Have your say on children’s arts provision

Published April 17, 2008

Action for Children’s Arts (ACA), the UK body dedicated to the promotion and development of the creative and performing arts for children, is offering young people and parents the chance to have their say on the state of arts provision for children by contributing to a Children’s Arts Manifesto.

The Children’s Arts Manifesto is a nationwide project based on consultation with arts practitioners, children and adults which will set out what ACA believes has to happen to give young people in the UK more access to the arts. The manifesto will be launched at ACA’s annual conference on 21 July.

As part of its research ACA is holding a series of workshops for children throughout the UK to explore their views on the arts. In addition, children, parents and anyone else who wishes to contribute their views to the project are invited to complete an online questionnaire on the ACA website, www.childrensarts.org.uk

As work on the manifesto begins, ACA welcomes last week’s announcement by the government’s Department for Culture, Media and Sport that it wants to ensure all school children experience five hours of high culture every week, in and outside of the school day.

Leading children’s playwright and Chairman of ACA, David Wood, commented: “Anything that raises discussion on the subject of children’s arts is welcome. Five hours need not be taken too literally. It is the attitude that matters. If schools open up to the idea of attending more arts events and encouraging creative activity in the schools, maybe we will see the beginning of a shift towards culture in all its forms becoming part of children’s lives – the ingredients of the cake rather than the cherry on the top. At present, for many schools, even a cherry is not in evidence.”

Founded in 1998, ACA is a national membership organisation for all professionals working in children’s arts, with the aim of achieving access to the arts for all children aged 0-12. Its patrons include playwright Alan Ayckbourn, choreographer Matthew Bourne, National Theatre Director Nicholas Hytner and children’s authors Michael Morpurgo, Philip Pullman and Jacqueline Wilson.

CB