To set the scene for the conference we cast our minds back to 2014 when, as well as the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, Scotland held a country-wide programme of contemporary art exhibitions called Generation: 25 Years of Contemporary Art in Scotland.
Alongside the fabulous programme of exhibitions and events, a group of teachers, educators, curators and academics met regularly to talk about ways of ensuring a sustainable legacy of Generation; particularly in relation to embedding the potential of engaging with contemporary art into the curriculum in Scottish schools. Quite of few of those who were involved in that group were at the conference.
Five years on we hoped to reflect on who successful the sector had been in those aspirations to embed contemporary art into schools.
A creative curriculum: embedding contemporary art in Scottish schools was an opportunity for the visual arts and gallery sector alongside colleagues working in education, to think about what is working well what we could do next and perhaps better to ensure that young people really are benefitting from engaging with contemporary art and creativity, with artists and galleries, during their school careers; whether they are interested in a career in the arts or not.
Guiding principles for the conference
- Contemporary art raises contemporary issues
- “We insist that the potential of learning through the arts is seen as crucial in helping to change and shape children and young people’s lives”
— Visual Arts Sector Manifesto pledge, Engage Scotland, SCAN, SAU, December 2017. View the full manifesto here.
We anticipated that conference themes could develop across two broad areas of discussion:
- Engaging with contemporary art and the visual arts and gallery sector supports the teaching of art and design in schools through provision of resources, networking and learning opportunities and working with artists.
- Engaging with contemporary art and the visual arts and gallery sector supports teachers in preparing children for their future lives and careers through nurturing creativity skills across the curriculum.