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Contemporary Art Space Project In partnership with the RSA Academies

01 Oct 2019-01 Aug 2021

The Contemporary Art Space Project is a two-year programme of art-making and community engagement. The project reflects the RSA Academies‘ (Royal Society of the Arts Academies) Commitment to Arts, Culture and Creativity and Iniva’s ambition to develop their learning and education strand nationally.

View Artist videos including the latest artwork to come from the project: Amerah Saleh: My Language
Download our resources
including our CAS Emotional Learning Cards and Activities for ages 7 and up via the links below: resources to inspire, provoke and support exploration of each of the artworks created so far.

Skip to Project Update

At a point in time in which the study of arts and creative subjects are progressively marginalised from curricula, we would like to explore whether this project could prove to be an accessible, sustainable model to increase whole-school engagement in the arts and cultural learning.

This project aims to establish three outdoor contemporary art spaces in three RSA schools in the West Midlands through a collaborative process with pupils and their teachers. The schools involved are:
– Abbeywood First School (Reception – Year 4) in Redditch
– Arrow Vale RSA Academy (Year 9-13) in Redditch
– Holyhead School (Year 7-13) in Handsworth, Birmingham

The project is designed to develop young people’s sense of identity and explore what it means to be human through co-commissioning new artworks in response to social issues they identify as being important. The artworks will help schools develop and articulate their collective sense of mission and purpose and strengthen schools’ links with their communities.

Project Delivery

Each year a steering group of pupils from each school will work with an appointed artist (one artist per school) to explore a chosen theme. The artists will work with an art therapist to kick start a series of workshops that will develop artistic output, critical thinking and explore the relationship between contemporary art and emotional learning (as tried and tested through Iniva Creative Learning’s ArtLab programme).

Outcomes of the workshops will feed into a final artwork by the artist to be installed on school premises. An engagement programme will be delivered, encompassing the school community and wider public.

Over the two years of the project the artists and schools will work around the theme of ‘Oracy’. Our appointed artists for CAS Year 1:

Rudy Loewe, Nilupa Yasmin, Laurie Ramsell

The artists will be supported by our appointed curator Josephine Reichert. A final conference reviewing the project outcomes and celebrating the resulting six new artworks will be held at the RSA London in 2021.

Project Update 2021

To round up the Contemporary Arts Space programme, we commissioned artist Sipho Ndlovu to respond to the six artworks. Using ‘Oracy’ as a starting point, Ndlovu explores the awkwardness, difficulty and frustration involved in communication and emotional expression through a range of different dance styles, mixing contemporary movement and South African House Dance.

Project Update July 2020

We are pleased that all of our artist commissions have now been installed!

Due to school closures we have developed resources that can be used to support home learning. These took the place of our planned engagement events over the summer term. Artists video’s and resources are now available below to download and view. Including a new piece of work by Amerah Saleh created in response to the work of all the artists and students further exploring the theme of oracy.

Abbeywood First School. Silhouette of Sound by Laurie Ramsell was welcomed into a previously underused courtyard that is surrounded by classrooms in early January. The work is based on the sound waves of three children’s names. The whole school took part in a launch event directed by both the curator and the steering group of Year 4 children: 200 children created a massive collaborative drawing that filled the school hall in response to Laurie’s work. Silhouette of Sound will continue to be linked into teaching across all subject areas over the spring term.

Arrow Vale RSA Academy. We Start Here Work by Nilupa Yasmin takes inspiration from and incorporates abstract photographs by 20 pupils across years 8 – 10. Nilupa worked with the group across ideas of leadership within school and experimented with large scale weaving before developing two separate artworks. One external set of three digitally woven prints installed in a central courtyard and one internal handwoven wall hanging. CPD and additional engagement events are in planning.

Holyhead School Rudy Loewe created The Depths of Our History after a series of workshops around protest, exploring the local area of Handsworth, and staging a mini in school protest. The work hangs over a thoroughfare and can be used as a place to gather, discuss and inspire conversation and constructing action. The launch event for the work took place on the 4th March where the steering group were able to introduce the work to different departments across the school. Read a blog post by curator Josephine Reichert about the event here.

The short videos below were created to support both teachers and learners understanding of the artworks, and help to enable the use of the works within all teaching subject areas across the schools.

You can find out more about how the work was developed in a blog post by project partner Georgina Chatfield (RSA Academies Programme Manager).

This is an Iniva Creative Learning project. To find out more please contact Beatriz Lobo Britto beatriz@iniva.org

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