Creating opportunities through collaboration

MADE, Manchester’s Cultural Education Partnership shares how connecting arts, education and youth organisations creates new opportunities for creativity in schools

Manchester’s Cultural Education Partnership (MADE) is a collaboration between arts, education and youth organisations across the city which launched in March 2020, a week before the first national lockdown. Our aim is to bring arts and culture to every young person in Manchester, and to help teachers to enrich their lessons with a creative curriculum.

We’ve made big steps towards achieving this through the collaborative approach and drive of our 15 schools and 23 cultural organisations who make up the core partnership. Since March 2020, we’ve kickstarted 27 different participation projects, from our creative challenge video series ‘Unlock Your Imagination’ to a series of wallpapers made by pupils inspired by the Black Lives Matter movement, which are now touring schools and engaging hundreds of local young people. In this blog we want to share how MADE’s collaborative approach between arts, education and youth organisations has opened up new opportunities for young people and encouraged schools to teach for creativity.

Developing opportunities for young people

Digital resources for the classroom

The Creative Curriculum task group establishes partnerships between schools and cultural organisations to infuse creativity across the subjects of the National Curriculum.

Last year, partnerships addressed subjects ranging from Poetry to PSHE to Dance, and themes included Black Lives Matter, Mancunian heroes and local nature. This year, young people identified that they wanted partnerships to explore a shared theme: Climate Change.

You can see some of the digital resources created out of the partnerships on our website, which are available for teachers to download and use in the classroom.

Why not try this activity, created by the Manchester Art Gallery and local artist Venessa Scott, which prompts pupils to explore the story and words of Sarah Parker Remond – an American lecturer, activist and abolitionist campaigner, who delivered one of her most inspiring speeches here in Manchester in 1859 – before creating collage art inspired by her speeches.

Your City, Your Culture

Last year, MADE’s 15-21 year old Creative Influencers reflected on their shared anxieties about the re-opening of culture in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic. Despite enjoying visiting cultural venues, they feared feeling like ‘imposters’.

The group explored their concerns and spoke to different partners across MADE, eventually working with a creative facilitator and local artist to create a 7-point Call-to-Action which they hope encourages other young people to overcome their reservations and anxieties and visit Manchester’s cultural venues.

You can see their Manifesto here, or visit the Whitworth art gallery’s School of Creativity space on the mezzanine to see the display in person!

Encouraging teaching for creativity

Jo Sliwa, Director of Creative Arts at Abraham Moss High School reflects on how MADE encourages teaching for creativity:

“We are all aware of the marginalisation of the arts in schools. I’m interested in how we challenge the notion that the arts should be reserved for extra curricular activity. They are fundamental. It’s not about separating academics and the arts, it’s about valuing both and educating the whole person.

Children have different skills and different joys. We need to cater for all of them. Every child needs that moment when they love something and find out they are good at it. Whether it’s writing an essay or being in a play. We all have to find our spot.”

MADE: Manchester's Cultural Education Partnership, a collaboration between arts, education and youth organisations across the city. We create meaningful cultural learning experiences and work together to ensure all children and young people have the creative ability to flourish.

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