Sunderland Schools can now get their ArtsFix

A FREE new resource has been launched aimed at improving the arts offer in Sunderland primary schools.

Sunderland Culture’s Artsfix is the result of three years research work with three Washington schools – Biddick Academy, Columbia Grange School and Usworth Primary School.

Sunderland Culture Producer Vicki Kennedy, who led the project, said: “We’re so pleased to introduce ArtsFix – our brand new, free, creative tool for schools.

“Designed by Sunderland Culture in partnership with local schools, teachers and creative learning practitioners, Artsfix offers schools inspiration, new ideas and support to bring creativity into the primary classroom.

The resource is available on Sunderland Culture’s website at

www.sunderlandculture.org.uk/artsfix where you can find an Artsfix Teacher’s Hub. Within the hub, teachers can find free resources, ideas and support.

Vicki explained: “Over the last three years my fellow producer Rachel Hamer and I have worked with the three Washington schools to explore ways to develop creativity in out schools. It was important to us that there would be a legacy from the learning gained from working with the three schools – a primary, a secondary and a school for pupils with learning difficulties and/or autism.

“At first we thought this legacy might be a cultural passport – with targets suggested of cultural things pupils, and perhaps families, could do by a certain age. We decided this approach would be too labour intensive for schools and teachers so changed direction.

“I think Artsfix is a great legacy of learning – showing schools with little or no budget how they can be more creative while also giving practical help and advice about what careers there are in the arts and culture sector.

“We have three hubs within the Artsfix website. Our first, which is already live, is for teachers to visit and find out all they need to know about how to embed creativity in the classroom. There are step by step guides for introducing arts to all subjects in the classroom, making it easy for teachers to try different elements to either just get started, or to see what works best for their pupils.

“Our second hub, which will be live over the coming weeks, is for young people and will be based on learning from the three schools, but particularly Biddick Academy. This is aimed at providing information to young people about what creative careers exist in the city and nationally. We’ll have plenty of video case studies of local people working in the arts sector talking about their roles and their career journeys.

“Our third hub, which again will be launched soon, is aimed squarely at giving families an idea of what cultural and artistic activities are available in the city – a one-stop what’s on guide which will incorporate an interactive map of venues and activities. Within this hub there will also be a resource of things for families to do together, indoors, which has been developed through the lockdowns.

“There will be Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) sections within the teachers’ hub and the family hub too – with information about SEND specific workshops.”

Lesley Mavin, former Headteacher at Columbia Grange, said: “There are some fantastic resources and national links that I wasn’t aware of. The SEND section also gave some wonderful ideas of potential partners and artists to bring into school.”

Artsfix was supported by National Lottery players through Sunderland Culture’s Great Place programme, funded by Arts Council England and National Lottery Heritage Fund. The three-year, £20m national Great Place programme was launched in 2016 and designed to pilot new approaches to local investment in arts and culture.

As well as supporting increased cultural engagement, the programme aimed to nurture long-term impact in towns and cities across the UK. Sunderland Culture was one of 16 organisations chosen to deliver a Great Place project.

Further funding for Artsfix came from the Sir James Knott Trust and Culture Bridge North East.