The Future of Art + Design Education

‘The Future of Art + Design Education’ was a fun and inspiring night exploring how art and design influences, affects and is responsible for so many parts of the world around us.

Our CEO Luisa took part in this event where speakers where asked to do 20x20 challenge talks - 20 slides // 20 seconds each, accompanied by short films and live entertainment, all curated around the theme.

1. I am sure I am not the only one here today that has many hats- I sell beer, a make lanterns, I run an arts charity. I do not have the obvious qualifications to do my job, I didn’t study art at degree level, and certainly don’t have the business, accountancy, marketing and management, general all rounder certificates to prove the skills we use everyday in our jobs.

2. I didn’t go to art galleries when I little, I didn’t have parents who encouraged my creativity or my career choices in life, I was somewhat left to my own devices when it came to making choices. This didn’t denote a lack of love or happiness in my childhood but actually a freedom and trust given to me, unconsciously from a very early age.

3. So I went about drawing, painting, volunteering, fundraising and adventuring from as early as I can remember. I took every opportunity, sought out new experiences and carved out a life, a creative life, for myself.

In this time of decreasing creative opportunity at school we look to the parents to encourage and provide experiences.

4. My Dad came late, after everyone was gone, to my art A level show. We had not discussed University choices. But my art teacher told me later he looked at my work and asked her why I hadn’t chosen art as my choice at University. He never said this to me, and we never discussed what was available or suited me.

5. No one told me where to go or how to get there. Parents are one avenue to increasing our reach to the next generation of makers. However the knowledge of the sector and value of the arts sits below a list of 10 other things across most classes and cultures. And most of us don’t listen to our parents anyway.

6. I suggest we need to do 2 things- raise awareness across society of where people are already encountering creativity everyday. Therefore build an understanding of how the arts can touch and affect all of us, and put opportunity and choice into the hands of our children and young people.

“Without freedom, there is no creation,”

7. I truly believe to be a human is to be creative- they are one and part of the same thing. I also believe that providing a freedom and trust to our children and young people to make choices, to explore, to be bored, to play will cultivate a drive and creativity. Einstein said “Creativity is contagious. Pass it on.”

8. When was the last time you provided an opportunity for someone? Be it to go and play outside with no time constraints, offering a space for free to be used however that person sees fit, an open brief for a creative workshop? Through Ignite Imaginations we have run a number of projects where we have done just that- somewhereto_ allowed us to open up spaces in the city, for young people to use for free.

9. We also gave support, advice so young people could try out new creative ideas, to take risks and know there was someone else there who cared.

10. From Sean Morley and his comedy nights to Sam Holland and his solo performance, to Ellie Ragdale and her handmade cinema workshops to Middle Child Theatre company in Hull. We provided space, freedom and self directed support that helped these young people start on their creative career journeys.

11. We also help people over 50 start their own projects in the community. We have supported an 86 year old start a martials arts classes to a group of Pakistani women start a gardening group. Both projects, and indeed most of our work as a organisation with participation at its heart seeks to create a place, to just be, to create, to use ones imagination, to lead the way.

12. Sharrow lantern carnival is another opportunity for this- free workshops, a theme is set but the floor is yours. The event is the some of its parts, an audience member can also be a maker, participant, volunteer, artist. When do we get these chances anymore to play and produce? To feel like we are the artists in spite of our career paths and qualifications.

13. Most people attending the carnival or attending our workshops will not see themselves as artists, yet they are producing and exhibiting work. Professionalism, qualifications and quality work is 100% needed within our society but for more people to feel that the arts is an option for them, we need to bring creativity to the everyday.

14. You watch Games of Thrones, the royal wedding, the news, you read Now Then, the Mirror, Cosmo, you sit on a chair, you use a computer, you decorate your house. We- all of us, are affected by an artist everyday. Someone writes, designs, engineers, creates, imagines everything around us.

15. Most people in the room know and understand this. But when was the last time you raised this at the kitchen table with your kids, showed a young person around your organisation and explained what everyone did, how they got there or joined campaign like 64 million artists?

16. We run a cultural ambassador programme for 14 years olds across the region. They get to see what different arts organisations do, what skills are in the team and what paths the staff took. This provides inspiration, a new knowledge and an opportunity to see the arts behind the artists, dancers and musicians.

17. It also builds up the understanding that things aren’t linear, that a psychology degree can equal running an arts organisation, that mistakes do happen and that lanterns can be wonky! Nothing has a straight line. Picasso said “Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.”

18. We have a responsibility as artists and arts organisations to create that opportunity and freedom for growth and exploration. If I believe to be human is to be creative then I also believe I have a right to choose the arts within my education.

19. I should have the freedom and trust put upon me that I can carve out my career as I see fit. If science was taken off the curriculum someone would have be taken to court. Between now and the court cases we should all be planning ask yourself who can you give a new opportunity to this week.

20. How can you create more space for your imagination within your daily life and what can you do locally to bring creative activity, pride and awareness to your neighbour’s everyday culture. How can you Ignite an Imagination?