Art Inspiring Change

Schools project • Jan 2016 - July 2017

About Art Inspiring Change

In 2016, Turner Contemporary launched a unique project supported by the Paul Hamlyn Foundation, The Art Fund and Southeastern. The project enabled 70 primary school children to become Young Arts Leaders (YALs), to transform neglected sites in the town and to inspire others in their community to get involved in the arts. The programme also trained 20 parents to support children’s leadership, and culminated in Artgate, a community wide celebration day across four sites in Margate.

The Young Arts Leaders

Seventy Young Arts leaders (YALs) from four Margate primary schools: Holy Trinity and St John’s Primary, Northdown Primary, Palm Bay Primary and Salmestone Primary were challenged to creatively transform a disused area near their school. They were supported by teachers, parents, artists, a philosopher, Turner Contemporary’s team and the wider community.

The programme has made a difference to the way that 70 children connect and communicate with their community. They have developed high level skills in spoken language, critical thinking and creating art in public spaces. These children have become more confident, more resilient, and more visible. They have changed the way that their community sees them – as young leaders and artists. They have changed the way that their community engages with the arts, and with Turner Contemporary. They have changed the way that those making strategic decisions for the community engage with children. They have found a way to be heard, through their art.

For a detailed look at the project, click here to download the AIC final report

We were, like, ‘Can we do it? Will we do it?’ and then ‘We are doing it’ and then ‘We have done it! We are amazing

Young Arts Leader

Project Highlights:

  • Children recruited the project artists, from writing the job advert to interviewing the candidates.
  • Over the course of the project the YALs worked with artists Emily Motto, Adam James, Sam Curtis and Willow Mitchell, as well as filmmakers Philippa Ndisi-Herman and Adrian Smith.
  • Navigators Lucy Pettet, Bob Henderson, Sue Rumsey and Lizzie Gove were each paired with an artist to work with one of four primary school groups, every week over 18 months, leading 46 sessions overall. There were additional sessions for delivering Arts Award too.
  • In June 2016 the YALs came together for a joint takeover day in the gallery with 2000 visitors in attendance.
  • The YALs made two visits to present at the Thanet District Council Chambers, and YALs from each school represented Turner Contemporary at the Houses of Parliament, Tate Modern, and a visit to Phyllida Barlow’s studio.
  • The YALs attended a consultation day and the project launch with Lemn Sissay as their guest.
  • The YALs, artists, navigators, teachers, families and wider community came together for the culmination of the project, Artgate, with events taking place at each of the four transformed sites.
  • Staff at the four schools were offered Philosophy for Children training, and twenty parents were trained to support children’s leadership on a new Creative Enablers course. This was written and delivered in partnership by the Workers Education Association (City and Guilds Level One). Nine of the graduates went on to achieve a level 2 qualification.

Download the Art Inspiring Change timeline

The best thing for me has been that my perspective on life has changed. My mind is more open. I can now talk like an adult, call myself a Young Arts Leader and an artist

Young Arts Leader

Art Inspiring Change Gallery