Derri Burdon, Chief Executive of North West charity Curious Minds was invited by Julie Ward MEP to present at an expert working group meeting on the Quality of Childhood (QOC) held in the European Parliament.
On Tuesday 12 January, Derri Burdon, Chief Executive of Preston-based charity Curious Minds, visited the European Parliament in Brussels to share good practice from across the North West of England. Burdon presented to a working group of educational experts and policy advisors from across Europe, all dedicated to improving the quality of children’s experiences across EU member states and beyond. Curious Minds works with schools and cultural organisations across the North West to provide children and young people with creative and culture rich learning opportunities
At the meeting, the Chief Executive outlined the raft of work done in the North West to meet Arts Council England’s Cultural Education Challenge; striving to make sure every child has access to high quality art and culture. This included Curious Minds’ flagship programme SLiCE (Specialist Leaders in Cultural Education), a fellowship focused on developing teachers’ capacity to strategically support cultural education in their own and other schools.
Julie Ward, MEP for North-West England and member of the QOC working group said, “Derri's presentation in the parliament was very inspiring for QOC members who come from a wide range of countries, organisations, and backgrounds but who all share a common concern for the wellbeing of children. MEPs in the Children's Rights inter-group work closely with the QOC, as it is important that our parliamentary work connects with frontline experiences. Showcasing a best practice example from my North West constituency made me very proud. Curious Minds works with some of the poorest communities in the most challenging funding environment and yet still manages to prove that creative approaches can transform lives. I am sure that organisations working for children and young people in other parts of Europe will take up some of the ideas developed in the North West."
Derri Burdon said “More and more people recognise the important contribution that arts and culture can make to the lives of young people from all backgrounds and circumstances and being invited to speak at the European Parliament is testament to the hard work that has gone into this work in the North West. I really hope it will help highlight exactly why we need to keep prioritising young people’s cultural experiences in a climate that perhaps focuses more on other subjects. I hope this opportunity leads to further partnership across European institutions and cultural organisations for the benefit of children everywhere.”
Going forward Curious Minds will be working with members of the Quality of Childhood in Europe working group to deliver an international campaign for Culture Rich Education.
Curious Minds' vision is for a society where all children and young people, wherever they live and whatever their circumstance, achieve their creative potential and live happy, fulfilled lives rich with arts and culture. They aim to improve the lives of children and young people by connecting them with the very best arts, culture and creative learning opportunities. They do this by brokering partnerships with and between schools, youth groups, arts and cultural organisations to create a climate were quality and collaboration flourish. Examples of their work include Specialist Leaders in Cultural Education (SLiCE), a nationally recognised teacher development programme, and Trailblaze, an alternative Saturday job scheme that supports young people into work in the cultural sector. Curious Minds is part of a national network of 10 bridge organisations, funded by Arts Council England to connect children and young people, schools and communities with art, culture (including libraries and museums), film and heritage.