Building Aspiration in the Creative and Performing Arts
Lead University: University of Newcastle
Lead Researcher: Helen English
Research Team: Helen English, Jocelyn McKinnon, Miranda Lawry and Kathryn Grushka
Year Funded: 2014
Funding Received: $63,811
This project focused on developing skills in creative thinking, project design and realisation in the areas of music, visual arts and/or performance among low SES high school students. Addressing the relatively low enrolments into Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) degrees from this cohort, a series of workshops in the creative arts-technology nexus were conducted for Years 8 and 9 students from seven high schools.
- The project was to address relatively low enrolments into Creative and Performing Arts (CAPA) degrees from low socioeconomic (SES) schools through developing skills in creative thinking, project design and realisation in the areas of music, and visual arts and/or performance.
- The project involved forming partnerships with seven high schools and working with students at each school, which included engagement with university staff and students from the School of Creative Arts (SOCA).
- The project centred on empowering high school students in Years 9 and 10 through a series of workshops in the creative arts-technology nexus. A three-day intensive course in creative and performing arts workshop skills, new technologies and project design prepared staff and university students. For this, SOCA collaborated with external leaders such as Musica Viva and Flipside Dance that raised greater awareness in the wider arts community.
- The concept of school students creating their own work as teams generated a sense of ownership and student-driven work. This all lead to a performance at the Griffith Duncan Theatre, which endorsed the partnerships with the seven schools, a major highlight of the project. Representatives from Musica Viva and Wyong Council, Lee Academy, Flipside Dance, the University of Newcastle and high schools attended and gave feedback to the project team.
- The project was a success and an important initiative for under-privileged students. Following the performance, a conference paper was presented at the Australian Association for Research in Education (AARE) Conference and three journal articles prepared for publication.
- The project developed confidence and skills in the creative and performing arts in schools and allowed them to continue with these subjects in Years 10– This was largely successful. In addition, the University mentors gained experience and skills from their involvement.
- While the project aimed to build aspirations among students in Years 9 and 10, future enrolments from this group of high school students will only be seen in three to four years’ time. As a result of the project, supporting and building aspirations in high school students in low SES schools will be further developed by the SOCA.
- Three years on, school students who participated in the 2015 project are entering Creative Industries disciplines, such as the Bachelor of Music.
- The project demonstrated success in developing the creative arts network, allowing schools, the University and specialist art professionals to share knowledge and ideas. This program was trialed in music initially in two local regions. Continuing partnerships were likely to have a positive outcome for student enrolments within one to two years.
- In addition, the template for future creative work projects in high schools was delivered as a website working as a toolkit for schools to create new work across the CAPA.
Summary prepared by the NCSEHE.