We started the process of deciding where to research by listing schools that had platinum Arts Mark, schools that had been involved in previous arts and creativity research and schools that were “known” for their arts activities.
We then went to our critical friends in the bridge organisations and asked them for help. They all had loads of ideas about which schools in their region were arts rich and why we needed to research them. They nominated so many that we had to ask them for their top three! We were really heartened to see so many primary schools seriously engaged with the arts. A total of 167!
Our very big starter list of arts rich primary schools of 167 is spread across the country. We have to whittle this number down to about 40. We need to get a balance of types of schools, locations, student populations and art specialisms. It’ll be a tough decision. We have sent all 167 schools an initial email asking them to answer a few questions that will help us understand them better.
We know that it is a terrible time to be emailing schools and that it is tricky just emailing a generic school address. So we will need to follow up in lots of different ways to make sure that we do reach the heads or arts specialists in arts rich schools. Of course, they will then need to decide if they want to be involved or not.
Our initial questions won’t be enough to help us sort out our research “sample” so we have decided to ask schools if they would get some children to make a short film about their arts activities.
We have asked Bill Leslie from Leap Then Look to make a resource that will support children to make a filmed arts map of their school. Children are asked to respond to five questions:
- Which arts do you learn about in schools?
- Where do the arts happen?
- What equipment and materials do you use?
- Who teaches you about the arts?
- Tell us about any arts projects that you think are special or interesting.
The final films will be sent to us, and we want to publish them on a new RAPS youtube channel. We hope that schools will want to use the films on their websites too.
We are very excited to see what children can tell us about their arts rich schools and we hope you will be too.
Image: Leap Then Look.