A Responsive Colleague for the Independent Artist

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About This Case Study:

A Responsive Colleague for the Independent Artist

I have been a member of The City Classroom since its membership scheme began in 2017. As a new initiative I wasn't completely sure how it would support my work as an independent artist and practitioner. However, the programme has been responsive, and listened to my needs, while promoting my work and opening up new opportunities.

I have been involved in one of the children and young people's summits delivered by the City Classroom, truly wonderful days of learning for the schools that attend. The summits are also really great platforms to showcase the many and varied local artists available for schools to engage with directly. I have also delivered on the activity week which launched the summer pilot initiative of 'The City Passport'; devising and delivering visual and craft activities to get the children thinking about their city and what it has to offer them over the summer to enhance their own creative learning. This involved me visiting and working with four schools.

In addition to the showcasing work that has been available, the termly printed activity listing, which is distributed to all primary and SEND schools in Leicester & Leicestershire, has also proved to be a useful platform for promotion. I have been able to sell my work in to schools, delivering two school projects. The first, with three local schools, used Leicester's many cultural venues, iconic landmarks and local heroes to inspire collaborative silk painted banners exploring our city's culture. The second was an Arts Award Discover in a Day workshop for three schools over three days, themed on WWI and war art including refugee art, delivered at Newarke Houses Museum.

The City Classroom also promotes its artist members, and has talked to others about me and my work and matched me up with schools that have ideas and are looking for an artist with my skills. The real key for me is the appreciation of the value of my work and the consideration around my practice which is always at the forefront for any work or collaboration that The City Classroom enable or produce.

The role of The City Classroom co-ordinator is what makes it so unique. I have been supported in funding applications, evaluation processes, GDPR rules and also have received my DBS through The City Classroom.

This initiative is hands on, responsive, reactive, and knowledgeable and ensures high quality. The City Classroom know what they are doing at a grass roots level and understand how to engage with schools, mainly because they consult and listen to our schools for the benefit of both school and artist. The City Classroom acts as an agent, a mentor and a colleague. Even with my many years of experience as an arts in education practitioner, having someone to share ideas, ask questions and double check my working practice is always beneficial.

Linda Harding, Inspiring Art