Crafts=Skills for Life
Ishango Group - Soldering their jewellery.
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Exploring the impact learning craft skills has on achievement.
This pilot project gathered much attention.
An exhibition, sponsored by the Rt Hon Clare Short was showcased at The House of Commons.
“Craft = Skills for Life highlights the value of practical learning. Helping our young people to achieve their true potential is vital if we want a vibrant community and economy for future generations. To see these young people so enthusiastically engaged with their work testifies to the success of this project.”
Rt Hon Clare Short MP (January 2010)
Ian Middleton HMI,National Adviser for art craft and design education, Ofsted said
“Craft=Skills for Life is an excellent example of best practice showing how improvement and inclusion can be addressed efficiently but enjoyably. “
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This pilot project has addressed the issue that practical making skills should be a more valued part of school education. It also looked at whether practical learning has any effects on how pupils learn and if it has an influence on their attitude and achievement.
Pupils worked in collaboration with Jeweller Will Evans, textile artist Jamie Lewis and ceramicist Andrew Tanner over the course of three months. Male artists were selected to act as role models for boys who formed the majority of participants.
The aims were to;
· Prove the importance and validity of strengthening the teaching of craft skills in our secondary schools and explore its potential to deliver learning across multiple subject platforms.
· Introduce pupils to a range of making skills and allow them to engage with materials. The intention was to ignite an interest in teenage pupils to learn a skill, inspiring a desire to produce quality and obtain the skills to deliver it.
· Develop a “product” or objects as a vehicle to explore enterprise and industry. By combining the creative process with the realities of the economy, the residencies offered pupils access to different kinds of mechanisms for learning, creating and sharing.
· Discover if practical learning had any effects on how pupils learn and if it had an influence on their attitude and achievement.
All three groups began by taking part in a business enterprise workshop to help them gain an understanding of products, pricing and market forces. Each class then visited different cultural institutions for inspiration; the jewellery displays at the V&A, The Design Museum and Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery.
Pupils then went on to experience a number of technique workshops in their chosen craft before embarking on designing and making their “products”.
Pupils and staff from Braidwood School market tested their felt lighting range on members of the public as part of the Moseley Arts Market.
We are currently talking with a number of organisations interested in creating regional clusters, partnering cultural institutions with secondary schools, in order to develop relevant models of a creative curriculum which explore and build upon our findings.
“Craft=Skills for Life has been a great success, it has proven that practical making sessions can be beneficial for all level of pupils. We have found that practical learning has helped gifted and talented pupils to understand and retain complex maths and science knowledge, while it has given disaffected pupils an opportunity to gain self worth and the confidence to achieve within their school.”
Stuart Shotton, Education & Community Co-ordinator
Jamie Lewis, textile artist.
Andrew Tanner, ceramicist.
Will Evans, jeweller.
This project was initiated by Craftspace and funded by Birmingham City Council through its annual programme - Creative Futures Awards, this is Craftspace’s current major research project.
Braidwood School for the Deaf
Wheelers Lane technology College
Ishango Science Club
Developing people, ideas and opportunities through contemporary craft.