Edge Hill University is collaborating with Tate Liverpool on an innovative education and community research project which will inform the gallery’s learning initiatives at a local and national level.

Schools in residence is a pilot project involving children, staff and students from three Liverpool City Region primary schools*, Edge Hill University’s Faculty of Education, and Tate Liverpool’s Learning Department. The project aims to explore new ways for schools to enhance and enrich teaching and learning and for children and their families to enjoy and develop a sense of ‘ownership’ of museum and gallery spaces.

During the successful initial phase of the project, children from the three schools participated in workshops with Tate Liverpool artist educator Harriett Hall, programme manager, Dr Deborah Riding and Edge Hill staff. The children explored their ideas about learning and what a classroom in a gallery could be like. They produced writing, images and models which were presented to the public along with photos and a video installation in Tate Liverpool’s Tate Exchange space. Visitors to the exhibition were able to contribute by adding their thoughts and ideas to ‘blueprint’ posters.

Phase two of the project saw classes from LIPA Primary School take up residency in the gallery for two weeks. The children experienced their planned timetable as usual, but using the gallery’s many different spaces as their classroom. The class teachers made careful use of the artworks displayed in the gallery to enrich teaching and learning.

Students and staff from Edge Hill University and staff from the gallery’s Learning Department participated in the lessons to gather information about the children’s and teachers’ responses. At the end of each day the teachers, university staff, students, and gallery staff discussed and reflected on the information gathered. This research will now be used to help to develop the model for a future programme of schools in residence.

Class teacher Elizabeth Malone said:

“The children didn’t seem fazed by their new surroundings, and took everything in their stride. They really enjoyed the freedom of being able to choose where to do their work and looking at the new surroundings in each gallery.”

Emily Green, first year BA (Hons) Working with Children 5-11 student said:

“I wasn’t sure how the children would react to being in a completely different environment, but they settled in really quickly and they’re acting like they are still in the classroom. It’s really clear to see which children are interested in the arts. Some interpret the art and some just focus on the patterns and colours.”

Lizzie Morris, first year BA (Hons) Working with Children 5-11 student said:

“I’ve learnt that you can adapt your teaching into any space and that it’s easier to build a rapport with the children when they’re in a different environment”

Nichola Callander, Edge Hill’s Assistant Head of Department for Children, Education and Communities said:

“We want the children to feel like they belong in the gallery. This project is increasing their cultural capital and giving them and their families new perspectives.”

Dr Helen O’Keeffe, Associate Dean of Edge Hill’s Faculty of Education, said:

“We hope that the project will open up opportunities for all those involved to experience art and the gallery from a range of different perspectives and consider the opportunities the gallery can offer.”

Dr Deborah Riding, Programme Manager: Children and Young People, Tate Liverpool, said:

This is a fantastic opportunity to work with schools and partners in the city and region to research how cultural institutions can offer relevant, yet expansive, connections to the curriculum and provide the physical, intellectual and creative spaces for both teachers and children to explore them.”

*The three primary schools involved in the initial phase of the project were LIPA Primary School, Belle Vale Primary and Kensington Primary