This work, and so much more like it, goes on across the country year after year. It depends on hard work, belief and imagination, as well as resilience in the face of official neglect. It creates memorable, even life changing experiences, and is far too little celebrated by an arts world dazzled by celebrity, novelty and its own (reputed) cleverness. But this is what matters to so many people: powerful artistic experiences where they live, when it matters.
Mike White, Senior Research Fellow in Arts and Health in the Centre for Medical Humanities at Durham University, writes: Last week I visited, probably for the last time, Chickenley Primary School in Dewsbury which has been the base for Roots & Wings, CMH associate Mary Robson’s extraordinary arts and emotional health programme for children which has run for over ten years. The occasion was an upbeat valediction for the project closing down and moving on. A long-standing problem of sustaining day-to-day partnership support has been exacerbated further by funding difficulties and changed priorities in (Gove)rnment meddling with the education system such as the downgrading of arts in schools and the scrapping of the healthy schools standard. Setting aside a sense of loss, at the invitation of the children and their artist mentors I attended this finale day of celebration and positive reflection.
In the art room base of “Roots…
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