Engage is passionate about increasing access to, enjoyment and understanding of the visual arts. On this page, you will find links to resources that demonstrate the value arts education, of working with artworks, artists and galleries, and ways to engage with campaigns on the values of arts and culture.
Arts Council England
Making the case for arts and culture—an advocacy toolkit containing information on how to make the case to local and national government, the public and the media, part of the #CultureMatters Campaign.
Engage Projects & Research: enquire
Engage’s ground-breaking research programme, part of the Department for Culture Media and Sport and Department for Education’s Strategic Commissioning Programme for Museums and Gallery Education 2004–11, which involved 40 galleries across England in partnership with schools, artists and youth workers.
enquire demonstrated that contemporary art can inform and develop high quality and innovative learning experiences for young people, and showed that young people also gain social benefits through working with artists and art, such as enhanced self–confidence and the ability to make decisions in groups and independently.
Generation ART: Young Artists on Tour
A touring exhibition of children and young people’s artwork with associated learning programmes, supported by Arts Council England’s Strategic touring programme, the Garfield Weston Foundation and the Helen Jean Cope Charity. The aim of Generation ART was for children and young people to be involved in a high-quality exhibition at every stage, as curators, artists, audiences and champions.
By profiling high-quality artwork by children and young people, Generation ART strives to raise the aspirations of schools, teachers and of children and young people, and inspire them to create excellent artwork. 40 artworks from over 200 young artists in England were selected for the exhibition, and some of the young artists featured in a short film available to view below.
Children’s Art Week
Engage’s annual event gives children and young people the opportunity—with their teachers, parents and carers – to experience the visual arts and get involved with a very broad range of practical art activities with artists and makers. In 2015 Children’s Art Week was supported by Children and the Arts and the D’Oyly Carte Charitable Trust, and 146 events took place at 116 venues with an estimated total of 18,825 participants.
The event is valuable in attracting new visitors to participating venues—in 2017 60% of event organisers reported that participants at their events were first-time visitors. 40% reported working with audiences new to the arts through their Children’s Art Week activities and 80% of the events held were located outside of London.
A great opportunity for adults and their children to work together. It reached individuals who have not been to the gallery before. Always wonderful to engage new audiences in the arts and get children into gallery environmentsChildren’s Art week 2017 venue
Cultural Learning Alliance
The Cultural Learning Alliance (CLA) is a collective voice working to ensure that all children and young people have meaningful access to culture.
- Culture Learning Manifesto (2015)
- ImagineNation (2011) — includes key statistics, facts, quotes and evidence which you can use to make your own arguments to colleagues and policy makers across the learning and cultural worlds.
- The Case for Cultural Learning, Key Research Findings (2011) — in this the CLA reported key research findings on the benefits for young people of participating in arts and culture, especially the vital role that cultural learning plays in developing the potential of all young people, and its proven benefits in increasing motivation, transferable skills, and the employability of students.
National Society for Education in Art and Design (NSEAD)
The National Society for Education in Art and Design is the leading national authority concerned with art, craft and design across all phases of education in the United Kingdom.
- NSEAD Art, Craft and Design Educator Survey Report 2014 concluded that opportunities for young people to engage or work with original works of art have been reduced in the last four years: only 50 per cent of all art and design teachers in maintained schools reported that their school supports the principle that GCSE exam groups should work with original works of art. This is a challenging time for arts education in England with the English Baccalaureate, Discount Codes at GSCE, and facilitating subjects at A level, establishing barriers to participation in the arts in formal education. These developments have contributed to the closure of four PGCE Secondary Art and Design teacher-training courses and a 14 per cent drop in entries to Arts GCSEs from 2010.
- A Manifesto for Art, Craft and Design Education (2014) — a policy proposal in the NSEAD Manifesto is to build inclusive partnerships between the museums and galleries, visual arts organisations and formal and informal education sectors. The Manifesto’s policy proposals seek to promote and ensure a world-class art, craft and design education for all our communities of learners.
- The Case for the Arts in Schools (November 2014) — briefing notes compiled by NSEAD and the Cultural Learning Alliance for the House of Lords debate on Arts Education, 27 November 2014 (scroll down for further details).
The Crafts Council’s goal is to make the UK the best place to make, see, collect and learn about contemporary craft.
Kings College London Cultural Institute
The Cultural Institute connects the university with practitioners, producers, policy makers and participants across arts and culture, creating space where conventions are challenged and original perspectives emerge.
The Institute’s Cultural Enquiries provide access to academic expertise and neutral space in which the cultural sector can come together to address shared questions and common concerns.
- Children & Young People — A Cultural Enquiry into access to the arts for young people which aims to use a historical, evidence-based account of policy-making to inform current decisions.
Helps people and organisations in business, education, public services and government understand design and use it effectively as part of their strategy.
- The Design Economy 2018 is the Design Council’s 2018 report on the value of design to the UK economy.
Arts & Humanities Research Council
The AHRC is a non-departmental public body sponsored by the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills, along with the other UK Research Councils.
- Measuring Economic Value in Cultural Institutions (October 2015) — a report commissioned by the Arts and Humanities Research Council’s Cultural Value Project
a-n & CVAN Joint Visual Arts Submission to Treasury
Initiated by a-n and CVAN, with contributions from Scottish Artists Union, Engage and other key organisations the visual arts sector made a joint submission to the Treasury Spending Review outlining a number of key recommendations to help better support the sector.
Enriching Britain: Culture, Creativity and Growth
In February 2015 the Warwick Commission on the Future of Cultural Value published its final report Enriching Britain: Culture, Creativity and Growth.
Vikki Heywood, Chair of the commission and Chair of the RSA opened the report stating:
The key message from this report is that the government and the Cultural and Creative Industries need to take a united and coherent approach that guarantees equal access for everyone to a rich cultural education and the opportunity to live a creative life. There are barriers and inequalities in Britain today that prevent this from being a universal human right. This is bad for business and bad for society.
The report describes the ecology of the cultural and creative industries sector and includes a strong acknowledgement of the vital role that cultural learning plays.
Arts Education in Schools 2014 debate
Initiated by the Earl of Clancarty, member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Art, Craft and Design Education, the Lords held a debate on Arts Education in Schools on the 27 November 2014. The debate covered all types of cultural education and showed all the speakers conviction of the power of cultural learning and their commitment to ensuring children and young people have access to arts and cultural activities.
- Read the full text of the debate on Hansard
- Download Briefing notes — compiled by the Cultural Learning Alliance and NSEAD these included statistics on how cultural and arts learning is critical to our Creative Industries, how the Creative Industries are vital to our economy and also stressed the importance of excellent, high-quality arts in schools in addressing issues of social mobility and equality.
Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. Ofsted inspects and regulates services that care for children and young people, and services providing education and skills for learners of all ages.
- Drawing Together: Art, Craft and Design in Schools (April 2009) found that contact with the visual arts and with artists supports teachers in their work and enhances young people’s learning. This, in turn, enables students to achieve higher standards in Art and Design within the National Curriculum and at exam level.
- The above report was followed by the survey report
Art, craft and design education: making a mark (March 2012) evaluating the strengths and weaknesses of art, craft and design education in schools and colleges in England
CASE was a joint programme of strategic research led by DCMS in collaboration with Arts Council England, English Heritage and Sport England. It demonstrated the positive impact of the arts on learning by young people and showed that children in areas of deprivation are least likely to engage in the arts.