At a time when the arts are being squeezed out of the curriculum, inviting an artist to take up residence in your school can be an excellent way to supplement arts education.
Working directly with an artist can reveal the process of creating art and help pupils to experiment with their creativity and gain confidence in expressing themselves. It will also give young people an insight into the professional arts world and demonstrate the continuum from art made in the classroom through to professional practice.
The benefits might be obvious, but the process of setting up an artist in residence may not be. Here are some tips for a successful collaboration.
- Think about your project brief
Make sure you have a purpose in mind for the artist to work towards. What type of involvement would you like the artist to have? You may want them to give talks, run practical workshops or lead a project that will involve pupils in the production of an artwork. Think about how the residency will link to school curriculum or out-of-school activity. Make sure you are clear about what you hope students and staff will gain from the experience.
- Set a timeline
How many times a week will this artist come in and for how long? Will the students display their learning at the end of the residence? Will this be for the school Parents?
- Give the artist specifics
Make sure the artist knows who to contact if they are going to miss a class due to illness or other factors. What is the make-up policy?
- Have a conversation about how the school staff can support the artist.
How would the artist like to handle classroom management? What does the artist need to know about the students in order to meet the learning needs of all students?