Create, Aspire, Transform

Thanks to project funding from Paul Hamlyn Foundation, we worked closely with four North Northumberland schools on a visual arts learning and engagement programme which started in April 2018 and finished in December 2019. The project aimed to support teachers and pupils to work with visual arts in new ways and for some, to engage with visual artists and galleries for the very first time. The programme full evaluation and summary report can now be downloaded below.

During the first phase of the Create, Aspire, Transform North Northumberland Schools Cultural Education Leadership Programme, we worked with Tweedmouth Middle School and St Cuthbert’s First School. Activities included an artist working in both schools over the course of a week and pupils visited BALTIC in Gateshead during the Great Exhibition of the North during the summer 2018. Teachers undertook CPD training led by Northumbria University and a joint schools exhibition called Sense of Place was held at Berwick Museum & Art Gallery.

All the Year 7’s at Tweedmouth Middle School worked with artist Louise Bradley who introduced them to printmaking. Whilst artist Sally Madge introduced sculpture to St Cuthbert’s First School pupils, working across school from Year 1 up to Year 4. The pupils had introductory days working with Louise and Sally in preparation for the full week held towards the end of the summer term. They also visited galleries and carried out research on the theme of a Sense of Place; collecting information, thinking about their school, their home and their locality ready for when the artists returned. The schools had a joint exhibition of their work showing the work of 125 pupils at Berwick Museum & Art Gallery which was held from 11 to 14 July 2018.

Continuing professional development sessions for participating teachers were delivered by Northumbria University’s Fine Art Department and these ran throughout the programme. Peer sharing sessions were organised with teachers in other schools to extend the learning. In September 2018 two new schools, Spittal First School and Holy Trinity First School, joined Phase 2 of the programme.

Phase 2 of the programme involved four artists Paul Merrick, Louise Bradley, Nicola Lynch and Graham Patterson working with the four participating schools and 381 pupils during May and June 2019. A second Sense of Place exhibition was held at The Gymnasium Gallery from Thursday 6 to Sunday 9 June 2019, more information about the activity and exhibition of the second stage can be found here.

For more information please contact Val Tobiass, Learning and Engagement Manager (Schools).

The Create Aspire Transform Programme full evaluation report can be downloaded here.

The Create Aspire Transform Programme summary report can be downloaded here.

Testing child-centred evaluation methods through artist-led activities in school

In 2022, Participatory Evaluation Funding from Northumbria University enabled an extension of CAT’s activities to stimulate and embed creative cultural learning within schools. The funding enabled innovative child-centred, creative evaluation approaches to be tested, working with Dr Judy Thomas from Northumbria University.

Year 4 pupils from Spittal Community First School took part in printmaking workshops led by artist Louise Bradley. The impact of this activity was assessed and measured by filming pupils engaged in the workshops; pupils had control of the filming process which included their use of GoPro cameras. The research explored the value of creative cultural learning from the pupil’s perspective as a basic skill for educational, social, and emotional attainment.