Derby pupils set to get creative as the city’s unique arts S.H.E.D. goes on tour

1 October 2019

Pupils at Derby schools are being encouraged to use their creativity and imagination…in a shed!

The S.H.E.D. (Social Higher Education Depot) is literally a flat-pack, reconfigurable touring shed, which will be the venue for arts and sports at a number of different schools across the city over the next few weeks.

Pupils at each school will be able to take part in events and schemes run by a host of local arts organisations, including Artcore, Derby Theatre, Baby People, Sinfonia Viva, East Midlands Caribbean Carnival Arts Network and Deda.

The project has been developed by Dr Rhiannon Jones, artist and researcher at the University of Derby’s School of Arts.

Dr Jones said: “S.H.E.D. is a place where children and young people are encouraged to see life through a different lens, inspired by the activities and the artists they will be working with. It is a platform for artists to develop their work and test out new ideas, and it is a place for those who enter the shed to participate, to be curious, and to question what S.H.E.D could be, or do, for them.

“S.H.E.D is an artistic research project focused on the design of dialogue, looking at how you can combine architectural and creative build elements of the design process with performance strategies for the creation of spaces for conversation.

“It is a long term investment into a research project, touring over the next few years, working with communities, cities and also a commissioning space for artistic practice.

“From the very start of the design process, we have been looking to develop a programme of activity in our local community.  S.H.E.D showcases the University of Derby’s culture of curiosity, and the drive to create opportunities for our students and staff to be genuinely engaged with the city and region.”

The S.H.E.D. tour is part of the This is Derby Reimagine Performance Project, a three-year programme working with children and young people aged 8–18. It enables teachers and families to join together in developing and celebrating the talents and achievements of young people across the city. 

The project is funded by a £1m Arts Council England grant secured through the Derby Youth Participation Project Fund, and supported by Derby Opportunity Area, Derby County Community Trust and Derby City Council.

Alix Manning-Jones, Creative Producer for Reimagine, said: “S.H.E.D was a central part of our This Is Derby celebration in July, when it housed a performance by care-experienced young people.

“Following that, the Reimagine Performance Project was keen to use the S.H.E.D again to engage young people in conversation through a programmed schools tour.

“We are excited to be touring the S.H.E.D into a range of schools and alternative educational settings including primary, secondary, pupil referral hospital units and special schools situated in areas of high deprivation across Derby city.

“The tour will be a fusion of creative and sporting activities, working with leading cultural organisations, Derby County Community Trust and Derby’s Sports Forum, to ignite creative conversation with children, young people and their families.“

Bethany Dickson, Assistant Headteacher at Derwent Primary School, said her school was delighted to be taking part: “Our hope is that with the support of the physical and arts-based activities our pupils engage in conversations about the community and their aspirations for the future. This opportunity for our pupils’ voices to be heard and valued will build their confidence, develop their communication skills and, most importantly, offer optimism beyond the school community.”

Debbie Gerring, Headteacher of St Martin’s School, another of the city’s schools to be hosting the S.H.E.D. tour, said: “Students and staff will benefit from this involvement enormously as the arts and sport will be given an enhanced and special status across school for the week. The impact of this will run deeply as the students, staff and school community more widely will be challenged in a different way, raising curiosity and developing their sense of intrigue and wonder.

“I have no doubt that having the S.H.E.D. project in school for a week will provide lasting memories and great shared experiences for our school community to treasure.”

S.H.E.D. in a school playground

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