Teachers and arts professionals from around the country gathered at the Barbican last Friday to explore how arts experiences can develop the creative potential of children and young people.

The day was a mixture of keynote sessions and practical workshops run jointly with the Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning team, for teachers of early years upwards.

Delegate tweet

"I’ve come away with renewed belief that “teachingisbeautiful” and that the arts subjects change lives! Thank you to all the speakers – I think what made it so inspirational was that it put making a difference to children at the heart of everything."

Hosted by newsreader Sonali Shah, the day kicked off with the artist, Bob and Roberta Smith, launching a constitution of the arts calling for a more equal arts sector and celebrating the teaching profession with the hashtag; #teachingisbeautiful. 

Journalist George Alagiah led a panel discussion around the value of becoming an arts-rich school and delegates attended a ‘marketplace’ where 12 schools shared their approach to integrating arts subjects in the curriculum as well as research into the impact of arts rich learning on young people.

A panel discussion chaired by George Aligiah at the Towards a Creative Curriculum conference

Professor Jonothan Neelands’ keynote ‘what is the point of education?’ underlined the need for schools to encourage diversity and find space for experimentation and discovery to prepare young people for the future, concluding that “the point of education is to give hope and the certainty of change in an uncertain world.” 

Education Journalist and Teacher Tapp founder Laura McInerney’s keynote addressed education trends in the arts, raising optimism about the value of ‘adding colour’ to the lives of young people and children through arts education.

The closing keynote from Global Teacher prize winner, Andria Zafirakou, emphasized the importance of building relationships with students and the role of the arts in giving all children – whatever their circumstances – a voice and an outlet for expression and achievement.

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