Waterworld: A project in partnership with The Creative Connection, Blackburn’s Local Cultural Education Partnership (LCEP) as part of our ongoing Education and Outreach Programme.
Earlier in 2022 we approached Newfield School to explore how, as an organisation, the National Festival of Making could help support their creative curriculum. As a result, we developed a project with Newfield and LPM Dance, an artist-led dance company to deliver an 8-week dance programme alongside designer and costume maker, Katie Duxbury.
Each week students were invited to take part in a dance workshop exploring a magical and sensory world through dance, movement, music, touch and play.
LPM Dance used their expertise in inclusive dance practice to develop a person-centred approach which gave ownership and creative realisation to the young people taking part.
The weekly sessions developed creative movement and dance skills, drawing on the themes relating to water and environment, tied to the class’s curriculum that term. Each week young people from the full school had the opportunity to join the dance sessions alongside a core group attending each session to develop a performance over the 8 weeks.
I think it’s important to bring culture and art into the classroom because creativity is an essential part of being human. It allows us to communicate with each other in different ways, allows us to problem solve and gives further access to a larger education model.”
We invited designer Katie Duxbury to join the project who designed responsive sensory costumes and props relating to the theme. These props and costumes were used to enhance movement possibilities and invoke sensory stimulation. Katie joined some of the dance sessions which informed the making process giving the young people involved an opportunity to contribute to the design and vision of Katie’s work.
Alongside students, teachers were also invited to the weekly session to expand their own skills and confidence in delivering dance as a subject within their classroom. As part of our ongoing Education Programme, we were able to offer time for teachers to develop their own continuous professional development, with an aim that they are further equipped to deliver sessions in school beyond the project period.
As a teacher, I do feel more confident going forward teaching dance. It was always something that I wasn’t sure about, but now having access to these workshops weekly and speaking to other people who have also accessed them, it feels like it is not as daunting anymore. “
The Creative Connection, Blackburn’s Local Cultural Education Partnership or LCEP was created in response to the Arts Council England call to action for the arts, culture and education sectors. The LCEP’s role is to bring organisations together, collectively offering consistent high-quality art and cultural education for all children and young people. Their mission is to remove barriers to accessing arts and culture for children, young people and educators alike. They believe everyone should have access to high-quality arts and cultural opportunities all year round.
LPM Dance was established by George Adams and Helen Gould in 2011 through a joint ambition to create new dance initiatives for diverse audiences in a wide variety of settings. As an artist-led organisation, LPM strives to place art, the artist, and the audience at the heart of our work. They enjoy being responsive to new opportunities, enabling them to enrich and further the understanding of our work in a broad range of contexts.
Newfield School is a multi-faith school maintained by Blackburn with Darwen Borough Council that provides high-quality specialist education for children and young people aged 2 – 19 years. They pride themselves on meeting the needs of pupils and students who have a wide range of learning needs, including autism, complex medical needs and sensory impairments. They achieve this in partnership with families and carers, providing advice and support, and feel this is imperative to a positive learning culture.