At its simplest, our aim is to get more people making art and culture everyday.
Making art can have huge pay-offs for wellbeing, equality as well as the economy.
By getting more people making art, we aim to:
- Contribute to the nation’s wellbeing
- Upskill young people and invest them with cultural capital
- Make art inclusive, not exclusive
- Drive diversity into arts leadership
- Meet the 21st century skills challenge
WELLBEING is a fundamental need. When we feel well, everything else in life seems much easier.
Just 45 minutes of making art can reduce cortisol, the stress hormone. Reduced stress levels support positive mental health and create happier communities. This means less lost time at work, higher productivity, better concentration and better performance at school. Art works for wellbeing and for the economy.
SKILLS: Arts and cultural learning develops skills beyond those specific to the creative industries
- The creative arts offer powerful tools for exploring and thinking about the world. One of the by products is mindfulness.
- Cultural learning offers a powerful tool for developing empathy for other communities. Important by products include respect and tolerance.
- Creative design thinking is a powerful problem-solving tool. One of the by products is resilience.
- Designing and making increases realisation of one’s own capacity to act and is incredibly empowering. An important by product is taking more civic responsibility.
- And lastly we cannot underestimate the satisfaction and self-belief that comes from the act of making, resulting in an increased sense of wellbeing.
INCLUSIVITY: The benefits of an arts-rich education are immense. Cultural capital opens doors.
We believe every child has the right to benefit from an arts rich education. It’s a social justice issue. All children deserve to get their best start in life to maximise opportunities for success.
We make art accessible by offering a range of ways to be creative from free cultural events to regular art classes. We can tailor projects to suit social groups, work environments or schools. We bring the facility to make art to you.
Drive diversity into arts leadership
In order for the arts to truly benefit all sectors of society, we need to have diversity in arts leadership roles. Only when we have that diversity can we hope to truly reflect our constantly evolving society. As a BAME led arts organisation, we are well placed to actively combat cultural prejudice against the arts and drive uptake of the arts amongst ethnic minorities.
Skills for the 21st century
We also need to look to the future. Faced with the meteoric rise of digital, measuring success by testing recall of knowledge will not prepare our children for 21st century challenges. The competition for our children’s jobs will come from Artificial Intelligence. We cannot compete with the data processing speed of computers nor should we try.
Our competitive edge in the future will come from our humanity, our “hearts”. It is the qualities that make us different to computers–imagination, creativity, feelings, empathy and the ability to collaborate with others that will be the sought-after skills. The arts develop these skills the best.
There is nothing to lose when embracing the arts but everything to gain.
If you don’t believe in art for art’s sake, believe in art for heart’s sake.
OUR STORY by Kamaljit and Mukesh
We know first-hand how high quality arts and cultural learning improves young lives. Having worked with thousands of young people in post 16 education over 25 years, we would see that by age 16, some students were disengaged with education and lacked self-belief. Some had been pushed towards the arts as a last resort. On connecting with the arts, these young people would often flourish way beyond expectations. Not only in the arts, but also achieving success in previously failed subjects such as Maths and English.
We felt that diminishing emphasis on arts in the curriculum and the rise of digital technologies was creating a time bomb, with rising mental health issues as early warning signs. The “human” arts elements of learning help young people to explore how they feel (like therapy) before therapy is needed.
In 2015, we both left full-time jobs in formal education. As artist educators we felt we could make opportunities for children to engage in high quality arts and cultural learning at a much earlier age in the community. We wanted to give those young people who were inspired by the arts, the same timely opportunities as their peers. If they could focus on their strengths and develop self-belief, they wouldn’t need to go through school thinking they were not good at anything.
Our philosophy, firmly grounded in education practice, with award winning results, embodies the distilled experience of almost 30 years in arts education helping young people achieve success.
Awards and Commendations
2008 LSIS Star Award Finalist (Mukesh Kumar) recognition for innovation in further education
2011 TES FE Award for Outstanding Innovation in Teaching and Learning for the FEED initiative
2015 The FEED model spawned further initiatives within the college which were subsequently cited as models of best practice in Sharing Innovative Approaches and Overcoming Barriers in Delivering 16-19 Study Programmes’ Principles Nfer/DfE, April 2015)