“I have had the good fortune to come to know the Art Room well over the past few years. It is quite simply a break-through project reaching pupils that virtually every other educational endeavour has failed.
“It’s a state of the art project too, in its use of Art as a communications tool and one through which many of the children have been able to express themselves as never before.
“The beauty of the art work achieved, the true sense of community achieved, and the extraordinary changes wrought in behaviour is beyond remarkable.”
Jon Snow, Newscaster, Channel 4 News
The Art Room Symposium at NESTA
The Art Room Symposium held at the magnificent new NESTA building was a great success attended by 80 professionals – including teachers, therapists, social workers, youth offending officers, mentors, artists and academics – who had an interest in the work of The Art Room.
Introduced and chaired by Jon Snow, the speakers included Simon Richey, Assistant Director of the Gulbenkian Foundation; Dr Anne McPherson, General Practitioner and Director of Youth Talk; Professor Alan Stein, Head of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry at Oxford University; Paul Aspinall Headteacher at Leamington Primary School; Emmanuelle Botwe, Achievement Co-ordinator Year 8 at Oxford School; and Juli Beattie, Director of The Art Room.
This event was the culmination of an eighteen month research programme called Project Transformation to see if The Art Room Oxford model was transferable to Leamington Primary School in Nottinghamshire. The event celebrated the outcome of the project and the feedback has been enormously positive and has generated interest with schools who would like an Art Room of their own. As a result, The Art Room is now running training programmes and will be publishing an art book and a practical methodology training manual, both to be published early next year.
The Art Room will be building on this success by holding another Symposium in October 2008 in Oxford.
“It was a real pleasure to be asked to speak about the Art Room on behalf of the staff at Oxford School. The Art Room is a phenomenal project which enables students to express themselves with dignity. Often the students who engage with the Art Room have troubled and chaotic home lives so the opportunity to access therapy through art is invaluable. What was really exciting about the NESTA conference was the opportunity for others involved in education to learn about the project and consider transporting the model to their establishments.”
Emmanuelle Botwe, Achievement Co-ordinator Year 8 at Oxford School
Photos by Caroline Silver Lewis