News

What’s your pledge?

National charity Action for Children’s Arts is inviting children and young people from across the country to send in a pledge for children’s arts.

Submissions will be used to compile a short pledge-card. This will be issued to politicians nationwide in the run up to the General Election, asking them to guarantee their commitment to providing a future for children’s arts in the UK. Participants can either send in a written or recorded/filmed pledge. Our favourite entries will be compiled into a sound-bite to help spread the message.

 

Here is an example to get you started: “Every child, every year: a play, a concert, a gallery, a museum.”

 

WE WELCOME SUBMISSIONS FROM ANYONE AGED 16 OR UNDER. CLOSING DATE IS 7PM ON MONDAY 8 MAY 2017.

 

How to get involved:

 

  1. Write 25 words that you think make a strong, snappy statement in support of all children in the UK having the chance to watch and participate in creative activities such as music, art, drama or dance.
  2. Create a 15 second audio recording or film that makes a bold statement in support of all children in the UK having the chance to watch and participate in creative activities such as music, art, drama or dance.

Ask a parent/guardian/carer to email your entry to: mimi.doulton@childrensarts.org.uk

In your email please include:

  • Entrant’s name
  • Entrant’s age
  • Entrant’s hometown
  • Contact email address
  • Permission from a parent/guardian/carer to share your submission. If you have sent a video, please state whether or not we may use your image.

 

This information will not be shared at any stage in the process.

 Please note that only the audio will be used from filmed entries unless permission is granted to use your image.

Tony Gouveia Remembered

Tony Gouveia Remembered

It is with great sadness that we acknowledge the death of TYA practitioner, Tony Gouveia.
Tony was part of TYA and ASSITEJ UK for many years and recently became an Adviser for ACA.He was unique, hugely talented, charismatic and caring.
He was greatly loved and will be sorely missed.

TYA UK and ACA representatives attended his funeral.
He is a remembrance from his great friend and work colleague, David Johnston. Please click here to read it.

There will be a memorial for him in July, at the Arcola Theatre.

Details will be released nearer the time.

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 Supports Bach to Baby

ACA Supports Bach to Baby

The critically acclaimed classical series Bach to Baby, is set up by mum and pianist  Miaomiao Yu after becoming frustrated at not being able to take her children to the sort of quality classical music concerts that she regularly enjoyed as a professional musician.

Miaomiao, an award-winning pianist,  wanted to perform for her son in a concert setting, but found it unrealistic for many reasons, including the late nights.

“And then I thought, this is silly: why not play for him and his friends and other babies and toddlers, at a kid-friendly time? The idea grew from there,” said Miaomiao, who is also a professor of piano at the Guildhall School of Music and Drama.

Miaomiao set about to design a rigorous musical programme for babies that wouldn’t have been out of place at the Proms. Programming range from Bach to Barber, from Chopin to Shostakovich. “I didn’t want to dumb it down for children. Studies show the positive effects of classical music and children are like little sponges at this stage.  Why shouldn’t they be allowed to experience the same high calibre performances as that enjoyed by adults in the best concert halls of the world?”  asks Miaomiao.

“I’ve been bringing my son Aubrey to concerts since he was 2 weeks old. He listened and slept and bounced to music,” says the mother of two rambunctious boys.  “He is enthralled, and proves my theory that children will thrive in a concert setting as long as they are given the opportunity in the first place.”

Miaomiao was encouraged by the overwhelming response to her first concert — one fan posted this video on Twitter . Bach to Baby now performs in 46 venues across London, Surrey, Kent, Thames Valley, and Essex, with special events at the Queen’s Gallery, Buckingham Palace and the Royal Albert Hall.

Instead of playing at modest community halls,  venues with a specific sense of atmosphere were chosen. “I want babies to enjoy sophisticated music and that’s aided by fantastic atmosphere and acoustics, as well as fabulous guest artists, ” said Miaomiao, adding that exhausted parents deserve an inspiring setting as much as anyone.

Being a mum first and foremost, Miaomiao welcomes all the frenzy that comes along with being a parent of a young child. “It’s about Mozart and Bach, feeding and crying, and dancing to music  – all of it,” said Miaomiao. “We haven’t made it through a concert without at least one nappy change. That’s the way it should be,” she said.

Concerts run from weekday mornings and afternoons, as well as Saturdays in locations across the South East. Their pre-concert “ Monmouth Coffee Mingle” offers much needed calories and company for mums.

The JM Barrie Awards 2016

The JM Barrie Awards 2016
Thank you to everyone who was able to join us for our annual JM Barrie Award celebrations last week. As ever, it was a wonderful reminder of all there is to celebrate in children’s arts and we are very grateful to the BBC for hosting.
Congratulations to Michael Morpurgo OBE, recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award; Linda McClelland MBE, recipient of the Outstanding Contribution Award; and our five members award winners – Julian Butler, Nick Graham, Tom Jelley, AnneMarie MacDonald and Miaomiao Yu.
If you enjoyed the event as much as we did and are yet to become a member, please consider joining for only £30 a year: childrensarts.org.uk/join
To see more information on the day click here.

A Time to Dream

Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge.”

How do today’s children discover themselves and the world when everything has to be calculated, tested and evaluated? Where is our next Isaac Newton, lying under a tree, seeing the apple drop, and that sudden imaginative leap of realisation that there was such a thing as gravity? Are children given the space and time to explore, ponder and even be bored?

Politicians pursue higher and higher attainment in education but downplay the arts: music and drama are non-existent in many schools. So where does imagination fit? We are urged to admire the Tiger mother and the high achievers of Singapore. As with the Olympics, we want to be top, top, top and bathe vicariously in the incredible achievements of the very few, thinking, “that could be me if I only work hard enough.” In India, with its expanding middle class, children feel they must now get to nearly 100% in their exams if they are to make it into the small number of “top” universities. I had a long conversation with a twelve year old boy on his way back to one of India’s most prestigious schools. I asked him how he liked school, and he said with deep contempt, “I’m sick of it.”

I loved seeing children sitting on the beach by the sea in a recent blog – but hoped that they weren’t then having to collate their experiences; over analyse, articulate and compile their thoughts, for the sole purpose of being marked and assessed. Inspiration is the sister word to Imagination. It may only be 1% of the creative process, but without it……so if those children were on the beach to be inspired, then hooray! That should be our model. Writing is about communication; a tool for every child to give voice to who they are: their ideas; their take on the world. They can tell their stories and communicate their excitement, aspirations, humour, and troubles. I often visit schools where teachers tell me proudly that they have given me their best pupils – and how talented so and so is, but I want to cry out – no – give me your “lowest achievers”; they are the ones who need to find their voice.

Children can be desperately lacking in confidence, with low self esteem, who feel their own lives have no value. So I would put the arts and creativity firmly at the heart of the curriculum. They open doors; bring surprises and, we know, impacts on all their other work. If we, as teachers, can reveal to children, especially those imprisoned within inner city classrooms surrounded by high, barbed-wire fences, that there is an extraordinary world out there, and that the voice of every single one of them is important – no matter how stammering or timid – then we will uncork all their potential, and they will discover it for themselves. Give our children time to dream.

This post was kindly contributed by ACA Patron, Jamila Gavin. It was originally written for Arvon Teachers as Writers.

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