Radical arts in education project

Radical arts in education project yields positive results

A radical arts in education project established to counteract problems caused by the pandemic has been successful, according to a new report.

INNOVATE is a two-year-long project that has aimed to encourage the collaboration of teachers and artists to apply creativity to transform traditional methods of teaching the school curriculum.

Young Vic Taking Part has led the operation, working with partner schools South Bank University Academy in Lambeth and Dunraven School in Southwark, 12 multidisciplinary artists as well as an advisory panel of experts on education and culture. 

Shereen Jasmin Phillips, director of Taking Part, said: “INNOVATE was born out of a simple question: ‘how do we make children excited to learn?’ 

“From maths classes to history lessons, it’s been amazing to see the impact of this project on teachers and students. 

“Bringing artists and creative teaching into classrooms is a vital and effective tool for engaging students.”

INNOVATE South Bank University Academy (c) Aaron Imuere
INNOVATE: South Bank University Academy (c) Aaron Imuere

Led by the Young Vic Theatre and Royal Holloway, the new report has found that these new approaches to teaching have increased the level of student confidence and participation in class, a deeper reflection and a greater enjoyment of learning.

Additionally, the researchers noted increased levels of teacher confidence and professional development. 

According to a report published by Campaign for the Arts, there has been a huge decline in student interest in taking arts subjects at GCSE (down by 47%) and A-level (down by 29%), including art, dance, music and drama.  

This sharp decrease has sparked greater concern towards the wider future of the creative industries. 

Dr Yvonne Robinson from the Department of Drama, Theatre and Dance at Royal Holloway, said: “The arts are declining in schools at a time when they are more important than ever. 

“Creative learning exposes young people to broader education opportunities that help them to fulfil their potential. 

“Arts education programmes like INNOVATE are crucial, not only in helping schools fully recover from the pandemic, but also for moving learning forwards in creative ways that support young people’s wellbeing.”

The pandemic caused a significant loss of jobs across the creative industries, as film sets and theatre production came to a standstill during social distancing and successive lockdowns. 

However, the pandemic gave birth to a newfound appreciation of creative artists, as everyone immersed themselves in entertainment to find a way to keep themselves preoccupied. 

INNOVATE: Dunraven School (c) Aaron Imuere
INNOVATE: Dunraven School (c) Aaron Imuere

As entertainment forms a crucial part of our lives, more projects like INNOVATE have focused on increasing levels of engagement with creativity from a young age.

For instance, INNOVATE artists have worked with Year 7 and 8 teachers, showing them how to use basketball to teach film skills and improve their students’ numeracy through cookery. 

For more information on how teachers are incorporating creativity into their curriculum, visit

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