Friday, February 02, 2007

Bright sparks

It is good to work for a Company with a social conscience. Staff are given the opportunity to get involved with local community projects, large and small. In recent years we have renovated community centres, enhanced school playgrounds, been patient listeners to young readers and freely given our time & money to many worthy causes. I’m currently involved with a scheme known as SPARK* which brings the Arts to primary age children in interesting ways. Here is how the Corporate Website puts it…

“Spark is our flagship art education programme in the UK and Republic of Ireland. This exciting and innovative three-year programme will link theatres with local schools and encourage children to take part in and succeed through stimulating arts activities.

Working together with West Yorkshire Playhouse arts development team which will co-ordinate the programme, we want to raise the aspirations of children from disadvantaged communities and give them new opportunities to enjoy the arts and broaden their horizons.

Spark embraces a wide range of visual and performing art forms from street dance to gospel singing and batik to sculpture.

The programme is aimed at key stage two (KS2) school children and will involve around 50 schools and 6,000 children a year. Seven regional theatres will each work with six schools in its local area where there is traditionally little access to the arts. Local freelance artists will be employed to work with four classes in each school to undertake the art sessions.

We hope that the relationships formed between theatres, schools and artists will last beyond the life of the Spark so school children nationwide can continue to benefit from these valuable art opportunities.”

As members of staff, we have been encouraged to take the opportunity to get involved, see how it all works and hopefully contribute in a meaningful way. The events are professionally run so we aren’t thrown in the deep end. After looking at a extensive timetable of what was on, I decided to pick three events, one from each of the three schools taking part locally. When I looked at the range of events, I also decided to choose things out of my comfort zone somewhat, namely- Music (unspecified), Jazz Dance and…Rap Writing. Today is week four of a five week course so the kids should be getting good at it. I don’t expect myself to be any good, but you never know!

So, in the words of the Fast Show Country Bumpkin, “Today I mostly be writin’ rap…”

1 comment:

Welshcakes Limoncello said...

Sounds a great project, Ian and I'm sure you are brilliant in your part in it. It's always brave to do things that are "out of your comfort zone" so congrats for not taking an easier option.