RIO, with support from Arts Council England, delivered another successful Cultural Education Challenge Launch on 14th January. The event, which was held at the Lighthouse in Poole, focused around ACE’s Cultural Education Challenge, and looked into existing and new partnerships in the area which could support the challenge.

There was a really good level of debate, and many useful ideas were shared, and it is with thanks to the support of the Arts Development Company and Soundstorm/WAVE that the challenge was addressed at a more local level, and thoughts were shared around how to make the challenge work in this area.

You can find out further detail regarding the event below.

The main issues and areas of interest emerging from the discussions last week were:

  • The need for a joined up and coordinated programme of advocacy about the value of cultural education, both for schools and for the wider community, including parents and family networks
  • Linked to this, the need for cultural organisations to understand and work with schools in close and mutually beneficial partnerships, and for them to respond effectively to curriculum and learning outcomes and requirements
  • Scope to build on existing networks in the area, including the developing cultural hub
  • The need to ensure that responses to the Challenge are grounded in a strong sense of evidence and need amongst children and young people – with several participants able to provide good data that will help inform future work in this way, at both organisational and partnership level
  • A desire to work together around Arts Award and Artsmark, and build upon good work already taking place here – using these as concrete and clear structures to bring people together
  • There was an emphasis on the importance and benefits of shared learning within the cultural sector to help with progression and enhanced impact
  • The importance of involving young people (and their views, ideas and expertise) in shaping local responses to the Challenge, and much to build on here too, including current networks of creative interns and apprentices
  • Recognising that schools are not the only way to engage young people and that the emphasis can also be shifted to engagement outside of the formal education arena where schools are pressed or working to other priorities
  • To find out more about the Cultural Education Challenge, click here. It is also worth taking a look at the ACE Cultural Education Portal here.

    RIO, as the Arts Council England Bridge organisation for the South West, has been tasked with facilitating Cultural Education Partnership development in each area in order to respond to the national challenge. However, there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach and it is vital that as partnerships develop they meet identified needs and build upon existing foundations and requirements in each place. There are great foundations in Dorset, Bournemouth and Poole already.

    Going forward, RIO will be connecting with key local partners, such as Soundstorm/WAVE and the Arts Development Company, to explore next steps for the developing partnership and ways that we can work together to address or take forward some of the ideas and issues raised at the event.

    If you want to get in touch to find out how you can get involved in the Challenge, email