Art, Craft and Design Teaching and the Creative Industries

Published: 16/12/2022, 12:00pm

CCEA recently partnered with Nerve Centre, Belfast, at W5 Learning Centre, and Belfast School of Art Ulster University, to deliver a support event for teachers who are keen to understand better the opportunities for young people in Northern Ireland’s Creative Industries.

The event included presentations and workshops from Creative Learning Centres, Nerve Centre and Amma, Ulster Screen Academy, Belfast School of Art, Creative and Cultural Skills, and Creative Schools Partnership.

Belfast School of Art, Head of School, Doctor Brian Dixon, gave an overview on Themes of change and constancy in Art, Craft and Design. Also presenting from Ulster University were lecturers from the BA courses on Game Design, Interactive Design and Animation. They brought teachers up to date on the content of courses, the requirements for entry and the opportunities in these industries for the future. Inspiring us was Ulster University's Professor Declan Keaney, (Director of the NI Screen Academy) who informed us of the huge investment, positive future, and employment potential across this Industry. In short, those studying Art and Design qualifications in school, are on the road to an exciting, diverse, and ever-expanding range of careers right here in Northern Ireland.

We were delighted to listen to Foundation studies in Art and Design lecturers, Dr Pauline Clancy, and Dr Laura O’Connor (Also Turner Prize winner from the Artist collective “Array”), who stressed again current directions in Art and Design, with a big emphasis on collaboration, community, and social change.

Sarah Lawrence and her colleagues from Nerve delivered an animation workshop, and we also had a Design Thinking workshop from Paul McCormick from Belfast School of Art.

Gemma Carroll from Creative and Cultural Skills explained to teachers the work they do in developing Creative apprenticeships across the Creative Industries. Marie O’Donoghue from Creative Schools Partnership brought the day to a close, eloquently explaining the successful projects they have done with schools in urban villages; building collaboration, cross curricular cooperation, and most importantly self esteem and achievement for pupils. She reminded us what the core of teaching and engaging with the Arts is all about - helping pupils express themselves, deal with challenges, build confidence, develop a range of transferable skills and preparing them for a successful life.

A highlight for some teachers, which sent them home with the positivity they needed to bring back to schools after a time of darkness, was the Luminescence - Beacons of light workshop from Doctor Pamela Whitaker and her students, (Lecturer in Art Psychotherapy, Ulster University), where teachers had a chance to reflect, meditate and heal themselves through a “Light installation”. Teachers reported that they felt feel connected, supported, reinvigorated, and part of a bigger team working towards similar goals in improving Art, Craft and Design education across Northern Ireland.

CCEA’s GCSE and GCE qualifications in Art and Design and Contemporary Crafts are already delivering the skills and knowledge pupils require for the Creative Industries. It was telling that the word “Collaboration” came up in almost every presentation, and this is already an approach facilitated in GCSE Art and Design. We were able to listen to teachers and make plans to help their future professional development, and to inform ourselves about potential qualification development for the future.

This event was about informing, but also restoring a positive energy in our teachers, sharing knowledge and experience, and allowing them space to tap into their own natural creativity and skills. They returned to school to share the good news about the Creative Industries with their colleagues, parents and pupils.

Sarah Lawrence from Nerve Belfast delivering the animation workshop

Sarah Lawrence from Nerve Belfast delivering the animation workshop

Design thinking workshop

Design thinking workshop

Marie O’Donoghue explaining the Creative schools project

Marie O’Donoghue explaining the Creative Schools project

Gemma Carroll, Creative and Cultural Skills, Amanda Swann, Director of Qualifications , CCEA, Doctor Brian Dixon, Belfast School of Art, Anne McGinn Education manager at CCEA

Gemma Carroll, Creative and Cultural Skills, Amanda Swann, Director of Qualifications , CCEA, Doctor Brian Dixon, Belfast School of Art, Anne McGinn Education manager at CCEA

Teachers in the animation work

Teachers in the animation work

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