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Scroll down for November articles, including ‘Dance Futures’ and ‘Food Means Home’

November 2021


LeedsCEP, School Partnerships and Stepping Forward Together

What is LeedsCEP for? What value does it have and for whom? What are we trying to achieve and how?  LeedsCEP is going through a bit of a ‘re-set’ – post-covid, pre-LEEDS 2023, where we get to remind ourselves of why we are here, what we want to achieve and what the journey ahead may look like. Education partnerships and young voices, currently under-represented, are a key focus as we begin to plan ahead.

With LEEDS 2023 Year of Culture just around the corner, we have a real opportunity to come together and put creative and cultural learning centre-stage, to do something big and wonderful. LeedsCEP holds the ideal space to begin to broker those relationships, to realise those ‘wouldn’t it be great if..?’ ideas and solve those ‘what we really need is..’ challenges.

A new School Partnership Seed Commission Open Call from LEEDS 2023 is about nurturing ideas that could be realised as part of 2023’s creative education programme. The focus is on bringing different partners, from across different sectors, together with schools, colleges or other education providers, to explore an idea that excites them and that they haven’t had opportunity to do before.

LeedsCEP is in the perfect place to broker these links, to support the development of these ideas.  Anyone with a spark of an idea that they feel may fit the LEEDS 2023 brief should contact me ( to see how the LCEP can support it, and how we can broker those partnerships.

As a partnership we have recently come together (in a real space!) to recalibrate and redefine our way forward post-covid. External facilitator, Charlotte Mead, led a session where members began to define the purpose of LeedsCEP, what we wanted to achieve and how the structure of the LCEP could best support that. A follow-up session in January will focus on members planning clear deliverables against our priorities. Education partners are key to this process, as are young people and our focus will be on broadening our engagement to include these voices.

LEEDS 2023 will be an amazing year for children and young people, but it can also be a catalyst for a more joined-up relationship between education and the cultural sector. LeedsCEP is key to this partnership approach. If we use this time to build effective and inspiring partnerships, to model a way of working together which has real value for members – teachers, senior leaders, young people, artists, creatives – then LeedsCEP will be here, and thriving, way beyond 2023.

by Kathryn Welford, LeedsCEP & LEEDS 2023 Children & Young People’s Partnership Manager


Member Focus… Dance Futures Reflections

Dance Futures was a youth focussed conference created by Yorkshire Dance with support from Yorkshire’s Regional Dance Development Network. The day, hosted at Leeds City College, brought together youth groups, industry professionals and young people to explore new ideas, listen, learn and reflect on the future of youth dance.

It was inspiring to hear directly from young people about their experiences and hopes for the future of dance, including a specially commissioned animation film by local artist Jem Clancy which captured the voices of young people through recorded interviews. Other highlights included the ‘Young People Taking the Lead’ session led by CAPA College students and performances by Leeds City College and Kick Off Boys.

“Amazing performance today by Kick Off Boys Dance Project […] highlighting dance with a social purpose […] an insightful presentation”

A fabulous inspiring morning so far, reminding us all why we do what we do, and why it’s important we keep doing it”

Many young people shared reflections of the power of dance to connect them socially and emotionally. Dance continues to offer a voice for many young people who find expressing themselves in other ways really challenging. There were many examples of dance as a therapeutic experience, and an element of the conference that particularly resonated for many was the focus on wellbeing, inclusion and accessibility, in particular the ‘Mental Health and Wellbeing’ session and the ‘Moving Beyond Inclusive Practice’ sessions. Both of these highlighted areas in which organisations and freelancers alike could learn and incorporate ideas into their practice to make dance more accessible and viable for all. In particular, it was brilliant to hear from Ruben Reuter with TIN Arts whose presentation was inspiring, informative and important for breaking down barriers.

“Thank you Dance Futures, today has been a good day. I didn’t know that I needed it as much as I did… I’ve been inspired, informed & invigorated!”

Regardless of career progression in dance, the experience of taking part in a youth dance project, gives young people a sense of identity, self-worth and confidence – all of which are good life skills. Dance in school is in crisis with far less dance being offered in schools. This is NOT a reflection on uptake as when it is offered uptake is incredibly high. As stated in One Dance UK’s 2021 report, ‘Everything We Loved About Dance Was Taken: The place of dance in UK education’:

“[…] the pressures of the EBacc accountability measure and nationwide focus on subjects that are perceived to be ‘more academic’ and of ‘more value’ to students’ future careers that are causing this detrimental effect on dance in education. When children and young people are questioned about their participation and enjoyment of dance in out of-school settings, a very different picture emerges. In their 2020 ‘Girls Active’ report, Youth Sport Trust found that when asked what activity they most like to do, dance was voted third most popular by teenage girls. The annual Taking Part survey, which for 5 to 10-year-olds only collects data on activity that takes place outside of school, has reported a vast increase in the number of girls choosing to take part in dance, rising from 42% in 2011 to 53% in 2019.” (One Dance UK, ‘Everything We Loved About Dance Was Taken’ The place of dance in UK education, 2021: 15)

Dance Futures was an opportunity for young people, freelancers and organisations to be together in the same room, discussing and exploring the future of youth dance in a sustainable and captivating way. The event engaged with people of all ages and at all stages of their dance career with a real emphasis on human relationships and the pastoral support that young people have needed both during the pandemic and during the recovery. To summarise, below is a word cloud created out of audience feedback:


By Josephine Sillars, Yorkshire Dance


Food Means Home

Young people who have been separated from their families and are now living in Leeds are part of an exciting project exploring food culture from around the world, which was recently featured in the Financial Times Weekend Magazine (17/18 July 2021).

Being able to cook, eat and share food from their countries of origin opens up a window into a young person’s life before they arrived into the UK. The young people are creating a recipe collection which will not only be a useful tool for foster carers when young people are new to Leeds, but will also represent the young people’s presence and value in our city.

Child Friendly Leeds and Leeds Children and Families Social Work Service are working with The British Library to deliver the project, alongside project practitioners, Thahmina Begum and Nicola Parker (photographer). Sessions began online due to the national lockdown and included art based activities and then as the situation eased, the group were able to meet in person to cook, create and photograph food at Herd Farm.

In their recipe collection, Millen, Winta and the other young women from Eritrea and Ethiopia share a complementary set of six of their favourite dishes to be eaten with injera, the iconic East African flatbread.

Recipes from the first cohort of young people are now freely available on The British Library website. Three additional groups will take part in and contribute to the project, ahead of the publication of the full recipe collection in summer 2022.

by Jane Kaye, Child Friendly Leeds

photo credit: Nicola Parker


October 2021

A message from our new Chair

We’re thrilled to have Dr Briony Thomas as our new Independent Chair.  Briony explains why culture, learning and Leeds are so important to her and what she wants to bring to LeedsCEP.

Born and raised in LS2, I grew up on the doorstep to the city centre.  I walked everywhere, I was always in town; the theatres and galleries, nightlife and live music venues became part of who I was.  I took it all in, it was a privilege to be involved in it all.

Every job I had as a young person in this city worked its magic on me – from a first job in Jumbo Records where I developed a love of music that led me into DJing – to a passion for fashion that flourished while working in Harvey Nichols as student.  From starting my BTEC through to completing my Masters – accompanied by my small baby – I studied continuously in Leeds before taking on a role working at the University.

Outside teaching, I work with communities and schools to try to help young people to connect with art and culture; to examine how science and art go together.  To explore how geometry is used to make patterns or symmetry in microscopic natural forms, and demonstrate that you don’t need to be ‘the arty one’ or maths whizz to benefit from taking a closer look at both and bringing them together.

I’ve seen first-hand how Leeds has evolved over the past 40 years and the impact the city can have on its young people.  It’s now time for me to help my community through the Leeds Cultural Education Partnership [LeedsCEP] where I’m honoured to have just been appointed Chair.

LEEDS 2023: New Leeds Cultural Education Partnership to ‘inspire our young people’ | Yorkshire Evening Post


Member Focus…. Leeds Museums and Galleries

Leeds Museums & Galleries’ Primary School Membership Scheme met schools’ needs during the pandemic, forging surprising opportunities for the museum and school partnerships. It’s evaluation report ‘A New Way of Working’, shines a light on the unexpected impacts of the Membership Scheme and the opportunities that lie ahead.

In September 2021 Leeds Museums and Galleries Learning and Access team launched a new report – ‘LMG Primary School Membership Scheme: A New Way of Working’. The report is the result of a 2 year external evaluation project aimed at really getting to the bottom of the Primary School Membership Scheme, its impact, and the way it is valued by our member schools. However, in the circumstances of the pandemic, which struck only a few months into the initial evaluation, it became a real opportunity to track the way that LMG has pivoted how it works with schools to respond to their needs, and the impact that this has on the relationships between member schools and Leeds Museums.

The membership scheme has three levels: Bronze, Silver and Gold. All members receive loans boxes of real artefacts from the museum collection, object handling training for teachers to ensure the teachers are confident in handling the objects safely, and curriculum support. They also receive credits towards workshops, assemblies and access to special projects through the year. The membership scheme provides a hands-on way of teaching and learning, making it fun and engaging for both teachers and children, and enhancing cultural capital. As part of Gold membership, schools also have access to 6 hours of bespoke CPD.

The New Way of Working report specifically focuses on LMG’s Gold Members. Over the course of the pandemic, the way that LMG’s Membership team worked with our Gold members really grew and changed in response to their needs, and as a result our ability to understand and support all of our members has also developed into a new way of working. What started as one school asking us to deliver specific training and support them to feed local history into their Medium Term Plans grew into co-writing new curriculums with our schools that were locally and micro-locally rooted, diverse, and authentic to the school. This helped us to have conversations with our schools about using their CPD hours strategically, with a mix of whole school training and in-depth topic work with individual year groups.

With the launch of virtual workshops, and shorter object-based virtual drop-ins (which will continue post-pandemic) our members were also able to access the museum collections in a way that they never had before. This really enabled us to bring to life our vision for the membership as a holistic, whole school scheme which helps schools to embed cultural capital through local history, objects and experiential learning, and virtual access to the collections. We’ve been able to really understand what our schools value and need from us and have grown our offer to provide this.

The New Way of Working report follows the growth of our offer and the impact it has had. It sets out a framework for the future that we hope any museum or cultural organisation might find useful. To top it all off, shortly before we launched it, we were honoured to receive the Museums and Heritage Show Learning Outreach Award 2021. It just goes to show that positive change really can come out of adversity in some cases.

Find out more here

by Emily Nelson, Learning & Access Officer, LMG


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