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Burberry Inspire
The Burberry Foundation is launching in Yorkshire the first in-school programme of its scope and scale to understand how deep the experience of the arts can have a positive effect on young people’s lives.
First in school arts and culture programme of its scope and scale.

Leeds Playhouse, Leeds Young Film, Northern Ballet and The Hepworth Wakefield to partner with the Burberry Foundation and Ideas Foundation to deliver the programme. The Policy Institute at King’s College London will study the impact of the immersive arts and creative education programme on the students’ development.

The Burberry Foundation is launching in Yorkshire the first in-school programme of its scope and scale to understand how deep the experience of the arts can have a positive effect on young people’s lives. The impact of the four-year long programme will be studied by researchers from the Policy Institute at King’s College London, who will examine how cultural and creative education can help young people to transcend challenging circumstances, widen their horizons and realise their aspirations.

Created in close partnership with the Ideas Foundation, the ‘Burberry Inspire’ programme will be delivered in eight schools in Yorkshire, and run by four eminent, local organisations across theatre, film, dance and art: Leeds Playhouse, Leeds Young Film, Northern Ballet and The Hepworth Wakefield.

By measuring the impact of the programme on the students’ personal and academic development, the Policy Institute at King’s College London aims to generate valuable evidence about the effects of creative learning and provide a greater understanding of effective ways to engage with young people.

Each of the four organisations will provide the schools with a dedicated Artist in Residence who will give Key Stage 3 students wide-ranging, hands-on experience of different areas of the creative arts. The Artist in Residence will also collaborate with teachers and students to co-create events designed to have a broad reach across their local communities. Each organisation will work with two schools per year, with all eight schools working with all four organisations by the end of the four-year programme.

Leeds Playhouse will help students explore their sense of what it means to represent the future of Yorkshire today, inspired by the play ‘Partition’, a story about the impact of heritage. They will also have the opportunity to work with voice coaches, public speakers and performers.

Leeds Young Film will run filmmaking related workshops to develop transferable skills including virtual reality, documentary, music video, social media, vlogging and art film; developing the students’ technical abilities, problem-solving and creative communication.

Northern Ballet will introduce the students to creative dance, developing their confidence and team working skills and helping them to discover different ways to express themselves through a universal language of movement for diverse communities.

The Hepworth Wakefield will support students to explore the relationship between place, emotion and identity, focusing on the changing industrial cityscape and what excites and inspires them about their city. The programme will provide an opportunity for the students to express themselves through a range of creative mediums – from printmaking to sculpting – taking inspiration from the legacy and achievements of Barbara Hepworth and Henry Moore, who were both born in Wakefield District, to help build a sense of civic pride and place in the community.

Leanne Wood, a Trustee of the Burberry Foundation and Chief People, Strategy and Corporate Affairs Officer at Burberry commented:

“We are very proud that the Burberry Foundation will deliver this unique programme in the heart of Yorkshire in partnership with these leading organisations. At Burberry, we believe that creativity should be nurtured, and we are passionate about championing the benefits of making arts and culture available to all. We want to inspire young people across the country to explore the wide variety of ways they can be involved in the creative industries, and help to create a wealth of talent for one of Britain’s most important sectors.”

Heather MacRae, Managing Director of Ideas Foundation commented:

“Ideas Foundation is incredibly excited to be partnering on this project. We believe creativity doesn’t have a class, but it should have a classroom. By bringing creativity into schools we are delivering experiences that will inspire young people and give them an insight into future careers in the creative industries.”

Dr Benedict Wilkinson, a Senior Research Fellow at the Policy Institute at King’s College London said:

“The Policy Institute is delighted to be involved in this initiative. Too many cultural and educational programmes are introduced without being adequately evaluated, so we’re thrilled that the Burberry Foundation has set out to rigorously analyse the impact of this project from the get-go. Doing these kinds of evaluations, rather than relying on anecdotes, is how we come to know how what actually works and gives us the best chance of making a difference to young people’s lives.”

Alexander Ferris, Director of Creative Engagement at Leeds Playhouse said:

“We are incredibly excited by the potential of the project and our shared ambitions of inspiring young people, raising achievements and aspirations through participation in the arts. Creative activity in our schools is a vital part of every young person’s education – fostering skills in empathy, reflection, resilience, communication and adaptability.

Our Playhouse Education programme brings together teachers, educators, young people and theatre professionals to find innovative ways to support the curriculum and to ensure that the young people of Leeds have access to an excellent cultural education. Working in collaboration with the other Yorkshire partners, supported by the Burberry Foundation, is going to create so many opportunities and transformative experiences, not only for the young people participating but also for the organisations involved.”

Debbie Maturi, Manager at Leeds Young Film said:

“Leeds Young Film has been working with young people to learn about and make films for the last 16 years, and we are delighted to be working in partnership with filmmaker Rad Miller and schools across the Yorkshire region to have our legacy as a leading film educator recognised by the Burberry Foundation.

Over the next four years, we will work with young people to become the next generation of film talent, opening up skills and career opportunities in the film that they may not have considered, and are nationally in demand including transferable contemporary skills such as narrative filmmaking including using virtual reality, vlogging and social media.

Our school partners will also explore the world of cultural film watching and making, including opportunities to participate in our leading film festivals, including Leeds Young Film Festival which now welcomes over 15,000 attendees every year, which we hope to grow even further as we work towards Leeds 2023 year of cultural celebration.”

Councillor Judith Blake, leader of Leeds City Council also commented:

“I am delighted that Leeds Young Film is part of this exciting and important programme within secondary schools. We know that our young people will benefit hugely from access to the essential and transferable skills that cultural organisations can offer. We are excited to see how the programme develops alongside existing cultural activity across Leeds City Council and within our communities.”

Leanne Kirkham, Director of Learning at Northern Ballet commented:

“As a Leeds-based company with an international reputation, we are thrilled that this ground-breaking project is happening in the North of England, shining a light on Yorkshire’s exceptional cultural offer. Through this project, Northern Ballet will reach thousands more young people and open their eyes to the opportunities available in arts and culture, offering progression and pathways into the sector. Northern Ballet wants everyone to experience great art. The aims of this project could not align better with this, and we can’t wait to get started.”

Nicola Freeman, Director of Engagement and Learning at The Hepworth Wakefield commented:

“With the number of young people taking GCSE and A-level arts subjects in the UK at record lows, combined with the very real need for creative thinking and innovation for our future economy, there couldn’t be a more pertinent time for The Hepworth Wakefield to be working in a sustained way with secondary school students.

We are incredibly grateful to the Burberry Foundation for enabling this ambitious four-year project with our local schools and regional cultural partners. It is so important that young people are given an opportunity like this to experience world-class art, be inspired to express themselves creatively and appreciate the range of careers that are open to them. We are really excited by the outcomes that this project will deliver for so many young people in Yorkshire.”

The Burberry Foundation has a longstanding relationship with Yorkshire and supporting its communities, such as tackling educational inequality through a partnership with Teach First and The Career & Enterprise Company. Yorkshire is also the home of the iconic Burberry trench coat, which is manufactured in Castleford using materials produced at the Burberry Mill in Keighley.