hands-on experiences exploring a huge range of creative practices, including alternative self-portraits, immersive theatre, brick-making, textiles, sustainable process with waste materials, songwriting and musical production, printmaking, guerilla gardening and much more along the way.


‘We always want to show the children that you can be destined for more than the life you already know’
– Participating teacher


Together the students, teaching staff and artists will work from classrooms, creative corners and outdoor spaces during a month-long partnership, taking the shape of creative workshops and assemblies. The programme will dedicate time and space to the development of creative ideas, with a final outcome to celebrate the pupils’ processes and outcomes with classmates, families and potentially the wider community. This might take the shape of a performance, exhibition, sculpture or an original song. In total, over 4500 Southend pupils will discover new inspiration, artworks and creative exercises shared by local artists and their teachers, shining a light on the rich and vibrant talent this creative city has to offer.

‘Everyone has their talent!’

– Participating teacher



Art Makes Children Powerful, Bob and Roberta Smith, 2013

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