A 25-year action research programme in Leicester, focussing on early years’ children and their families – beginning to understand the interventions needed to increase opportunities and engagement at the earliest possible point.
Our formal research question is:
How can we ensure the next generation of creative and culturally engaged citizens?
More specific questions are:
How do children in their early years and their families, from identified areas, engage with arts and culture?
What are the factors that inhibit and facilitate engagement for early years children and their families?
What aspects of a programme of interventions are likely to increase engagement for early years children and their families?
“We have not yet given creativity the priority that is required to meet our future needs, or indeed give our children the opportunities they deserve.”
The Durham Commission
We know that that being involved in creative activities like messy play, singing, movement, storytelling, drawing and music from our earliest years can help us to express ourselves, have fun and build relationships; we would like to find out more about the long-term benefits of these activities on our children’s overall development, their education and their future careers.
Arts Council England recently published the findings of the Durham Commission. The Commission collected evidence from the UK and overseas, to determine the role creative thinking and cultural education play within the education system, and to explore whether there is a gap in current provision. They concluded that, ‘We have not yet given creativity the priority that is required to meet our future needs, or indeed give our children the opportunities they deserve’.
The Commission has made many detailed recommendations, which you can read here.
Our job at Talent 25 is to explore how we might give pre-school children and their families the best opportunities to get involved with arts and creativity and to measure how the arts and culture might make a difference.
To do this we are:
- Working with families with babies aged between 3 and 12 months when they start activities.
- Providing free arts and creative activities in Leicester neighbourhoods.
- Co-creating a programme of activities that includes different art forms and artists, local opportunities, trips, experiences and chances for families to explore their own creativity.
- Researching with families what cultural and creative activities they like to take part in, and what if anything stops them from taking part more often.
- Asking families every 6 months to discuss what difference their involvement in the arts and creativity has made – if any – and how we can organise the project to help them get the most out of it for them and their children.
- The pilot phase of Talent 25 runs between 2019 and 2023, hosted by De Montfort University. On these pages we will share how we are measuring impact and what we are finding out as we go. We will follow babies from 3 months to their 25th birthday.
© De Montfort University 2020