Blog: Our experience of Artsmark

08 October 2018

Our experience of Artsmark

By Michelle Makepeace, Swansfield Park Primary School

Our experience of Artsmark has taken us on a pro-active, but at the same time, extremely reflective journey. We have achieved more than we thought we ever would over the course of the two years, from signing up to Artsmark to achieving our Gold award. 

Establishing new partnerships with The Forge and Culture Bridge North East has kept us ‘in the loop’ with new and exciting projects. Last year, a group of Year 3 children took part in an inter-generational World War 2 project. The project was based at a local care home and led by three local professional artists over the course of two terms. During this time, each child was paired up with one resident. This allowed them to form a bond, make connections and share their life experiences with each other. The children learned songs from the time of World War 2, they shared games with the residents, took part in proggy matting and much more. To finalise, the children showcased the journey of their project at Alnwick Playhouse. Children and parents of our school, alongside residents of the care home joined us in celebrating the children’s learning journey which showcased dancing, singing and film. The children also shared what they had learned about their resident friends and went on to have their work moderated and received their Arts Award Explore certificates. The Alnwick gazette provided a write-up on both the Playhouse performance and their achievement. As staff, we could see the real impact of this project, in terms of the children’s enjoyment, engagement and motivation to learn so we know similar projects will be a benefit for other children in the future. The project truly touched staff, parents and the wider community. 

Musical collaborations have successfully continued. Our link with The Pearl of Africa Choir was once again a success with the children participating in drumming workshops, listening to their choir and our choir joining theirs was enjoyed by children and families alike during an evening concert. This May our school choir joined the ‘Alnwick Sings’ collective choir to perform at the Sage, Gateshead. This saw the development of new creative working relationships between choir leaders but more importantly, the flourishing of friendships between our children and those of other participating schools as well as inter-generational friendships between our children and singers from the adult choirs.

Some responses from pupils included:

‘Art is all around us’

‘It doesn’t matter if you make a mistake. You are never wrong in art and it gives you freedom.’

Our aim is to continue to provide our children with exciting and memorable experiences and Artsmark has helped us to do that over the last two years.