A creative curriculum: embedding contemporary art in Scottish schools

This national conference co-hosted by Engage Scotland and Edinburgh College of Art offered a national platform for sharing best practice with colleagues and for joining up thinking, identifying problems and determining goals for future models in supporting schools, teachers and pupils to engage with contemporary art.

As gallery educators, artists and teachers we know that engaging with contemporary visual art and creativity in schools can support learning and attainment in many ways.

But in the context of the attainment challenge and a justifiable focus on literacy and numeracy are we making our voices heard? If not, why not? And why is this important?

Things are changing and perhaps we need to change our practices too rather than offering the same old learning opportunities for schools and being disappointed when they aren’t taken up.

Who should we work with to take things forward? Where are the new and innovative ways of working? And what should we do next?

This conference was aimed at primary and secondary teachers, headteachers, freelance artists, educators, gallery education teams, artists organisations etc.

A keynote presentation from Turner Prize nominated artist, Monster Chetwynd, was followed by a pecha-kucha style event in the morning. This allowed best practice from colleagues across the sector to be shared and a facilitated workshop in the afternoon aimed to determine objectives and achievable goals for the future.

The day was jointly programmed and chaired by Susan Mowatt, Senior Lecturer in the School of Art at Edinburgh College of Art, and Sarah Yearsley, Engage Scotland Coordinator.

Jane Sillis, Director of Engage, chaired the afternoon session.

Paul Gorman from Hidden Giants led a workshop in the afternoon to look at how we could take our work in this area forward.