Creative Island Ident (Teal)
The Cultural Development Agency for the Isle of Wight
IW CEP Conference 2023 - audience

Reflecting on ‘Inspiring Young Lives’ Cultural Education Conference 2023

Claire Paul
1, December 2023

On 16th November 2023, a group of over 70 Island educators and cultural professionals came together for the IW Cultural Education Partnership’s annual Conference, held at Quay Arts in Newport. 

A full day of talks, presentations and workshops, this year, designed to stimulate discussions around inclusion and diversity through creativity. 

The day began with Gavin Stride, who outlined ‘Creative Island’s vision and talked of the importance of schools and organisations working together to help young people understand their place in the world and the impact culture and creativity can have on their relationships and confidence to achieve. 

The Island’s other four National Portfolio Organisation’s; ‘New Carnival Company’, Quay Arts, Shademakers and Ventnor Exchange also spoke to demonstrate how they intend to use their investment to improve the lives for all those who live on the Island. 

The event hosted two Keynote speakers. The first, writer and consultant in arts education, young people and creativity in learning, Rick Hall. He discussed the idea of helping to fill young people’s cultural rucksacks, linking formative experiences with learning, and allowing curiosity.  

The second Keynote; Disabled artist, music maker and Artistic Director of SENSE, Kris Halpin who demonstrated the MiMu Gloves and spoke about our perceptions of disability and barriers to learning. 

Interactive workshops throughout the day included topics around inclusivity and its relationship to Drama, AI, text and language in visual art and ‘making’ activities.

IW CEP Conference 2023 Stonecrabs Theatre workshop
Workshop led by StoneCrabs Theatre

Attendees also heard from three pupils of Christ The King College’s Equality and Rights Advocates group who confidently spoke and answered questions around what they are doing within their school and wider community to promote equality for all, which resulted in a call for them to deliver talks in other Island schools.

IW CEP Conference 2023- Christ The King College’s Equality and Rights Advocates group talk
Pupils from Christ The King College’s Equality and Rights Advocates group

Arguably, most importantly, the day allowed for the building of relationships between education, creative and heritage professionals. 

What others said:

‘All the workshops were useful and gave insightful tips on how we can enhance our teaching. It was especially great to have tasters of the workshops our pupils could take part in from providers. The AI workshop was also incredible, it could have been an entire day.’

‘I thought the director of Creative Island, Gavin Stride, was an excellent communicator with his story about his experience of the school bully being an inspiring and pertinent example of the power of arts and the human desire to connect with other people through art – he was very inspiring! ‘    

‘The tone was brilliant – really friendly, collaborative, positive, warm, progressive, enriching.’

‘It was lovely that a project that I run at my school was used as a case study as an example of collaborative working with artists. I hope that other teachers felt that this maybe something they could do.’

‘I have already started to use AI in my practice and planning as a result of the sessions. I have also passed on the names of potential workshop providers to relevant middle leaders so we could partner with them.’ 

‘I felt that that there is a massive willingness to engage and collaborate across the island with knowledgeable and passionate educators and creators who all want the very best for young people on the Island.’

‘A fantastic networking event and to be able to meet people face to face, not just on email!’

Photos by Julian Winslow.

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