Aspiration and inspiration galore at Birmingham academies

Dance programme aims to show opportunities to schoolchildren.

Over the next month, two Birmingham academy schools will be raising the aspirations of their pupils as part of a creative programme to widen their pupil’s horizons. Oasis Academy Hobmoor, Yardley and Oasis Academy Short Heath, Erdington will participate in Aspire, offering their pupils a range of experiences connecting the school to the institutions of the city and undertaking activities to unlock their potential.

Pottery paintingThe Aspire programme has been devised by Coventry-based digital-dance company Mercurial Dance which aims to sow the seeds for the children’s ambitions for tomorrow and the years to come.

Oasis Academy Hobmoor which has taken part in the programme over the last two years will run a week-long programme, including trips to Coventry Cathedral, the University of Birmingham, Birmingham Museum & Art Gallery and Ikon Gallery. Guest speakers will include young entrepreneur Blessing Maragere; The Feast, working to promote community cohesion between young people of different faiths and cultures, and Reverend Clive Fowle, Coordinator of Touch of Hope whose mission is the long term healing of the hurts of war in Croatia, Serbia and Bosnia.

Paul Tarry, Principal of Oasis Academy Hobmoor, said, “At the Academy we are dedicated to exploring different ways in which to inspire our pupils, showing them the opportunities that are open to them and helping to raise their aspirations. This week especially is about our children enjoying a wonderful wealth of experiences that will encourage them to think big about their futures, and what they’d like to strive for.”

Oasis Academy Short Heath will be participating in Aspire and working with Mercurial Dance for the first time this year. Their pupils will undertake a month programme of trips, activities and visits from speakers. Pupils across the school will visit Thinktank, Birmingham Science Museum; The Potteries Museum, Stoke on Trent and connect with their local community through litter picking, visiting care homes and. The children will get creative with Bhangra workshops and ceramicist Elaine Lim-Newton will be working in collaboration with pupils to create a new sculpture for the school.

Mercurial Arts’ Artistic Director Oliver Scott, added, “There are some great cultural venues in the city, which are free. Through Aspire we enable children to broaden their horizons, experience these for the first time and feel confident that these are places they can be part of.

“Aspire is expanding, we’d like to make this a national theme where children think and act positively about their ambitions and futures; commit and connect to their communities. Think what a future this country will have if all our young people are fully engaged, informed and taking positive steps to fulfil their aspirations.”

This is the third year Mercurial Dance have worked with Oasis Academy Hobmoor. They have previously explored complex topics such as neuroscience through dance, and this year, led the innovative Every Child is an Artist, a three year project bringing professional artists into the school to develop skills, creativity and confidence.

Cover pic (c) Toni Kerr