Kirklees Children’s Biennale

29th March 2018 - Adam Halls

Kirklees Cultural Education Partnership are launching a Kirklees Children’s Biennale to take place in schools and venues around Kirklees this autumn.

Guitar at an Artsmark Partnership EventThe Kirklees Children’s Biennale festival week will run from 5th-10th November with a finale showcase at Huddersfield Town Hall on Wednesday 7th November. During the festival, children & young people will get the chance to take part in extraordinary creative arts experiences exploring the theme of ‘Darkness and Light.’ These include: making podcasts in a campervan radio station; writing poems and then bringing them to life as animated short films; creating and presenting their own immersive theatre productions; and making pieces of art which will be presented along the platforms at stations along the Penistone Line and at Huddersfield Station.

The Children’s Biennale has been developed by members of Kirklees Cultural Education Partnership (KCEP) and led by The Children’s Art School. Chloe Williams, Director at The Children’s Art School, added:

“We’re thrilled to have secured funding for The Children’s Art School to produce the first Kirklees Children’s Biennale and our KCEP partners including Chol Theatre, ManasamitraMusica Kirklees and Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival will be working with us to create unforgettable experiences with our young people. Our theme is Darkness and Light and we’ll launch the festival with Our Brilliant Roadshow which will visit local schools at the end of the summer term.”

The Brilliant Roadshow will begin in the summer term where members of KCEP will visit local schools to let them know how they can get involved in the Kirklees Children’s Biennale.

The festival has made possible thanks to a grant from Arts Council England, and Stephanie Simm, Relationship Manager for Children, Young People and Learning at Arts Council England said:

“Arts Council is very pleased to support the Kirklees Children’s Biennale Festival’ through its Grants for the Arts programme.

The Biennale will include professional artists, young people, and community and arts organisations and will explore music, dance, drama, visual arts, spoken word and creative writing. The festival will take place in a variety of spaces usual and unusual (including online) across Kirklees. Children and Young People will have the opportunity to make and compose, to visit, experience and critically review- a really good range of exciting cultural experiences.

It supports Arts Council’s wider ambitions for the Cultural Education Challenge and shows the importance of partnership working through the Local cultural Education Partnership in Kirklees.”

Schools can get involved in a variety of ways. Lead partner schools can collaborate with The Children’s Art School to deliver a creative project across a minimum of a 5-day residency, which could span across a half term. These projects are worth between £3000 to £5000 but will cost schools only £500 to participate.

Alternatively, for a smaller involvement, schools can have a 1-day residency for £200 or 3 day residency for £350.

Northern Ballet instructor at an Artsmark Celebration Event

The banner projects for the Children’s Biennale are:

Campervan Radio

Working with Secondary schools in Kirklees, Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival (hcmf//) and Musica Kirklees – the local music hub for the area, will partner up to deliver radio podcasting and DJ workshops for schools via a mobile radio, set up in a campervan that will visit schools in the area and work with them on a 8 week project.  These young people who have worked in the workshops will have the opportunity to co-produce their own live radio and DJ night at one of the local venues – exploring the theme of the children’s Biennale – light and dark.  The project will be aimed at 13-18 year olds and will offer a contemporary way of getting into music, which includes technical, presenting and script-writing skills, which will aim to boost their confidence and ability to work in small groups to produce something exciting, that will hopefully give the children the skills to continue further with radio production/DJ skills in the future.

The Children’s Art School Poetry and Animation project

This project will involve 2 schools from different areas of Kirklees during September- October 2018 and would suit KS2 and KS3. The children will work with a poet to create poems about their area of Kirklees as well as create large-scale collaborative drawings of the local area as backdrops and puppets to their poems/stories.

An animation will be produced with the children reading their poems and using stop motion animation to enact them.

The animations will collectively present a children’s view of Kirklees and will be available digitally with a preview event for participants and families at the participating schools. Subsequently we intend to enter the animation into appropriate national and international film and children’s arts festivals.

Chol Theatre Imaginary Communities

Chol Theatre will extend their work in secondary schools in Kirklees from May 2018. They will create and present performances with up to 120 young people to be presented as part of the Festival using their immersive theatre making experience Imaginary Communities. This will be directed by Vicky Sawka and the children’s own ideas about festival content.

The Great Kirklees Railways Art exhibition

School children (aged 8-16yrs) will produce approx. 100 large-scale paintings, which will be exhibited throughout the Biennale along the platforms at stations along the Penistone Line and at Huddersfield Station. This project is available anytime from May – October 2018 and can be delivered in school hours or as an after school activity.

Working with a poet and visual artist the children and young people will explore light and dark in terms of local history linked to the railways, geography, landscape and mythology  (and in particular the myths and legends of the dragon at Castle Hill), creating poetry and paintings as a response. The artwork on each station will be distinctly different from that on other stations creating a visual narrative for those travelling by train through the stations.  Poems created will be displayed on the stations for rail users to read.

The project aims to bring colour and life to places that currently feel somewhat run down, to place art in public spaces and to draw attention to the Biennale.

Manasamitra – Dark Skies Project

The Dark Skies Project will see composer Duncan Chapman explore the patterns of the constellations as they are depicted in astronomy with children and young people. They will learn shapes and movement within the drawings; work with imagined sounds and create a soundscape. Manasamitra will compose two new choral pieces with the children and young people. The process will explore the mathematics behind the constellation patterns and musical notes. They will also hire a mobile planetarium and once the music work is complete, the children and young people will perform the piece in the space or contribute to an installation in the space.

Phoenix Dance Theatre

This project will be based around the central theme of ‘darkness and light’ and is a collaboration between visual artists and Phoenix Dance Theatre.

In September young people from New College Huddersfield will work alongside visual artist Zoe Robertson who will lead a series of workshops aimed at creating drawings, sculptures and wearable objects in response to the theme of ‘darkness and light’. Phoenix Dance Theatre will use the work created by the visual artists, as a stimulus to devise new choreographic dance pieces.

Phoenix will work alongside teachers and young people from across 4 different schools at KS2 and KS3 for a minimum of 6 weeks during September and October to co – create new dance pieces.

For more information on the Kirklees Children’s Biennale please contact Chloe Williams thechildrensartschool@gmail.com

To find out more about Local Cultural Education Partnerships, how they support cultural education opportunities in your area and how to join one, please visit our LCEP page.

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