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“The art was more creative than we do at school. We didn’t have to follow the lines. We could choose how to do things.” – Year 5 Pupil, Whitstable Junior School

As part of the UK-wide Start Programme funded by charity Children & the Arts, Turner Contemporary has worked with five schools in Whitstable, Herne Bay and Reculver to offer creative experiences and access to world class art. Start supports arts organisations to run projects that draw upon their particular expertise to benefit the specific needs of schools in their local community.

“Providing high quality, artistic experiences for pupils is vital. Not only does it inspire creativity but it empowers students and raises their aspirations.  As research shows that the arts and creative subjects are being given less time and resource in schools, we are committed to connecting with hundreds more schools and thousands of pupils as we approach Turner Prize 2019.” – Karen Eslea, Head of Learning and Visitor Experience at Turner Contemporary

Across 2017/18, the gallery connected with 435 pupils as part of the Start programme. Taking a major exhibition of artist and poet Jean Arp as inspiration, the pupils used his art and writing as a starting point. They worked together over a period of several months, both at Turner Contemporary and in their schools, to create an animation sequence which incorporated poetry, characterisation, music and movement. Reflecting on the experience, one Year 5 Pupil at Whitstable Junior School said “it felt like we were special… like we could be artists too…”

Secondary Students from The Whitstable School worked with a fashion designer, using artists as a starting point to create their own experimental wearable pieces. Primary School pupils worked collaboratively between the partner schools across a variety of art forms including sound, storytelling and animation to create a film that brought all of their ideas together.

You can watch the final animation that they created on our YouTube channel here.

“I have always been passionate about Art and creative writing, but it can be something that is hard to 'teach', as, clearly, we want to encourage independent ideas and allow personal imagination to take charge. I now feel that I am far more able to tackle this in a way that will give structure to those who need it, but freedom to those who want to express themselves.” – Sarah, Teacher, Whitstable Junior School

In 2018/19 Turner Contemporary is going into their third year of working with these five schools as part of the Start programme, reaching over 1,200 children and young people. This year’s Start will see pupils, students and teachers reflecting on their personal experience of growing up and living by the sea in connection with the gallery’s 2019 summer exhibition, Seaside Photographed. The work produced across the schools will be exhibited in the gallery during the summer season. 

This project was supported by the charity Children & the Arts, Artswork, the South East Bridge, as well as Southeastern trains who provided free train travel for all participating students.

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Posted by: Turner Contemporary on Thu 4 Oct 2018