Festival of Blackboards: CLASSROOM CONTROL

Monday 18 July 2011

Cubitt Education opens the Festival of Blackboards, our summer programme exploring arts education, with a timely seminar focusing on art in schools.

For many people working in the visual arts, the art room at school was unlike any other classroom; whether a quiet refuge or lively mess it could always be a place for drawing, making, exploring and independent thinking. Classroom Control will transport you back to those early experiences: visionary speakers from across the education spectrum will reimagine and reflect on the art room as a unique space for the critical and imaginative mind, in the setting of an exhibition of new work by students at The Welling School.

The seminar will also provide the opportunity raise key questions about the impact of current changes in the education system: will the English Baccalaureate lead to millions fewer students studying art at GCSE level in the coming years?  Do academy schools represent the privatisation of an essential right, or a space to try new ideas and develop the best educational models? With the end of Creative Partnerships how will visual arts organisations and artists be supported to make connections with schools?

Speakers include: Dr Howard Hollands(Programme Leader: PGCE Art and Design, Middlesex University); Steve Moffitt(Director of A New Direction); Rob Bird(Head of Art and Competence at Oasis Academy, Enfield)

The event is free, but booking online is strongly recommended to secure your place: CLICK HERE TO BOOK.

The Festival of Blackboards runs from 19th-31st of July at Cubitt and includes free seminars on a wide range of issues, including: the impact of current changes in education on the creative industries; the connections between art, anthropology and early years education; and the future of the art school.  For full information visit:festivalofblackboards.blogspot.com

Education Seminar: CREATIVE INDUSTRY

Tuesday 26 July 2011

Cubitt Education’s Festival of Blackboards continues with a free seminar critically exploring the relationships between arts education, fine art practice, artistic models of production, and the ‘creative industries’.

What is particular or unique about artistic concepts of labour and production?   Who might control and regulate production in the creative industries?  How do educational systems influence and shape the workforce and its identity? Academics, policy makers, and creative professionals will present papers and then come together with the audience to discuss the issues raised. Speakers include:

Kate Oakley

Senior Lecturer, Centre for Cultural Policy & Management, City University, London

Dr Oakley’s research interests cover the creative industries, regional development, cultural policy and cultural labour markets. She has been working in these areas for over a decade, following careers in journalism, market research and the civil service. Work and labour issues in the cultural industries also remain a prime concern and the subject of several recent publications including Art Works published by the Arts Council (2009) and ‘In its own image: New Labour and the Cultural Workforce’, forthcoming in a special issue of Cultural Trends.

Michaela Ross

Artist and Academic

Michaela Ross is an artist, researcher and artist educator with a particular interest in the relationship between the artist and the institution and in art practices that take place within the educational function of the museum and gallery. Her recent article Young People as Cultural Workers: Imagining Alternatives, pp191-197 was published in Engage Journal, June 2011.

Graham Hitchen

Independent Consultant and Chair of Creative Islington

Graham Hitchen was, until recently, a Project Director at the London Development Agency, leading the development of an international design and innovation programme. While at the LDA, he set up and ran the Creative Industries programme, and headed up the Agency’s work in Manufacturing and Production Industries, managing an annual investment budget of £15m. He is also a former Director of the Arts Council of England.

Jennie Godsalve

Engagement Manager, Creative & Cultural Skills,

C&CS is the Sector Skills Council for Craft, Cultural Heritage, Design, Literature, Music, Performing Arts and Visual Arts. Jennie has worked on the Creative Apprenticeship project for over two years, engaging employers in the programme. This work has resulted in over 300 Apprenticeships being delivered across the country, helping to diversify creative and cultural sectors and ensure accredited training in partnership with national colleges.


Book-making Workshop at the Aesthetics of Art Education Exhibition

A one-off peer-led book-making workshop as part of the opening of ‘The Aesthetics of Art Education’ an exhibition at Cubitt for the Festival of Blackboards 2011.

The exhibition was comprised of works created by artist educators graduating from our first year-long programme: the Cubitt School for Artist Educators.  They were each asked to present a work that reflected on the educational process, and their role as educators.

Festival of Blackboards 2012

Cubitt Education presents our second annual

Festival of Blackboards.


At venues across Islington, London


The Festival of Blackboards 2012 was about the HOW? of change, not the WHY?  Through presentations from leading thinkers, discussions, and hands-on workshops, we aimed to provide participants with practical ideas to take forward in their organisations and communities.  The intimate, practical sessions, tailored for a small and engaged audience, explored how to get things done: how to build consensus; how to make issues visible; and how to make real change where it matters.


Highlights include dart teacher Henry Ward on how he helped transform the Welling School into a place where the visual arts are at the heart of all learning; Henry Stewart CEO of Happy Computers, on how to change the workplace into a dynamic, imaginative space for inclusion and enjoyment; Naseem Khan OBE, on working with children as a catalyst for local community change and Mandeep Hothi, Programme Leader, the Young Foundation, on courage and risk in leadership.


Courage and Culture: Monday 19th November. 2.30-5pm

Committee Rooms 5 and 6, Islington Town Hall. Upper Street. N1 2UD

We have all experienced bad managers, inept systems and stifling atmospheres in the workplace.  But is it possible to imagine a working environment that is essentially creative, supports independent thinking and values a broad range of contributions?

Courage and Culture was a unique and insightful seminar presented in partnership with Voluntary Action Islington, exploring the role of leadership, risk, creativity and ethics within the workplace.  Designed to provide individuals, whether leaders, staff, volunteers, or board members, with practical methods for enacting change in their organisation.



School for Change: Thursday 22nd November. 6.30-8.30pm

Highbury Grove School, 8 Highbury Grove, Islington, London N5 2EQ

An event exploring the current changes in the curriculum and it’s impact on art teaching in schools.  Teachers, school staff, artists and anyone interested in the future of the arts in schools joined the debate, which will was informed by presentations from: Lesley Butterworth, NSEAD; Elizabeth Crump, Cultural Learning Alliance; and Henry Ward, the Welling School.



Community Actions: Saturday 24th November. 2-5pm

St. Luke’s Community Centre. 90 Central Street EC1V 8AJ

An event exploring the arts and change within local communities featuring two in-depth case studies: Naseem Khan OBE who talked about how children have played a crucial role in the transformation of Arnold Circus and it’s surrounding communities, and Jocelyn Cunningham (Director of Creative Learning, RSA) who presented findings from Citizen Power Peterborough, a programme  exploring how community action, through and within the arts, might improve networks between people, build local participation and cultivate public service innovation.  Followed by a workshop exploring the potential of the arts within community organising.

Festival of Blackboards 2012 community action

‘Community Actions’ took place on Saturday 24th November at St Luke’s Community Centre as part of Cubitt Education’s Festival of Blackboards 2012.


The session questioned how artists and arts practice can play a productive role in localised change to communities as well as showcasing productive and practical ideas for artists, voluntary groups and individuals interested in social change.


A hands-on workshop on the arts and community organising was informed by two in-depth case studies from leading practitioners:


Naseem Khan OBE

Naseem Khan has been at the forefront of Britain’s cultural change as commentator, policy developer and initiator for over thirty years.  Her ground-breaking report, ‘The Arts Britain Ignores’  was the first to highlight the cultural work in ethnic minorities communities. She followed it up with a substantial body of work in diversity policy for organisations that include the Council of Europe, UNESCO, Museums and Galleries Commission, Gulbenkian Foundation and the Asia-Europe Foundation.

Naseem presented a case study of a long-term partnership between a community group: the Friends of Arnold Circus and a local school, through which the pupils have become instrumental in the transformation of a local landmark, and in the process, have become central to change in their local community.


Jocelyn Cunningham

Director of Creative Learning, Royal Society of the Arts

Jocelyn presented a case study from the RSA’s major project: Citizen Power Peterborough, a programme exploring how community action, through and within the arts, can improve networks between people, build local participation and cultivate public service innovation.  Citizen Power Peterborough has broken new ground in connecting artists with community groups to foreground and explore important issues and weave new networks.Workshop: The Arts and Community Organising


A hands-on workshop exploring the potential of the arts within community organising followed these presentations and individuals from both community organising and the arts were invited to develop new ideas for collaboration and social action.

Festival of Blackboards 2012: Courage and Culture

‘Courage and Culture’ took place on  Monday 19th of November at Islington Town Hall as part of the Festival of Blackboards 2012.

The seminar posed questions concerning whether it is possible to transform the contemporary workplace into a humane, creative and empowering place.

We have all experienced bad managers, inept systems and stifling atmospheres in the office.  Even in the voluntary and arts sectors, work cultures often seem to contradict the ethics and aims of outward-facing programmes.  But is it possible to imagine a working environment that is essentially creative, supports independent thinking and values a broad range of contributions?

This was a unique seminar presented in partnership with Voluntary Action Islington, exploring the role of leadership, risk, creativity and ethics within the workplace and designed to provide individuals, whether leaders, staff, volunteers, or board members, with practical methods for enacting change in their organisation.  Speakers included Henry Stewart, CEO Happy Computers, Hilary Jennings, The Happy Museum Project and Katherine Russell, The Young Foundation.

Henry Stewart is one of the most creative and inspirational thinkers in the UK business community.  Having developed a unique ‘Happy Manifesto’, Henry runs his company, Happy Computers, with an ethos that embraces autonomy, freedom, empowerment and creativity amongst staff. He explored the values and methods behind the organisational culture of Happy, and how they might apply to voluntary and community sector organisations.

The Young Foundation was founded by Michael Young (founder of the Open University, Which Magazine? the Consumer Rights Association and the School for Social Entrepreneurs) and continues in Young’s footsteps as a space for the development of new ideas in practice and research around social policy. Katherine presented recent work on innovation, courage and leadership within the workplace: presenting practical methods for organisations to capitalise on new ideas, develop innovation with minimal resources, and nurture the ideas and ways of thinking that will help them thrive.

Cubitt Education: Festival of Blackboards 2014

5th-12th July 2014

At venues across Islington, London


Cubitt Education’s Festival of Blackboards is a regular programme of free public events in Islington exploring the arts, education and social change.  The theme of the Festival of Blackboards 2014 is power: the power of the arts in our schools, our public spaces and communities, and in our minds and bodies.  Working in partnership with Islington Council, Sadler’s Wells, Wayne McGregor | Random Dance and a range of other partners, we have put together three unique and inspiring events.


Highlights include a newly commissioned dance piece from Wayne McGregor | Random Dance working with local people for the Arts Picnic on Spa Fields; a Masterclass for teachers, artists, parents and governors, in building and advocating for a quality arts offer in school; and a talk from the RSA on their Design and Rehabilitation project at a mini conference exploring power and the body.


Public Movement: Saturday 5th July. 2.00-5.00pm

St. Luke’s Community Centre. 90 Central Street EC1V 8AJ

An afternoon seminar exploring relationships between the body, creativity and power: 

Wayne McGregor | Random Dance will present a session on their research over the past ten years investigating creativity in dance: working with scientists to explore how the mind and body interact, and developing methods to empowering individuals to create their own choreography.

– The RSA will present findings from their groundbreaking Design and Rehabilitation project, in which patients with spinal injuries were taught design, as a route to independence, resourcefulness and greater control over their lives.

– The Justice for Domestic Workers, an organisation set up by migrant workers who work in private houses in the UK, will discuss how their collaborations with artists and arts organisations have helped develop their campaigning and advocacy work around labour and workers rights.


Arts in Schools Masterclass: Wednesday 9th July. 5-7pm

Highbury Grove School. 8 Highbury Grove N5 2EQ

A masterclass for classroom teachers, senior leadership teams, parents, governors and anyone working in or around schools.  The masterclass will help you develop practical approaches to advocating for the arts and building a strong arts offer in your school.  Led by Greg Klerkx, lead trainer with A New Direction and Creativity, Culture & Education.


The Arts Picnic: Saturday 12th July. 12-4pm

Spa Fields, Skinner Street, Islington EC1

An afternoon of contemporary dance with Wayne McGregor | Random Dance and creative activism with Cubitt Artists on Spa Fields in EC1.  The event will include: arts and crafts stalls; artists’ workshops; a Drawing Boot Camp; political pass-the-parcel; a Suffragette’s Garden Party; free picnic blankets to customise; face-painting; parkour; picknicking and much more.  Families, children, artists, dancers, grandparents and activists welcome

Festival of Blackboards: PUBLIC MOVEMENT

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Power, Creativity and the Body

Saturday 5th of July 2014, 2-5pm

Public Movement was the first event in Cubitt Education’s Festival of Blackboards 2014, a series of free public events across Islington. Public Movement was an afternoon seminar on Saturday 5th of July exploring relationships between the body, creativity, political power and empowerment.  Featuring:


Wayne McGregor | Random Dance Choreographic Thinking Tools

Is it possible for a great artist to disseminate their working methods for the benefit of everyone?  How do the creative processes of choreography take place in the brain?  And is it possible to map those processes into visual forms?

Wayne McGregor | Random Dance presented a session on their research over the past ten years investigating creativity in dance. A facilitated discussion between theoretical cognitive psychologist Phil Barnard and company dancer Catarina Carvalho it explored the collaboration that led to the creation of the Choreographic Thinking Tools and how these tools are being disseminated and used in the wider world.

Royal Society for the Arts Design and Rehabilitation

Can imaginative re-thinking of our environment, through design, help empower us and change our relationship to it?  Is it possible to democratise design for the benefit of the everyday lives of individuals with serious injuries?

Sevra Davis (Associate Director of Design, RSA) presented findings from their long-running and groundbreaking Design and Rehabilitation initiative.  The project involved people with spinal cord injuries being taught design as a route to independence, resourcefulness and greater control over their lives.Justice for Domestic Workers Collaborating with Artists

Can artists and arts organisations work effectively with voluntary groups to further their political and social aims?  Is contemporary art a crucial platform in which relationships between the body and labour, work and exploitation, can be explored and highlighted?

Artist Rehana Zeman talked about working with Justice for Domestic Workers, a self-directed organisation of migrant workers who work in private houses in the UK.  They mount demonstrations and campaigns highlighting the working conditions of migrant labourers, network together and build links between individuals in similar situations, and seek to educate the wider public about their work and the issues around migrant workers and domestic labour.Spare Tyre: Empowering unheard communitiesArtist, musician and Spare Tyre Associate, Alice Theobald, presented some of the outreach projects she has worked on that use creative activity to give a platform to unheard communities.

Arts in schools masterclass – 9th July 2014

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On the 9th of July Cubitt held a Masterclass around advocating for the arts in schools as part of the Festival of Blackboards 2014. This was an active, participatory session that aimed to give teachers the tools to assess, frame and deliver a stronger case for the arts in their schools. The session included peer learning and professional tips, combined with practical exercises that participants can conduct with their own school communities.

The session was led by Greg Klerkx, an arts educator and facilitator working with teachers and artists in to build stronger, more meaningful connections between the learning and culture sectors. He is a lead trainer with A New Direction and Creativity, Culture & Education and is co-director of the award-winning cultural producing company, Nimble Fish.

Participant feedback:

“The workshop provided real tool for use in school”

“There was much positive talk and a likeness of minds that was encouraging.”

Posted in Education, Education Events | Tagged CPD, events, Festival of Blackboards, Highbury Grove School, primaries, primary, Schools, secondary, teachers |

The Arts Picnic

On the 12th of July Cubitt Education held our first ever live arts and dance event in partnership with Sadler’s Wells, Wayne McGregor Random Dance and Islington Council as part of the national ‘Big Dance’ weekend and as the culmination of our annual Festival of Blackboards.

Joining a programme of ‘Big Dance’ takeovers of public space across the country The Arts Picnic hosted incredible dance performances devised by the choreographer Wayne McGregor working in collaboration with people of all ages from the local community, as well as a whole host of artist run stalls and creative workshops from our artist educators; delicious food from Pig and Hay; homemade lollies; parkour workshops; decorate your own picnic blanket; activist pass-the-parcel and Suffragette-themed Bingo from artist Rebecca Davies and much more.

Children, families and older people enjoyed a fantastic creative afternoon and – thankfully – one in the sunshine. Watch this space for next year…

Do your part to save cultural learning in schools

Whilst there may be a number of debatable outcomes of the proposed changes to education under the coalition government, what is now looking almost certain is the negative impact that they will have on the uptake of cultural learning in secondary education.

The Cultural Learning Alliance (CLA), a coalition working to ensure that all children and young people have access to culture, has uncovered some worrying statistics that suggest a growing crisis in the sector. A recent poll by Ipsos Mori shows that over the last year 27% of schools have cut courses as a direct result of the introduction of the English Baccalaureate and that of those courses cut, Drama, Performing Arts, Art and Design and Design and Technology are the worst hit. 

This was the theme of a presentation by CLA Manager, Elizabeth Crump, at Cubitt’s Festival of Blackboards event: School for Change, on 22 November 2012. The topic of the event was the current changes to  policy affecting Art and Design education in schools. Elizabeth was one of a panel of speakers, including Lesley Butterworth (NSEAD) and Henry Ward (Deputy Head, The Welling School), who all attested to the worrying affects of education reforms on the cultural sector. 

Fortunately, the picture is not all doom and gloom, as the CLA are  meeting with civil servants and decision makers and pulling together evidence and arguments to support the case for the arts in education. They need the help of cultural organisations and individuals in highlighting this issue and calling for the restoration of the arts to the curriculum and for their inclusion in the EBacc, in as many forms as possible.

Here is what you can do:

  1. Brief your board and governors

Your Chairs, governors and board members are key influencers and we need them to make this case to politicians, the press, headteachers, funders, policy makers, decision makers and advisors. We also need them to recruit the business community to this cause – we need voices from the commercial sector speaking up about the importance of the arts and culture.

The CLA have put together the following briefing: Arts_in_Schools_Briefing_Nov_2012_FINAL, which sets out the issues and arguments around the EBacc and we are asking you to table and distribute it at your next meeting. 

As this is a complex issue, the CLA are also happy to talk to your Chair directly about this, so do get in touch: [email protected]

  1. Brief your Communications team

If you have a communications or marketing team that talks to the press or puts together positions for your organisation, give them these messages so that they can incorporate them in their work.

  1. Use the Evidence

Use the CLA’s Key Research Findings, ImagineNation document and Drama in schools document to make the case to your local school and community. Tell them what other evidence and statistics you need.

  1. Campaign!

Sign up to the ISM’s Bacc for the Future Campaign. It is calling for the Education Select Committee to launch an enquiry into the EBacc and to interrogate why the arts and cultural subjects haven’t been included.

  1. Write to your MP

This webpage tells you how.

Use the board briefing and the evidence to help you make your case and ask your MP to write to the Secretary of State for Education (Michael Gove) on your behalf. The system is structured so that he will have to respond to you.

  1. Respond to the DfE’s current consultation on Key Stage 4 Qualifications

This consultation asks key questions about the EBacc and its structure. You can find all the information about how to respond here.


Booking for this event has now closed.