The Charity has supported a wide variety of Arts projects amounting to in excess of £7million. The main thing to emerge from all these initiatives is that when professional actors, musicians and artists who are passionate about what they do either visit schools or meet groups of pupils and teachers, it is nearly always a success. Schools and teachers are inspired and helped to think more creatively and imaginatively and artists get a kick out of communicating with the young.
There is a strong case for putting the Arts at the centre of education in schools. But what about the impact on the children themselves? We know less about that - hence the title of this conference - So Creativity? For whom and for what? It is perhaps the most important question. The aim of this conference, held at the Lyric Theatre, Hammersmith, was to explore the real impact of funding the arts in schools with a view to shaping future policy.
Arts Minister, Estelle Morris welcomed moves to unlock the creative potential in schools. Speaking at the conference Ms Morris told delegates, more than 80 creative movers and shakers, including headteachers, arts organisations, funders and the council, that she hoped others would follow their lead in making creativity in education a high priority. She said there was plenty of high quality arts work going on in schools but this wasn't always fully recognised or exploited.
The main subject under discussion at So Creativity... For whom and for what? was how schools and the LB Hammersmith & Fulham's arts team can work more effectively with arts organisations, venues and funders to create as many exciting opportunities as possible for schools. The conference comes as the borough is poised to form a Creative Partnership with Brent and Ealing - giving a major boost to the arts in schools across the three boroughs.
Organisations represented at So Creativity... For whom and for what? included theatre company Dramarama, which has worked with virtually every school in the borough and is currently planning a schools' celebration of Shakespeare, called Shakespeare Live, at the Lyric Hammersmith in September. Also represented was artists' collective ACAVA (Association for Cultural Advancement through Visual Art), whose members will be going into schools as part of the sculptors in residence programme.
Cllr David Williams, deputy for education, said: "This groundbreaking conference brought together some of the key players in our borough's vibrant arts scene, headteachers and leading education professionals from the council. Children and young people benefit enormously from what professional artists have to offer and are inspired by being given the chance to perform at high profile venues. This event gave everyone a chance to consider where we are now and how we can best develop the huge talent in our schools."