Creativity is in all of us
Artsmark Partner, People Express, is a small professional participatory arts organisation based in Swadlincote, Derbyshire. With a small team of four based in a semi-rural area, Programmes Manager Hema Mistry, explains that size and location is no barrier to engaging with Artsmark.
We are all creative in some shape or form, yet we hear “I’m not very creative” from participants who associate the arts and creativity to a traditional art class at school. We want to challenge that view for our children and young people in and around South Derbyshire. We want to support our schools, so they celebrate and experience all the different art forms including film-making, graffiti, ceramics, silk painting and many more!
"People Express provided myself with the boost of inspiration I needed to move forward and have provided unforgettable experiences for our children." Overseal Primary School
Our small team and semi-rural location does bring certain challenges such as lack of resources including staffing and funding. But we made a conscious decision to have a member of staff as our dedicated Artsmark lead to ensure schools have a direct point of contact. As the only arts organisation and National Portfolio Organisation in the district, we feel we have an important role to ensure we have a varied offer that works not only for schools but provides additional opportunities for our young people. We also invest time to applying for funding that best supports our schools. For example, the Artsmark Adventure was a pilot project funded by our regional Bridge organisation, The Mighty Creatives, to deliver free creative CPD training for teachers.
There are so many benefits of working within a smaller community. We have found that word of mouth amongst teachers is a powerful tool in sharing our work. We endeavour to maintain relationships with one member of staff at every school, only achievable because of the size of our district, so we are building long-lasting relationships. Our advice is always free, we don’t charge for our support. And once that relationship is built, we are there to continue working with schools even after they gain their Artsmark Award.
“I always look forward to opening my emails from Hema as they usually contain exciting opportunities for us to share with the children!” Pennine Way Junior Academy
So, there is no better time to thank our schools, and to make new connections, than during Artsmark Celebration Week.
We believe it is vital to celebrate the arts in education and the important role that schools play in developing creativity in children. This is especially true when you live in a town or village that doesn’t have the same cultural offer as cities. Schools are often the first opportunity that children get to work with an artist or company that can fuel a lifelong love of the arts.
Any cultural organisation, arts practitioner, or venue can become an Artsmark Partner. It doesn’t matter how big or small you are. If you have a creative or cultural offer, you can support schools on their Artsmark journey. So, I urge both organisations and schools to take that first step and it all starts by simply asking to meet for a cup of tea and cake!
Click here for more information about People Express.