Celebrating the creative pulse of east London

November 30, 2017

We were delighted to celebrate and champion creativity in east London schools for the second year running, as 140 cultural leaders, arts practitioners, cultural education experts, teachers, senior leaders, and students came together for a day of shared inquiry, learning, conversation and connection at Stratford Circus Arts Centre and University of East London.

Participants brought unique experiences and expertise from over 70 east London organisations including primary and secondary schools, special schools, FE and HE organisations, arts venues, local authorities, music education hubs, and strategic bodies.

A game of ‘Meet and greet bingo’ kicked off the event and got participants mingling, chatting, laughing, sharing experiences, and even practicing their drawing skills, which set the tone for a day of fun, creativity and discussion of how we can work together to ensure high quality arts experiences for all children and young people living and going to school in east London.

An exciting programme of speakers, practical workshops and discussions with arts, education and funding experts brought teachers and arts leaders together around a range of inspiring topics:

  • now>press>play delivered a dynamic session in which participants donned a pair of #pinkheadphones to explore igniting imaginations, inspiring writing, extending life experiences and developing discussion skills in the classroom.
  • Elmhurst Primary School led a session sharing learning of how the Artsmark Statement of Commitment has helped clarify opportunities to develop the arts further at the school and grow the curriculum.
  • Barking & Dagenham Cultural Education Partnership, A New Direction, and East London Cultural Education Alliance shared insights on models of Cultural Education Partnerships in east London and beyond.
  • University of East London‘s Drama, Applied Theatre Department and Performance team hosted a session exploring their experiences of developing pathways and progression routes into further education and the creative sector.  Click here to read their blog about the session.
  • London Legacy Development Corporation and UCL Culture led a discussion about the exciting plans for the Culture and Education District in the Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park which includes Sadler’s Wells, the V&A, UCL and UAL alongside Here East and Loughborough University.
  • Urban Development shared insights into how the urban music industry can be used to increase student engagement and inspire learning within different learning contexts.
  • Education expert Anita Kerwin-Nye took teachers and cultural practitioners on a whistle-stop tour of school structures and current education influences combined with practical solutions to co-producing projects and funding applications together.  Click here to read her blog and access a template for building a case for support.
  • A panel of youth leadership experts and young people including Sound Connections, Fran Gkotsi, Sarah Bonnell School, Barbican, Croydon Youth Arts Collective, and UEL students explored effective and authentic youth leadership approaches and the impact it can have – including an inspiring performance by Mia Cunningham, who became the first young person’s poet laureate at age 14.

Speakers included Tania Wilmer, Director of Stratford Circus Arts Centre, and Sean Gregory, Director of Learning and Engagement for Barbican / Guildhall School of Music & Drama, with facilitation from Richard Watts, Director of People Make it Work.  In between sessions, participants were serenaded by the Y5 class from Gallions Primary School, and had a chance to see some of the incredible artworks created through Creative Schools projects, including the mesmerizing bell jar creatures made by Canonbury Primary students working with SDNA.

The day concluded with ‘True Stories from Classroom’, hosted by popular storytelling podcast Spark London.  The session encouraged teachers and arts practitioners to get inspired and share tales and tips for delivering arts activities to children and young people in the classroom.

It was inspiring to see so many organisations come together to learn, share and strengthen commitment and access to creative opportunities for young people in east London – and we look forward to seeing the ideas, projects and conversations continue from all the new connections that were made.

Check out some of our favourite comments, tweets and feedback below and watch this space for more sharing from the day!

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