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Shining a light on schools: Rethinking art in education

10th Jul 2024

Following their collaboration on a groundbreaking project, Sarah Bailey, Kate Houlton and Danielle Lewis-Egonu reflect on how a socially engaged approach to arts education can create new ways of working in schools.

You can read an extract from Sarah, Kate and Danielle's text below, or read the full version on Arts Professional.

Textbook is an ongoing art project that considers alternative perspectives on school. It began with a collaboration in 2021 between 10 teachers, Heart of Glass and artist and educator, Sarah Bailey.

Planning took place in the messy middle of Covid restrictions. In the media, schools were spoken about in alarmingly impersonal terms such as ‘vectors for infection’ and ‘lost learning’. We seemed to forget that austerity had already been present in our classrooms. Occasionally the voice of a teacher broke through to talk about impact.

Once we’d lost energy for their rainbows, we didn’t hear much from children. It seemed outlandish we might talk about the humans who inhabit educational spaces or - even more ridiculous - their hearts and imaginations.

In socially engaged work we have to meet the people, their place and the context. By considering these elements as essential, we endeavour to reimagine stories and forms that speak in a language that is authentic to the world we are revealing.

Read the full article.