Whilst Director of Creative and Performing Arts at Matthew Boulton College in Birmingham, Mukesh Kumar was responsible for a range of high-profile celebrations that recognised the power of arts and culture to engage and excite audiences, (not necessarily enamoured of the arts) through a whole range of creative projects. Artforms ranged from visual arts, dance, theatre, music, spoken word, design, multimedia through to less traditional forms like aerial trapeze and made the most of local connections and heritage.

Impact: ‘Creating a New Landscape’ spearheaded radical transformation in further education nationally with its innovative mix of exciting contemporary design, careful branding and nurturing of distinct identities for sub-groups within the college. This celebration of sub-cultures supported under-represented groups to feel uniquely recognised, heard and valued. Consequently, the college saw a reduction in anti-social behaviour/greater engagement from the student body which translated into real results: success rates across all creative courses (+10% in one year), higher progression onto university, higher levels of student satisfaction. Creative staff sickness rate half that of the College.

National recognition for FEED: TES Award for Outstanding Innovation in Teaching and Learning (2011)

Social Value: With high levels of deprivation in an inner-city college community, large proportions of under-represented groups, the project contributed substantially to social mobility, employability, civic responsibility (more likely to vote/volunteer … see Key findings from the Cultural Learning Alliance.

The pioneering work at BMet spawned a number of initiatives based on the same model as FEED. These were cited as good practice by the Department for Education in their report ‘Sharing Innovative Approaches and Overcoming Barriers in 16-19 Learning’ Nfer/DfE, April 2015.

As a result of managing highly successful high profile events, Mukesh continued to be entrusted with this role when promoted to Vice Principal, covering a period of 10 years.

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