Campaigning

Michael Rosen’s thoughts on Children’s rights to access arts.

Taking part in any of the arts means ‘making and doing’. This involves taking materials, ideas, thoughts and feelings from our experience and changing them. You can do this having apprenticed yourself for many years to the best practitioners of that art,

you can do it by studying that art, but there are also ways of taking part in some arts very simply and easily following what is already there, or someone who shows us how. This last way of working means that taking part in the arts is available to all. It mean that anyone in any situation can experience what it means to transform materials, ideas, thoughts and feelings and in so doing transform a part of themselves.

This is one of the ways in which we have discovered how to investigate the world around us and our place in it. A school curriculum always includes subjects which are concerned about the world but it’s not often easy for such subjects to include the child and that child’s place in it. Whether a child is doing pottery, performing a part in a play, taking photos or any art – these will involve the child finding a place for themselves in relation to that material, that view, those lines from a play or poem. Surrounding this activity there will be thought and conversation. These will nearly always involve this ‘positioning’ – “where am I in relation to this stuff?’

We make the plea that children should have time and space to do this as part of their emotional, social and intellectual development. Part of education must be about ‘where am I in this world?’

Doing such things may lead to professional careers, they may enable children to be more confident and willing learners, they may provide potential activities for people for the rest of their lives. All these are valuable outcomes. However, we would do well to remember that children are human beings and are not half-human beings waiting to be grown-ups. As human beings they are entitled to have time and space to reflect on this matter of who they are in the world.

We see a great danger in thinking of education purely and simply in terms of national or international test scores. Such scores can only tell us what kind of teaching most suits that kind of test. It doesn’t tell us about anything that is not tested or cannot be tested. Yet, questions of how can I affect this material (clay, or words, or the body, for example) are crucial to how we proceed in this world. It is not sufficiently useful to simply know the world or to be able to describe it. We have to know why we are changing the world – for the good or the bad? We have to be in a position in which we can come up with ideas for improving people’s lives. We have to know what enables us to face danger, cruelty and terror. We have to know what enables us to have good times too! The arts enable us to do these things and much more.

However, it cannot ever be that we think of the arts as being ranked in some kind of league table – that, say, poetry is ‘better’ than pottery, or some such. Nor can we think of the arts as being best practised by those who are better off, or some such. We say, ‘all arts for all’.

ACA Round-table on Primary Education

The event was introduced by ACA chair, David Wood. This roundtable aimed to bring together children’s arts practitioners with schools that prioritise the arts. Vicky Ireland, Vice-Chair introduced ACA, which is currently working to draw up a list of best-practice primary schools. This resource will be drawn upon for advice and representation at arts advocacy events. This was followed by presentations from the school representatives

 

To read the full report click on this link Action for Children’s Arts Round Table 29042016

ACA Meeting with Arts Council England

ACA Meeting with Arts Council England

ACA meeting January 11th with  Anne Appelbaum and Lindsey Pugh Senior Officers Children, Young People and Learning at Arts Council England, with David Wood, Chair and Vicky Ireland Vice-Chair, as suggested by Sir Peter Bazalgette, Chair of Arts Council England.

Aim of meeting

To find out about ACE current activities and thinking
To introduce ACA to officers
To share concerns
To consider solutions

Click here to read the report.

 

 

 

Raising a question with the House of Lords

Raising a question with the House of Lords

ACA meeting with  Baroness Bonham Carter’s DCMS policy group at the House of Lords

David Wood (Chair) and Vicky Ireland (Vice Chair) were invited to speak to this group, thanks to Patron Baroness Floella Benjamin.  Baroness Jane Bonham Carter is the Lib Dem spokesperson for Culture, Media and Sport.  Between 15-20 people attended, a mixture of parliamentarians and outside individuals who are invited because they have a particular CMS interest.  The aim of the group is to identify policy areas the group can work on and formulate an approach to oral questions in the house.

The aim of our visit was to have a question raised on our behalf, in the House of  Lords.

Click here to read the report.

 

 

 

ACA Roundtable

ACA Roundtable

Earlier this year, ACA sent a survey to members asking them to suggest potential causes for a decline in professionally produced arts for children. The survey identified some key areas that need to be addressed, regarding restrictions in funding and limitations in the National Curriculum itself.

Survey respondents have been invited to attend a round table hosted by ACA at The Young Vic on Tuesday 22 September. In this session, we will discuss the issues presented, aim to find a sustainable course of positive action, and examine how ACA can help further raise the profile of children’s arts.

If you are interested in following the conversation, or contributing your own thoughts, follow us on Twitter @ChildrensArts and tweet us on the day using #….. You can also keep an eye on our website and Facebook page for updates after the event about findings, and future related action.

ACA Round Table Report