Heather Davis, LCEP Chair
4 Apr, 2023
Cross-arts partnerships and how they have inspired me over the years as an educator

Way back in the mid 80’s my secondary dance teacher invited my friends and I to go to the Blue Coat Chambers Art Gallery in the heart of Liverpool city centre to take part in a cross-arts project. This opportunity recognised our ability as dancers but also provided us with a weeklong immersive experience in this beautiful art gallery during our half term holiday.

We studied artworks, touched sculptures, drew dance pathways, designed holograms, explored contemporary dance styles, and were enriched by the creativity around us. Our piece responded creatively to the works we had viewed.

My group responded to a woodblock artwork, and we responded to the shapes, lines, curves, and kinaesthetic feel of the piece. The lines of the wood block became linear dance pathways, the curves evolved into turns and the smooth touch of the wood became the bonds we made with each other in the beautiful Blue Coat Gallery space. The final piece was performed to original music, and we wore the holograms we designed on our T shirts. In all the experience opened my eyes to the ways one can create work from stimuli. How one work can inform another and how creative we are as human beings.

Moving forward I went on to study dance and become a secondary dance teacher too. I am now in my 34th year and still try to find opportunities for my students to explore new spaces, combine arts and to be inspired by other art forms.

I love delivering combined arts projects and can often be found creating pieces which involve music, dance, drama, and art. I am passionate about the value of arts and culture in our lives. I feel all children and young people should have fair access to the arts through their education and have fought to sustain the arts provision in schools for many years.

I became involved in launching an LCEP for Chelmsford through my connections with the Royal Opera House Bridge. It became clear that there was a need to develop this in Chelmsford and together with Marc De’ath, ROH Bridge and local teachers we started to discuss how to set an LCEP up. I am delighted to report that we are now up and running and I have taken on the role of chair of the steering group. It has been wonderful to see the LCEP receive funding from ACE, Chelmsford City Council and the Culture Trust. This has enabled action research projects to be launched including the Incubator project and we look forward to hearing of the outcomes of such research.

Through my links with the LCEP, my level 3 Performing Arts students were able to devise an original drama and perform it as part of the Cultural Strategy launch at the newly re-furbished Chelmsford Theatre. This opportunity to perform on the main stage during February half term was a brilliant example of cross arts in action and reminded me of where this all started for me. The students connected dance, drama, singing and radio to produce a play which considered the future of the arts for Chelmsford. I am exceptionally proud of their achievements that day and of how they engaged different audiences through both their performance and public speaking. It is clear to me that the future of culture is bright for Chelmsford.

 

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