Research & Evaluation

Case Study: UK Arts BackPack

Context

UK charity Action for Children’s Arts (ACA) commissioned always possible, in partnership with children’s theatre expert Michael Judge, to explore the idea of a virtual Arts BackPack being offered to every primary school child in the UK.

The concept of the Arts BackPack is to serve as a digital collection point for a child’s arts, cultural, heritage and library engagements and experiences across the school year. The aim is to ensure that each child can access a minimum of five experiences. It is not meant to be a new invention, but an evolved idea that ACA feel would speak to children in a clear and visible way.

Action for Children’s Arts case study

Challenge

The feasibility study needed to enable the creation of a national steering group and potentially regional steering groups. Key to the process was the identification of whether there is a strong case to support it across all four UK nations.

The study needed to offer clear reporting from a current review of published information and available literature related to the concept and scope of a UK wide initiative challenging all primary school children to connect with heritage, libraries, culture and the arts.

Intervention

  • Literature review
  • Qualitative and quantitive research
  • Reporting
  • Data visualisation

Outcome

  • Preparation for pilot programme ✓
  • Presentation in the House of Lords ✓
  • New funding secured ✓
  • Supported case for future funding ✓
  • Clear analysis of opportunities and risks ✓
  • Coverage in The Stage and Arts Professional ✓

What is profoundly clear from the report is that access to culture is extremely unequal across UK schools. As an organisation we are passionate about targeting those children who do not currently access arts and culture, and hope that the Arts Backpack will be a means of levelling an unequal cultural playing field.

Children’s TV presenter Chris Jarvis in Arts Professional

A scheme intended to give every primary school child in the UK access to at least five cultural experiences each year is to begin piloting this September. Inspired by similar schemes in Norway, Germany and Israel, the Arts Backpack UK is the brainchild of charity Action for Children’s Arts, which campaigns for young people’s access to culture.

The Stage, May 2019
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