“Anita is one of the best communications professionals I have ever worked with. She helped us deliver loads of great events and communication channels – often high profile and nationally significant, working with many different partners, including schools, children and young people and to very tight and pressurised timescales. She never failed to deliver – and always with warmth, clarity and absolute professionalism.” Matt Little, Director, Real Ideas Organisation (previously Director, Creative Partnerships Bristol and Forest of Dean).
Creative Partnerships was the Government’s flagship creativity programme for schools and young people. It worked with young people, schools, creative practitioners and others to place creativity more centrally in children’s lives. Anita was contracted as ‘Communications consultant/ Storyseeker’, working with the Forest of Dean partnership.
Each local partnership developed a range of activities and programmes in schools to explore different ways of thinking and learning, and develop confidence and aspirations. This was no ‘soft sell’: often, the work involved challenging widely-held assumptions about creativity and young people.
It was my job to help them begin to tell their stories, and promote the value and impact of their work to a wide range of audiences – from teachers to statutory bodies to the local media.
For me, the most interesting and exciting part of the work was creating opportunities for young people to tell their own stories, rather than communicating on their behalf. For example, we developed:
- a series of radio programmes created by young people and aired on a local radio station;
- a presentation for a national conference for educational psychologists, delivered by young people;
- articles written by young people for a local newspaper;
- an event for local councillors, held at the local council chambers, where young people demonstrated their work and talked to councillors.
The programme ended some years ago, but the legacy has continued in schools throughout the UK who have adopted a cross-curricular approach and embedded creativity throughout their schools. Independent research and reports by many parties including leading universities, Ofsted and a Parliamentary Select Committee have shown that Creative Partnerships had a significant positive impact on everyone involved: young people, parents, teachers and schools as well as creative professionals.