Arts Connect

Conference Details

Date: 28 June

Time: 9.30am – 4.00pm

Venue: Midlands Arts Centre, Birmingham

Children and young people can face many challenges in today’s society as they navigate their way through school and home life. Social and economic disadvantage, issues around mental health and well-being, discrimination of many kinds may all combine to hinder children’s flourishing.

The Thriving Child is a series of simultaneous conferences at five venues across England, led by the Royal Opera House, which will examine these issues in detail and consider how the arts, creativity and culture can help children and young people to face up to these challenges. We’ll be asking whether the current practice of the education, arts and cultural sectors might need to change to meet the needs and expectations of young people.

Our conference will be at Midlands Arts Centre, Birmingham and will blend live-streaming of speakers from the Linbury Studio at the Royal Opera House with discussion in the room from a West Midlands perspective.

Taken together, this unique set of events will create a national conversation about these vital issues and we are excited to be collaborating with colleagues from across the country.

Who should attend?
• Anyone with responsibility for children and young people wanting to make better use of arts and culture.
• CEO’s and Heads of Learning Teams in Arts and Culture organisations or networks (including LCEPs and MEHs).
• Senior Leaders and Arts subject leaders in schools.
• Leaders in Children’s Services, Youth Organisations, public health.

Throughout the conference, we will be consider the following key questions:

• What is it like for children and young people to live, play and learn in 2019 in the UK?
• How does this affect their ability to thrive?
• What is the role of the arts, creativity and culture in enhancing children and young people’s opportunities and addressing the challenges they face?
• What might this mean for those working with children – such as the education, health, arts and cultural sectors? What are the opportunities for these sectors to work differently or to do different things?

Event Programme

9.15am: Refreshments

9.45am: Welcome and opening remarks

10:00am: Live Stream from the Linbury Studio – Session 1: What is it like for children and young people to live, play and learn in 2019?

There will be three provocations focussing on the challenges that children and young people face in the 21st century. In this session, we’ll hear in detail about a range of factors that might affect children’s ability to thrive from socio-economic exclusion, changes in digital technology and lack of representation.

• Kitty Stewart (Associate Director of the Centre for Analysis of Social Exclusion) will explore the relationship between poverty and children’s attainment.
• Darren Chetty (Teacher, writer and researcher) will look at issues around identity and representation as they relate to how children thrive.
 Sonia Livingstone (Professor of Social Psychology, London School of Economics and Political Science) will discuss how digital technology is shaping how children and young people are learning, playing and living

11.15am: Break

11:35 – 12.15am Session 2: Reflection and Discussion session

12.15pm: Lunch

1:15pm Live Stream from the Linbury Studio- Session 3: What role do the arts, creativity and cultural learning play in enabling children and young people to thrive?

2019 is a pivotal year in the study of the impact of creative and cultural learning. In this session we’ll hear from representatives of two major ongoing research programmes – the Durham Commission on Creativity and Education and the RSA’s Learning about Culture programme, as well as from one of the researchers of the Time to Listen report.

• Baroness Beeban Kidron will discuss what the Durham Commission is illuminating about the potential of creativity to enhance opportunities and mitigate challenges for children and young people.
• Adam Annand (Associate Director and Speech Bubble lead, London Bubble) and Mark Londesborough (RSA, Associate Director, Creative Learning and Development) will explore emerging findings from Learning about Culture with reference to Speech Bubbles.
• Pat Thomson (Professor of Education, University of Nottingham & Convenor of the Centre for Research in Arts, Creativity and Literacy) will explore the role children and young people play in both consuming and creating culture.

2.25pm – 2.45pm: Reflective conversation

2:45pm Live Stream from the Linbury Studio –Session 4Keynote Address, Akala

In the final address of the day, Akala will explore his perspectives on childhood and adolescence and what it means to thrive – including an historical take on who is nurtured and who is failed by the education system in the UK. He’ll also discuss his views on arts, creativity and culture in the lives of children and young people and how this shaped the ethos and practice of the theatre production company he founded, The Hip-Hop Shakespeare Company.

3.15pm – 4.00pm – Session 5: Reflection and Discussion: how do we respond to the challenges from a personal, organisational and cross- sector level?

4.00pm: Close

Booking your tickets  

Tickets are priced at a subsidised rate of £25 for delegates working for organisations and £10 for individuals.