Coventry University hosts workshops to inspire the next generation of artists

Aaron Ashmore

School pupils from across Coventry illustrated a book cover with Coventry author Aaron Ashmore at Coventry University

University news

Wednesday 20 September 2023

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When Tess Radcliffe was in school, she had no idea that her dream career was in the arts world, and it wasn’t until the age of 30 that she discovered her true calling.

She says “a lack of exposure” to careers in creative industries during her formative years has inspired her to team up with a number of artists from across the West Midlands to encourage the next generation to dream big.

Digital artist Tess and other local creative experts hosted workshop sessions at Coventry University’s new Delia Derbyshire building for Year 5 and 6 pupils from across Coventry at two Future Skills Creative Days.

The events were organised by the university’s Outreach Team in collaboration with the Coventry Cultural Education Partnership (CCEP), with funding from Coventry City Council and Arts Connect, and aimed to encourage young people to consider creative education and career pathways.

The children used pens, paper and their imaginations to create a flip-book animation with Walsall-based Tess, illustrated a book cover with Coventry author Aaron Ashmore, got behind the camera with local filmmakers No Class Creations and had a stop-motion animation session with Gemma Foy, from Let’s Animate.

It took me until the age of 30 to realise I wanted to pursue art as a career.

That is simply down to a lack of exposure. I didn’t know about opportunities in filmmaking, photography, electronic music creation and graphic design technology when I was younger. I hadn’t been given the chance to try them or know anyone in creative industries.

If I had access to events like this, I would’ve realised much earlier art was my dream career. The children were so engaged and hopefully we’ve inspired the next generation to dream big.

Digital artist Tess Radcliffe (pictured)

tess for web.jpg

The children from Our Lady of the Assumption, Joseph Cash, All Souls, Earlsdon, Parkgate, John Fisher, Stivichall Primary and Mount Nod schools also had workshops in the Ellen Terry building and were given a tour of the university’s College of the Arts and Society facilities by Coventry University student ambassadors.

Our team aims to remove barriers, provide information and aid transition in order to make our education accessible for all.

This event embodies all those goals by giving young people from our city access to our facilities and industry experts.

We hope these workshops inspired the youngsters and have shown them where an Arts and Society degree can take them. Our contributors to this event show that different careers in the art world are achievable and accessible to people in the Coventry area.

Kayleigh Lampard, Head of Outreach and Widening Participation at Coventry University

It was brilliant to see what the Future Skills project promotes and experience first-hand the cultural opportunities and activities that young people are being given as a result of the project.

The CCEP has worked incredibly hard to create these opportunities and it really does represent partnership working. Not only this, the great outcomes demonstrate why our involvement in such projects is crucial. I hope to see more opportunities come from this partnership and continue to give young people these important experiences of our creative industries."

Councillor David Welsh, Cabinet Member for Housing and Communities at Coventry City Council

If you’d like to get involved with a future Widening Participation or Outreach event contact this email.

You can find out more about the work of the CCEP here.