Highlights of 2017/18


by Carys Owen (Cuckoo)

Artis Extra

As the corridors empty, the classroom materials get packed away, and the last squeals of laughter echo through the playground to signal the start  of the six-week Summer – we look back at a fantastic academic year of achievements in our partner schools and here at Artis.

This year has been a big one for us. In September 2017, we officially became a charity, focused on transforming more lives through the arts. Our new Chief Executive, June Stevenson, talks more about our transition to a charity in a blog you can read here.

As a new charity, we developed our values, our four mission areas and our Theory of Change, which defined our vision for a world enriched through the arts. We also brought together our new Board of Trustees, Rebecca Boyle-Suh, Lord Michael Bichard, Michael Friend, Baroness Genista McIntosh and our newest engagement Wendy Steatham, a freelance arts practitioner and Artis Mentor Leader.


Bringing the Curriculum to Life

This year Artis provided children across the UK with over 20,000 hours of arts activities to help engage them in their learning and stimulate creative skills. 100% of Artis partner schools said that their provision had improved their children’s Communication, Confidence, Teamwork, Participation, and Creative Thinking.

Our Artis specialist has helped our most vulnerable children to open up in a safe environment encouraging creative growth. The students know they can be creative within the group. It’s fun to be able to be a part of that.

Sebright Primary School

In 2018, Artis became an Artsmark Partner, which means that we are part of an Arts Council England endorsed network of arts and cultural organisations who can support schools’ Artsmark journey. We also became an Arts Award Centre. In January 2018, 150 children and young people achieve the Arts Award Discover qualification through Artis. 

This academic year 1,165 of teachers were supported in their professional development through Artis’ CPD programmes. From creative tools for behaviour management to using dance to support numeracy, our creative teacher training looks to create a culture of creativity in the classroom . 91% of schools said that Artis had impacted their teaching staffs’ professional development. 

In the Summer of this year, Artis devised a schools programme to go alongside the Guildhall Art Gallery’s Sublime Symmetry exhibition which examined the work of William De Morgan, a ceramic designer of the late Victorian period. Wendy Steatham (Whirl) ran workshops that focused on KS2 geometry using dance, linking both the visual and the performing arts to curriculum topics. You can read more here.


Promoting wellbeing and tackling social issues

The benefits of the arts for health are well documented, and a number of recent government and independent reports have recommended more arts in schools to support the growing mental health issues in children and young people. Artis have been at the forefront of arts organisations responding to this problem and has been developing programmes that support mental health and wellbeing through the arts. We’ve written a number of blogs and contributed to discussions around ways the arts can better support mental health in schools.

In 2018, Artis was commissioned by Milton Keynes CCG, the Cultural Education Partnership (MKCEP) and Artswork to devise and deliver You, Me, Together, a project which took place across four Milton Keynes to explore children’s awareness and understanding of mental health.

Artis Specialist, Martha (Kablam) used arts activities to discover the language children and young people use to talk about their own feelings and emotions. The resulting film received press attention and lots of social media interaction. We are looking to continue our work in Milton Keynes and expand this project going into next academic year. You can watch the film below:


Discovering and nurturing artists as educators

Artis’ January training for our Specialist took place in Manchester and London this year. It was a fantastic day with variety of sessions with ideas for creative activities for Early Years and Reception, how to break the clichés with new and different session plans, and developing opportunities for child-led choreography.

This Summer we return to the Royal Agricultural University for our residential training for Specialists from across the country, and we can’t wait!

Artis has developed my skillset as an educator and also given me communicative tools that are beneficial in all areas of life.

On a personal level, Artis has made me believe in myself more in being able to show performing skills and make them useful for enriching children. In terms of my professional development, Artis has enabled me to understand behavioural management and confident in working with children.

You may have spotted our series of Specialist stories on the Artis blog this year – see Giggle’s, Chime’s, and Chuckle’s stories. Here you can read about the journey our Specialists took to get to where they are now, their experiences with Artis, and their plans for their future development.

This year, Artis went back to South Korea to deliver a training opportunity for teachers through the CMKF Foundation. This gave Specialists an opportunity to work internationally and develop their own career portfolio as training providers and educators. You can read about last years’ training here.

Artis became a Living Wage Employer this year to show our commitment to fair pay for all of our employees. We also completed an analysis of our diversity and equality monitoring, and were pleased to find that we were very strong compared to national averages across the education and arts sectors. However this is always room for improvement which we will continue to monitor going forward.


Advocating the importance of arts in learning

It’s a difficult time for the arts, particularly in schools, and so this year it has become imperative that we advocate and campaign for creativity in education.

To contribute to the dialogue taking place, Artis has been deepening its engagement with evaluation, and expanding and refining methods to measure the impact of the arts in schools. We were successful in our bid to London music charity, Sound Connections, for funding to support evaluation of our projects with the support of consultancy, Project Oracle. To learn more about what we’ve been up to click here.

We’ve also been chatting to lots and lots of educators, academics, consultants and specialists in their field about how Artis can contribute to wider discussions in the sector. It’s been great to engage with so many fantastic organisations and think about ways we can work together to achieve.


In September, we will be releasing our Annual Report so you can hear more about the impact of Artis in 2017/18, our developments as a charity, and some fantastic stories from schools, teachers, our Artis Specialists and children.

Watch this space…

24 Jul 2018

Registered Charity Number 1174635