Black History Month artists training programme

As part of Black History Month 2011, Creative Partnerships and Hastings and St Leonards Academies funded an artists’ training programme, offering artists the opportunity to develop skills to work with schools through a training day and subsequent school placement. This was part of the AfrikằBa festival programmed by Gwyneth Wint.

Who was involved

  • Schools: Hastings and St Leonards Academies, All Saints Junior School, Castledown CP School, Churchwood CP School, Elphinstone CP School, Little Ridge CP School, Red Lake CP School, Robsack Wood CP School, St Leonards CP School and West St Leonards CP School, East Sussex
  • Creative practitioners: Akila Richards, Emmanuel McDonald, Lorna Hamilton-Brown, Maudette Uzoh, Monique Jackson, Mustapha Baztout, Nana Tsiboe, Shirley Williams, Viola Aduk Tukdel, Yvonne Connikie, Mrisi Wilson
  • Others: Gwyneth Wint (ARTDev), Amanda Crisford (Hastings Academy), Hastings Borough Council, Equalities Team at East Sussex County Council and Sussex Coast College


How can artists support schools to promote diversity, inclusion and celebrate cultural heritage?


  • To support artists of African and Afro-Caribbean origin to develop new skills and understanding to work in schools
  • To develop 11 artist-school partnerships taking different routes into exploring issues around diversity and inclusion and cultural heritage
  • To celebrate the work, and encourage further partnerships, all year round, and not just in Black History Month


The artists involved all reported learning new skills about working in schools; from lesson planning, time management , working in partnership with teachers, knowing children as people. Many felt they now had the confidence to approach schools in their own right.

Teachers were extremely positive about the experience, reporting on: how much children learnt about the world, other cultures and their own; how engaged their children were in all the activities; how often it had transformed a teacher class relationship at a crucial time at the start of the academic year; how they had been able to ‘let go’ and try something new.

For pupils it was a totally new experience, an opportunity to explore difference with real people rather than as a topic, to learn about right and wrong, activities allowed for independent learning, collaboration, decision-making, speaking and listening.

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We want to be taught about the whole world

Year 2 pupil

Students were learning a lot without realising it

Emmanuel McDonald, Capoeira artist

The energy and excitement from teachers and artists at the end of this project was phenomenal.  For anyone attending the review session, the value of these partnership projects was there for all to witness.