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Guest Editorial: A Space for Creative Education

Ollie Briggs from ArtsEdEx tells us all about the development of a successful collaborative Creative Arts programme with UCA and KaMCOP, as well as upcoming plans for a new centre for creative education.

Over the last year, we have worked alongside the Kent and Medway Collaborative Outreach Programme (KaMCOP) and the University for the Creative Arts(UCA) to develop and deliver an exciting programme for young people to raise aspirations and provide opportunities and pathways to continued education within the Arts. 

We have worked with 15 young people through a wide range of creative activities, including photography, film, music and performance and are looking forward to expanding this work to increase the impact for young people in our community.

We are excited about the continuation of this work for the next academic year, with the development of new programmes and building on our partnership with KaMCOP, which has been extremely successful and rewarding.

This year we ran a project called The Margate Exchange, offering an alternative creative curriculum for young people in Year 9 who struggle in mainstream settings. 

We worked with small groups at Turner Contemporary, one day a week for 12 weeks at a time and worked towards Bronze Arts Award. Young people with a range of needs, including ASD, Mental Health and ADHD, collaborated on various creative activities, developing their communication skills and understanding of their culture through creative learning.

There has been a positive response from all the young people involved and Hartsdown Academy Head Teacher, Matthew Tate, commented:

‘The collaboration with ArtsEdEx has been extremely successful. We sent some of our most disengaged students to the project and saw an increase in engagement in lessons and a corresponding decrease in poor Behaviour. We also had positive feedback from parents who saw the difference in their children. I am looking forward to further collaboration.’  

We are currently planning a second programme called The Exchange Curriculum, which will work with Year 12 students and provide an opportunity to work alongside successful creative practitioners to develop a portfolio of work to enable progression. The programme will provide evidence to achieve Gold Arts Award, which is worth 16 UCAS points.

As our provision grows we need a permanent space to work from so we are currently crowdfunding to set up a new centre for creative education in Margate. This is also a direct response to a lack of opportunities within the arts for young people in the area.

Recent research by NSEAD highlights the crisis that creative education faces. Set to the backdrop of austerity and Brexit, the proliferation of academies and the EBACC agenda have led to a dramatic drop in arts subject entries at exam level and a reduction in time allocation at Key Stage 3.

I set up Arts Education Exchange in 2017 to establish an alternative space for creative and cultural learning, after teaching in secondary schools for six years. The centre is in the heart of Cliftonville West, Margate, which has the highest levels of child poverty in Kent and the South East (End Poverty Now, 2018), and we develop work directly with disadvantaged groups of young people. We train them to use photography, film, animation, poetry, music and performance to address local issues, and the lack of opportunities for young people, through creative education.

We have received some high profile endorsements from Tracey Emin, Marcus Mumford (Mumford and Sons), and Frank Turner and were recently featured on BBC South East Today.

Please do take the time to watch our campaign video, share the page and if you can, pledge towards our vision for inclusive arts education.

You can find more information on the Arts Education Exchange website, or follow them on twitter @artsedxchange

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