Participatory African Arts with Osun Arts

Osun Arts Foundation

Context

The school chose to work with Osun Arts to develop a creative, broad and balanced curriculum, giving children the opportunity to excel individually and collectively, increasing their confidence, attainment and self esteem.

Osun Arts helped the school to identify the following aims:

  • Promote and respect African arts and culture and engage parents.
  • Students and staff go on a journey together with professional West African Artists to develop performing arts skills
  • Increase understanding and build knowledge of Britain as a vibrant multi-cultural society.
  • Promote the creative instincts, self-confidence and self-esteem of pupils and staff

Activity

Over several weeks, professional African artists facilitated 120 children and their teachers to create their own performances for parents: one for Year 1 and the other for Year 2. These were inspired by traditional stories: ‘The Naming Ceremony’ and ‘The Legend of the Golden Stool’. Children learned about the African Oral tradition of narration, poetry, proverbs, jokes and riddles.

Children developed the following new skills and wove them into their final performance:

  • Original dance techniques from West Africa, using new steps and techniques, accompanied by live drumming.
  • Music: listening to and playing West African instruments, percussion and musical rhythms
  • Learning about African textiles and tie-dying their own clothing
  • Looking at and handling African masks and sculpture, learning the stories behind them and creating their own clay masks – children acquired the unique skill of turning two-dimensional masks into three-dimensional masks
  • Authentic West African drama and story telling, experiencing forms of drama which are quite different from those used in the West
  • Visual art inspired by the project and displayed in an exhibition for parents to experience during their visits to children’s performances

Infants art work

School Development Changes

To be reported after the school has submitted their Artsmark Statement of Impact.

Impact

Early observations:

  • Staff felt that the project stretched their own skills, as well as their expectations of the children, allowing pupils to make significant progress with their learning.
  • The children’s oral confidence and delivery was outstanding, even amongst those usually shy to talk in public.
  • Children developed a sense of pride, ownership and belonging in their different roles in the project, leading to positive behaviour, kindness, encouragement and a highly inclusive learning environment in which all children could be inspired to achieve something, whether performing, playing music, singing, dancing, writing and creating sculptures.
  • During Osun Arts visit days, attendance was closer to 100% because every pupil wanted to be part of an exciting, inspiring and engaging journey.

Further impact to be reported after the school has submitted their Artsmark Statement of Impact.