DRAMATIC EFFECT SOLIHULL ARTISTS IN SCHOOLS
Researchers: Jo Trowsdale, Tana Wolf, Geoff Lindsay and Jonothan Neelands
In September 2000, CEDAR, in partnership with The Institute of Education were contracted to undertake a two-year evaluation of 'Dramatic Effect', an artists in schools scheme in Solihull. Solihull LEA, in partnership with the Solihull Arts Complex received a RALP award from the Arts Council of England to undertake a pilot scheme employing theatre/performance artists to work with secondary school pupils in three Solihull schools, two situated in Chelmsley Wood. The project focused upon year 9s, but through peer teaching and other strategies, such work was experienced by pupils in other years. The project comprised a significant aspect of the borough's developing Arts Strategy. It aimed to promote partnerships between artists and schools, to advocate for the importance of the arts in school planning and to connect Solihull schools with developing arts practice in the wider borough community.
CEDAR and Institute staff researched both the impact that such arts activity has upon the individuals (pupils and staff) and schools involved, considering especially self-esteem, confidence and other aspects of personal and social development alongside the development of creativity and thinking skills that the arts are understood to foster. We also studyied the factors which facilitate effective or best practice for schools engaged in such work in achieving the aims outlined above. Data for year one was distilled into an interim report although many of the findings had already been shared orally at review and planning meetings. The final report was completed in Autumn 2002.