Inspiring curious minds

Two-year programme of socially engaged art making and engagement

The Contemporary Art Space Project will launch in the autumn term 2019 in partnership with Iniva, the Institute of International Visual Arts. Through a collaborative process with pupils and their teachers we will see outdoor contemporary art spaces created in three RSA schools: Abbeywood First School, Holyhead School and Arrow Vale RSA Academy.

Young people will work with a curator and artists from culturally-diverse backgrounds to explore social issues through the theme of ‘oracy’ over a year and will develop new artistic understanding alongside supporting literacy, oracy and social and emotional awareness. The artworks will help schools and young people develop and articulate their own identity, and strengthen schools’ links with their communities.

The Contemporary Art Space Project will run for two academic years. During the autumn term the project will be launched in school and a group of pupils invited to join a steering group, with the support of a lead teacher. The steering group will follow a process developed from Iniva Creative Learning’s ArtLab programme using the emotional learning cards developed by Iniva and A Space to stimulate and inspire conversations with the artist, an art therapist and curator. The artist will create a site-specific work that will be installed early in the spring term in response to the pupils’ ideas and extend their own practice.

For the spring and summer terms the whole school will be invited to engage with the artwork – producing further creative works in response and using the work as stimulus for teaching across different subjects, creatively connecting with the school curriculum and extra-curricular activities. Alongside this RSA Academies and the curator will produce a programme of talks and events to engage the school, parents and the local community.

Our aim is to determine how this project might prove to be a replicable, inspiring model that influences the practices of other schools and arts organisations to increase whole school engagement in arts and cultural learning through socially engaged practice, especially for disadvantaged pupils.

About contemporary art
‘Contemporary art’ is the term used for art of the present day. Usually the artists are alive and still making work. In this project we are working with living, practicing artists.

About our partner
Iniva is a visual arts organisation dedicated to developing an artistic programme that reflects on the social and political impact of globalisation and works predominantly with British-born and British-based visual artists of African and Asian descent.

With grateful thanks for the generous support from The Foyle Foundation, Saintbury Trust and the Elmley Foundation.

Banner image by Ian Williams on Unsplash.

Schools involved:

Abbeywood First School

Arrow Vale RSA Academy

Holyhead School

Project details:

Date Started September 2019
Date Finished October 2021
Project Funder Foyle Foundation, Saintbury Trust, RSA Academies