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Plans unveiled to ensure every child in Barnet has access to the arts by 2027

MDX has joined forces with more than 100 arts and education members to pledge an artist in every school in the area

MDX supports the vision that Barnet children should have access to a wide range of cultural opportunities and has co-authored Barnet & Culture For Youth’s Cultural Education Strategy, which pledges an artist in each school by 2027.

Performing Arts at MDX is a founding member of the Barnet Cultural Education Partnership, which, since 2019, has been building on an aim to provide a rich cultural education for every child and young person in the borough.

When work during the Pandemic showed shortcomings regarding access to creative career opportunities, MDX helped develop, co-author, and design the strategy document together with key partners in the wider network, such as artsdepot.

Dr Robert Vesty, Senior Lecturer in Theatre Arts at MDX, said: “This vision is a great example of MDX’s connectivity with our local communities as well as a serving as a lively example of how we can put the theme of ‘enriching lives through culture’, articulated in MDX’s 2031 strategy, into action.”

The Cultural Education Strategy has themes of engagement, employability, wellbeing and advocacy and places an emphasis on priority groups to include those removed from mainstream education, young people with learning disabilities and those faith and home educated.

Access to creative activity is known to support wellbeing, community connections, and lifelong engagement.

Ambitions set out in the paper include:

  • By 2027 every school in Barnet will welcome an annual artist residency, enriching cultural life in the school
  • Every child and young person in Barnet will have access to music lessons, dance classes, visual arts classes, theatre and museum trips
  • The cultural economy of Barnet will have expanded, the borough will be rich with collaboration and innovation, diverse communities will be engaged and centre-place
  • Young people will be supported to consider creative careers and enabled to live a rich cultural life supporting self-expression, talent development, self-confidence and wellbeing

Cllr Pauline Coakley Webb, Lead Member for Children and Education added: “It’s great that Barnet’s major cultural venues, the RAF Museum and artsdepot, the Music Hub, BEAT, production companies and studios are working alongside education partners, Middlesex University and schools to give Barnet children such a range of local creative opportunities.”

Joel, 16, a member of the artsdepot Young Advocates group said: “I think artistic subjects such as drama and music should be prioritised just as much as core subjects. As you get older these subjects, such as maths and science are given more importance and the creative subjects get left as an afterthought. If they were prioritised people would be able to see that you can actually get a job and make money from being creative.”

A strategy launch event will take place at the RAF Museum on 3rd November 4-6pm with presentations and performances from local young people.

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