In our latest blog, Collection Assistant, Emii Alrai, reports from the recent Arts Council Collection Curators’ Day, Curating the Classroom. The event, which featured presentations from a range of UK arts organisations, including Hepworth Wakefield, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and Art UK, to explore an array of innovative approaches to arts education projects.
Curating The Classroom brought together a range of arts engagement specialists, teachers and gallery professionals to discuss the intricacies, legacies and challenges of arts education at a time when arts education is consistently cut in the school curriculum. The day kicked off with a welcome from Natalie Walton, Arts Council Collection’s Learning and Outreach Manager, who asked the audience to reflect on a personal and pivotal experience with art. This would become a thread throughout the day, returned to by each presentation.
Natalie’s introduction was followed by a keynote presentation led by Nicola Freeman, Director of Learning and Engagement, and Victoria Boome, Senior Learning Manager, at The Hepworth Wakefield. Nicola introduced the School Prints campaign, an initiative inspired by the 1940s scheme to make art accessible. Brenda and Derek Rawnsley made printed reproductions of works from their collection to increase access and understanding. The Hepworth Wakefield commissioned 6 artists - Martin Creed, Jeremy Deller, Anthea Hamilton, Haroon Mirza, Helen Marten and Rose Wylie - to create limited edition prints. These prints were then reproduced and distributed to 6 partner pilot schools across Wakefield to enhance the curriculum, supported by a dedicated CPD programme for teachers.