On Thursday 21st April, 3 staff and 10 children from the Milford Academy, Clifton, boarded the tram into town laden with box art, creative writing and a stunning environmental art panel. Their destination was the Council House, and the launch of the Creativity Collaborative project! Twelve local educational establishments were represented including primary schools, a hospital school, a special educational needs school and a referral unit for unaccompanied asylum seekers and refugees. Funding has been granted through Arts Council England, to explore how to nurture children’s innate creativity and curiosity within the curriculum. Just 8 pilot programmes are taking place across the UK, with Welbeck Primary School leading on the Nottingham cohort.
It is hard to capture the buzz, excitement, and energy of the afternoon. Local-born, turned international musician, Rob Green kicked off the afternoon and shared how he overcame bullying at school to express himself through poetry and then music. He even made up a song aged 8 to help him remember the names of Japanese islands for a school test- he gave us a rendition! His message was clear- creativity is more than drawing or ‘art’. It is part of engineering, science, art, music, problem solving- it’s a way of life. He encouraged the children (and adults) to take courage in using our emotions in bringing forth ideas.
The chief part of the event involved proudly displaying the fantastic work of children from across the whole school, and answering questions about Milford, as people moved around the room. The children also approached people they had never met to ask about their work. This was a huge deal for some of them and they all showed great courage, confidence and independence. Work on show from different settings included 3D architecture models, carnival headdresses, patchwork quilts, face casts, animation, solar systems, volcanoes, and a robot. This was really inspiring, with one student commenting- “We basically have to go around and get some ideas for what we could maybe do and magpie the best bits!”
The children quizzed creativity practitioners ranging from writers, directors, musicians, textile workers, and scientists, one of whom will come and work with Milford over the next three years to help us explore new opportunities for children to develop their innovation.
One Milford pupil said, “I definitely think Milford is creative – look at our table! It’s full of creative genius!”
Milford Academy has a legacy of investing in young artists, having recently been one of eight schools chosen as part of Nottingham Contemporary’s Schools of Tomorrow project. This year-long programme gave pupils and teachers the opportunity to work with a resident artist to develop creative spaces in school, exhibit at the gallery and support students to become Art Ambassadors.
In addition to these exciting partnerships, Milford Academy is working towards Artsmark- the only creative quality standard for schools and education settings, accredited by Arts Council England. It is our hope that, not only will our students develop a deep sense of joy through art, but that the creativity, curiosity and courage involved would overflow into other areas of learning and life. Famous painter Pablo Picasso said: “Every child is an artist, the problem is staying an artist when you grow up.” Well, our rising stars are certainly leading the way at Milford, and we are so proud of them!