In 2021, Young Vic Taking Part undertook a radical two-year theatre-in-education programme called INNOVATE, designed to ask the question: How can the arts enable students to engage, learn and thrive across all their subjects?
INNOVATE is in its second year of delivery. This Taking Part project from the Young Vic embedded artists within two local partner schools to use the arts to teach across the curriculum, including core subjects, to Year 7 and 8 students. Shereen Jasmin Phillips and Lorna McGinty instigated the project in direct response to the pandemic, based on reflection around the impact of a year of online and disrupted learning and what young people would need from the Learning strand.
On this page, you'll find more information about the project, including information about the schools, artists and educational and cultural experts who make up INNOVATE.
"INNOVATE was born out of a simple question – ‘how do we make children excited to learn?’ Our aim is to radically centre creative ways of teaching subjects. I am so inspired by the team of artists, teachers, advisors and producers who we have assembled to deliver this project, which is epic in scope and aspiration. As I look ahead, I imagine a world in which every UK arts organisation could be partnered with a local place of learning to help future generations thrive in their school lives."
Shereen Jasmin Phillips, Director of Taking Part
INNOVATE 2022 - 2023
The project was created in collaboration with artists, teachers and students. The two years are and will continue to be a dialogue between us all as we explore how the arts can help young people to thrive at school. We are interested in young people being co-creators in their learning journey and how that can inform their depth of comprehension and understanding.
INNOVATE is bigger than us. We are using this project to interrogate the civic responsibility of artists and arts organisations to their local schools and learning centres, and within their local boroughs.
We are working with Royal Holloway, University of London to research, analyse, document, and reflect on the work we do. The project and outcomes will be unique to each of the two schools we are working with, but we will be finding tangible ways of sharing our transferable learnings, so that as many students as possible can benefit in the future.
We work with Project Associates and Visiting Project Associates to deliver the project.
We're interested in the possibilities of different art forms to teach the curriculum and the ability of those disciplines to break down and bring understanding to various concepts within the curriculum, as well as additional elements of school life.
We've assembled a team of experts from the worlds of education and culture to guide the project and hold our aims to account. Between them, they have nearly 75 years' experience in arts and education to bring to the project.
We have partnered with two wonderful schools, one from each of our home boroughs of Lambeth and Southwark: Dunraven School and South Bank University Academy. The schools are committed to exploring the potential for embedding creativity across all parts of school life.
‘We are thrilled to be chosen to participate in the project and look forward to a productive and innovative partnership with The Young Vic. Dunraven always strives for 'Excellence for All' and we are excited to see how our work and planning with the artists can support our curriculum principles and how our students understand the stages of learning. As a school where the arts truly matter, we look forward to discovering and sharing with others what can be achieved when artists, teachers and students bring their talents together.’
Nicholas Hargreaves, Assistant Headteacher
South Bank University Academy
‘We are delighted that the University Academy of Engineering Southbank [the school has since changed name] has been selected to partner with The Young Vic in this innovative project. We look forward to collaborating on developing creative and engaging lessons with the theatre team. We are excited about the prospect of enhancing creativity across the whole curriculum as it will further our efforts to embed the importance of the Arts’
Rebecca Thomas and Hannah Dalton
We partnered with Royal Holloway, University of London. The research is broad and robust, and involves Dr. Yvonne Robinson visiting both schools, observing lessons, meeting with teachers, artists and students and learning about the experience, impact and effects of the project on the lives of teachers and students and the school community as a whole.
INNOVATE is supported by The Rix-Thompson-Rothenberg Foundation, Newcomen Collett Foundation and the John Thaw Foundation.
Photography: Dylan Marc Verley