Birmingham students in unique arts project

Innovative creative partnership transforming city school.

Over the next academic year, pupils at Oasis Academy Hobmoor, Yardley in Birmingham will be working in unique partnership with a group of resident arts professionals. Led by Coventry-based digital-dance company Mercurial Dance, the Every Child Is An Artist programme will develop creative skills and the artistic ability of every child, and also create a space for art and creativity to flourish at the primary school.

Each school term will focus on a different aspect of creativity whilst investigating the theme ‘What is it like to be a young person growing up in Yardley today?’ Working every week with the team, the first term will see children exploring digital technology. Pupils will learn how to build a virtual 3D world online, creating films and avatars – their own online personalities – to populate it. Children will also use technology such as Makey Makey in fun ways in order to learn to hack and code objects. This could include turning a bunch of bananas into a keyboard, or hearing what a plant sounds like when you stroke a leaf. The remaining terms will see pupils explore the visual arts and performance.

Every term will end with an exhibition or performance to showcase the work of the whole school to the wider community in Yardley and beyond. These showcases aim to emphasise the school’s place in local community and show the creativity and ‘voice’ of the young people who attend.

At the end of the year, all children will have earned an Arts Award, a qualification managed by Trinity College London and Arts Council England that is designed to build confidence and prepare for further education and employment.

Paul Tarry, Principal at Oasis Academy Hobmoor said: “We are so excited about the whole project and the opportunities for our children to explore genuinely cutting edge technology and techniques, with practicing artists of the highest calibre. Already we have seen the children make amazing progress, and seen the engagement and enjoyment in the classes. We think it is going to change the children’s outlook and have a massive impact on their creative skill and the fun that they have in school.”

This is the third year Mercurial Arts have worked with the school, having previously explored complex topics such as neuroscience through dance, and led a week of inspirational talks from professionals such as MPs, company executives and artists as well as workshops and trips, to raise pupils aspirations and explore how they can change their lives and the world around them.