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Art Makes Children Powerful is a new in-school creative learning project for young people and their teachers, shaped by artists and practitioners living and working in South Essex.

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

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).

The programme celebrates creativity in all forms!

Art Makes Children Powerful by Bob & Roberta Smith, 2013

We hope 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.
Draw Hope by Bob & Roberta Smith, 2021, at Estuary 2021
Photo credits : Rob Harris

We 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. We 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.

‘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.’

Quote from participating teacher

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

We are delighted to announce the 11 schools involved, spanning across Southend: Darlinghurst Academy, Edward’s Hall, Greenways, Heycroft, Kingsdown, Porters Grange, Princes Avenue, Sacred Heart, Temple Sutton, The St Christopher School and Thorpedene Primary School.

Art Makes Children Powerful is being shaped by 11 lead artists, directly reflecting the schools they are working with : Louise Altman, Emma Edmondson, Philippa Stewart, Brazilarte, Laurence Harding, Kinetika, Anna Lukala, Together In Music Expression (T.I.M.E.), Lora Aziz, Anne Odeke and Claire Harrup.

Draw Hope by Bob & Roberta Smith, 2021, at Estuary 2021
Photo credits: Rob Harris

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’

Quote from 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!’

Quote from participating teacher

Art Makes Children Powerful (AMCP) is supported by Southend Education Trust, Southend’s Cultural Education Partnership and Royal Opera House Bridge, with an exciting connection to ‘99 by 19’ – a list of 99 activities and experiences to complete in Southend by the age of 19.

Art Makes Children Powerful