In June 2017, 4 individuals from various sectors within the arts came together with a shared aim; to advocate persuasively the interventionist aspect of culture and the arts. As creative learning and educational professionals, we wanted to find a way to champion and advocate for cultural learning and the participatory arts across a wide spectrum of specialisms and perspectives and determine the most effective strategies, both nationally and internationally, for ensuring that every child and young person is entitled to a rich cultural education.
This 3 minute film, written and performed by Spoken Word Poet, Dean Atta is in response to research carried out between June 2017 – April 2018 as part of the Extend leadership Programme.
All Children Deserve Art
Why should I have to defend
my right to spend time with children
with them as my creators
in classrooms and community spaces?
I am not just for the privileged
I am art
I am working class, I am LGBT
I am BAME, I am homeless
I am at risk, I am vulnerable
I am differently abled, I am enabling
I am embracing technology
I am a transformative pedagogy
I am art
Do you believe in the power of play?
Do you believe in learning through doing?
Do you believe every space is a learning space?
Do you believe in art?
Art can improve a child’s mental health
Art can teach children empathy
By taking part in arts activity
they learn to be creative, collaborative
and confident enough to use their own voice
My two year old niece says, “Pen?” (with a question mark)
when she wants to draw with me
When I draw straight lines she draws straight lines
when I draw zigzags she draws zigzags
when I draw waves she draws waves
when I make dots on the page she does too
when she draws on my side of the page I don’t mind
when I draw on her side of the page she doesn’t mind
we draw and are drawn together
But not every home has pens
and not every home has paper
and not every child is given enough time
once they are four, eight or sixteen
to draw, paint, write, dance, create
For those who don’t have the resources at home
For those who don’t have the money to go to the theatre
For those who don’t have the confidence
to walk into an art gallery, even if it is free
We must bring them to art
We must bring art to them
Give them a pen, a paintbrush
a computer, a rehearsal room
and the possibilities are endless
The opportunities are endless
The imagination is endless
Everything we’ve made, everything was made creatively
responding to a problem or curiosity
because art is an approach and not just a subject
And maybe it’s messy
and maybe it’s soft
and maybe it’s hard to measure
but life is not neat or simple, and education is for life, right?
I want my niece to draw her own life
paint her own life, write her own life
dance through life, create her own life
I want that for your niece, your nephew
your children, their children too
because all children deserve art.