Monday, 25 November 2013


Saturday 23rd November saw a very exciting time for the arts. Prolific campaign artist Bob and Roberta Smith organised a great day for artists to come and celebrate being creative as well as supporting arts educators across the country.

The first ever Art Party Conference was held at Scarborough Spa, a venue known for party political broadcasts. The entire venue was filled with performance, music, discussions, activity, opportunity and ART!

20-21 Visual Arts Centre were really excited to have the opportunity to host a stall of our own, advertising the great work we do with our exciting exhibition programme and education menus.

Our Education Officer and Exhibitions Officer, Hayley McPhun and Dominic Mason took a selection of our touring exhibition brochures and some samples of Helen Snell's Burnt Out work.

The venue overlooked one of Scarborough's greatest views, along which artists were invited to promenade their artworks and celebratory placards responding to changes to the arts curriculum and increase in university fees. Hayley and Dominic stood at the top of the steps watching all the events unfold on the beach. They were joined by Fox Cam from Scarborough Museums Trust!

The central masterpiece was this raised platform, from which artists and speakers delivered their responses to changes in the arts over the coming years. Many of these speeches were greatly inspirational and empowered arts educators like ourselves. After the beach promenade, this masterpiece was added to, with all the brightly coloured artworks created by artists, venues, societies, galleries, politicians and creators; some of whom were well famed artists such as David Shrigley (nominated for this year's Turner Prize). What a spectacle it became!

Jessica Voorsanger MC'd the day's events between speakers and activities. She took the opportunity to dress as various great artists, here she was Salvador Dali. It was great fun watching Voorsanger change into these different personalities.

Cape UK introduced two young people to deliver their experiences of learning art and being positively encouraged into arts professions by art educators.

Panel talks included some high flying names in the arts world. Jeremy Deller and Cornelia Parker, along with Stephen Deuchar and Pavel Buchler, were invited to answer "What first turned you onto art?"

The panel was asked by an audience member whether artists should run for politics, where after some collective giggles it was decided that however fun it may be, the country may end up in rather a shambles.

Now onto the nitty gritty: Head of NSEAD, Lesley Butterworth was joined by a panel including artist Richard Wentworth and Axis Director Sheila McGregor, to have the conversation "How should art be taught in school?"

Panel member Mark Hudson opened with an interesting quote from what Hudson referred to as the "Scarborough Philosophy" developed by Victor Pasmore on opening the Scarborough Foundation course in Art and Design in 1953/54; Pasmore said of his work "It is determined not by the end, but by the beginning. It is determined not by the answer but by the questions."

Sheila McGregor then went on to speak about how art education should definitely include and celebrate the transferable skills of art:
  • problem solving
  • idea development
  • exposure to materials
For McGregor, children should:
  • leave school with vast portfolios of artwork
  • visit work by living artists in galleries
  • be taught by teachers who take part in regular teacher training
Sam Cairns of the Cultural Learning Alliance said that the question should not be How we teach art in schools, but Why we teach art in schools, and posed the following:
We should teach art in schools because:
  • there is a legal obligation to do so
  • art improves children's lives
  • art improves our futures - children's problem solving skills improve, meaning our future's will improve as a result of this
Cairns quoted some interesting statistics, one of which being that children and young people who are exposed to and engage in the arts are 20% more likely to vote, which has a big knock on effect for our economy.

Richard Wentworth was the final person to speak on the panel.

"Richard Wentworth has played a leading role in New British Sculpture since the end of the 1970s. His work, encircling the notion of objects and their use as part of our day-to-day experiences, has altered the traditional definition of sculpture as well as photography." - from this link.

Wenworth expressed his interest in arts to be taught with a slant of professionalisation. In a world where everything is attached to status and titles, art should be taught as a ladder that one can climb and learn from. Children should be encouraged to answer "I wonder what would happen if..."
Wentworth strongly believes that there needs to be a shift in the atmosphere to which schools approach teaching; there should be the opportunity to go outside and be shown how to light fires. Humanity exists on basic skills, and Wentworth believes that these basic skills aren't being taught in schools early enough. "There is nothing like witnessing. Most learning by children is SEEN and DONE."

Wentworth believes that we need to give time to each other, time is cultivated space and that children need both of these to learn and exist.

Whatever we choose to believe about art and however we choose take it into our lives, it is important to remain positive about teaching art in schools. We need to remain positive in using art as a tool of expression, as well as a means to educate on the many wonders of a child's world; history, science, geography, literacy and ART all centre around what makes us human, what makes us individual and what makes us make decisions. These subjects should all be celebrated equally and teachers should be empowered by art and empowered to teach it well with curiosity, excitement and intrigue at the core of delivery.

Hayley, our Education Officer with one of her heroes, Bob and Roberta Smith, who engineered the entire day.

Friday, 22 November 2013

TAKEOVER 20-21 2013

It's been that time of year again! The Children's Commissioner encourages the country to get involved in Takeover Day, an opportunity for children and young people to have their say on services and issues that affect them.

Here in North Lincolnshire, we like to step it up a few notches! The Participation Team for North Lincolnshire Council run Takeover for an entire week, meaning young people are able to take advantage of a truly engaging experience in companies, agencies and offices across the area.

You may remember last year, that 20-21 had some John Leggott College A Level students come in for a few days and take part in feedback sessions and helped us shape our offer for young people in the future. Click here for a write-up of last year's events.

The same opportunity was opened again this year, but with an offer developed around feedback from last year's event.

John Leggott's Art and Design Foundation students came along to have a review of their current practice, looking back at successful projects. To enrich the experience for the students, our Education Officer Hayley McPhun and Jo Smith were invited along to speak about their current practice, how they came to work in the arts and to help offer a professional critique of their work. Jo is a recent graduate who has had a huge amount of success achieving solo exhibitions and scholarships. Jo exhibited her critically acclaimed solo show "Two Brothers, Three Sisters, A Mouse and Some Unfortunate Birds" at 20-21 in 2013.

The students delivered a 10 minute presentation of their work, which was then critiqued by their peers and the professional arts workers. We saw some truly impressive pieces and were introduced to some new methods of working.

North Lindsey College Art and Design students also came along for a critique of their work. We discussed their hopes for future education choices and where they would like to go to university. North Lindsey had our Audience Engagement Officer, Joy Buckley and dressmaker and designer Lucy Markham to provide a professional arts perspective of the work they were seeing. North Lindsey students ranged from across the entire art and design cohort, meaning there was a vast variety of working styles and interests, which was a great thing to see.

Both college groups fed back that they had a really interesting experience and that the day's events were greatly appreciative of some professional feedback about their current practice. John Leggot also run a blog, where they've spoken about their experience and featured some images of our input into Takeover Week. Take a look at what they say, by clicking here.

To find out more about how 20-21 can accommodate your college students, please don't hesitate to contact us on 01724 297070 or email

Friday, 15 November 2013

Christmas comes early to 20-21

As teachers and adults, we work so hard to make sure that children enjoy the festivities of Christmas time. Well, here at 20-21, we've decided that the tables should turn a little and we've organised a special event for adults to enjoy a more grown-up Christmas event.

This shopping event costs a mere £6 with profits going to the Mayor of Lincolnshire's chosen charity When you Wish upon a Star.

Tickets include art demonstrations, workshops, 10% discount in the shop and High Tea served on vintage china.

To book your Christmas treat, contact us on 01724 297070

Thursday, 14 November 2013


We are very lucky to be one of the proud sellers of a fabulous new children's book, illustrated by local man, Kevin Pearson.

All the proceeds from Swell go to Blue Door, a new charity supporting children and young families.

We are even luckier to have the creators of Swell come along on Saturday to do a reading and workshop with children and families. This is an amazing opportunity to find out more about the book and Blue Door's excellent charitable work. There is no need to book and this very special event is FREE.

The following article is taken from Visit Scunthorpe:

Scarborough musician Joe Solo has collaborated with Scunthorpe illustrator Kevin Pearson, to write new children’s book “Swell”.

Swell - Words by Joe Solo, Illustrated by Kevin Pearson
A Scunthorpe cartoonist has teamed up with a musician from Scarborough to produce a children’s book with a difference. SWELL is an unusual twist on the story of the dinosaurs and the science of fossils, making an entertaining bed time read for small children.

Singer / song writer Joe Solo has in his time been a busker, a barman, a kerb counter, a warehouse hand, a copywriter and an engineer. He currently fixes washing machines and produces albums that have had airplay courtesy of Mike Harding and the late John Peel.

Kevin Pearson has been a compulsive doodler since he was old enough to hold a crayon. A social worker by profession, he is also an award winning cartoonist whose work has been exhibited at The Royal Society as well as in magazines and on greeting cards.

Priced at £4.99, SWELL has been produced to raise funds for The Blue Door, a new centre in Scunthorpe to support women and children affected by domestic abuse and sexual violence.
As part of our exclusive interview with Joe and Kevin, and to help promote the book Visit Scunthorpe will be giving away copies to randomly selected follower on twitter and liker’s of our facebook page.

Read more about Swell, Kevin and Joe by continuing to read this article on the Visit Scunthorpe page: here.

Rama and Sita Shadow Puppets with Allerton Primary School

Allerton Primary in Immingham have been very busy learning all about how artists use shadows and light to create intriguing shapes and performances.  Over three weeks, Education at 20-21 worked across years three and four to recreate the story of Rama and Sita and the beginning of Diwali.

Children learnt about the aspects of creating a shadow and what science was involved in making sure shadows were effective. Pupils spent the first part of the workshop, using black card to make themselves a Rama or Sita puppet that had moving parts.

Children were all very enthusiastic about being able to go home with their very own shadow puppet.

Each pupil also made a monkey and each table created a monkey chain for the story.

We reminded ourselves of the Diwali story and what happened to Rama and Sita. Class members took turns to read sections of the story out loud for all to hear.

And then the fun began! The whole class played various roles in the Diwali story, some pupils were even given vital technical roles such as Scenic Artist or Technical manager. 

Rama and his wife Sita lived in a beautiful Kingdom, where Rama's father was the king. Rama was due to take the crown and share his royal status with his beautiful wife whom he loved dearly.

But Rama's jealous step-mother wanted her own son to be the next in line to the throne and so banished Rama and Sita from the Kingdom!

They went to live in the forest with Rama's brother, who he developed an excellent reputation with, for fighting evil spirits.

Ravana, a ten headed demon king grew jealous of their reputation and fell in love with Sita, who he wanted for his wife.

Ravan conjured a beautiful golden deer to tempt Rama, who chased it through the forests. While Rama was away, Ravana kidnapped Sita and took her away.

When Rama heard what had happened, he was at a loss what to do. He turned to Hanuman, the monkey god for advice. Hanuman summoned all the monkeys of the forest to help in a 10 day battle with Ravana and his evil spirits.

Rama and Sita were finally reunited and looked to find their way home to the Kingdom, but they were lost. The people of the Kingdom heard of Rama and Sita's worries to make the way home and so lit the way with lanterns and candles.

Rama and Sita were made into gods who are still celebrated today by the Hindu religion.

Allerton Primary School had an awful lot of fun performing this world famous story and learnt a lot in the process, covering art, science, religion, geography and literacy.

The teachers said:
"[The delivery of the workshop was ] Very Good!"
"A fantastic delivery. Very inclusive of all children and catered for all abilities."
"All aims and objectives met."
"A fantastic start to a topic of light and shadow and end to myth and India topic"

The children said:
"I liked the profromence"
"I wanted to be the gold deer and I did!"
"I think that is was great and everyone has lots of FUN!"
"I enjoyed shaking the monkey"

If your school would be interested in the story of Rama and Sita, or any other topic story, please get in touch to see if we can help out with a creative workshop! contact us on 01724 297070 or email

Thursday, 7 November 2013

Finding the Rs in Arts

A few weeks ago, Education at 20-21 delivered a fun packed  hour and half of teacher training focusing on using art as a catalyst for teaching literacy in the classroom.

Our Education Officer, Hayley McPhun was joined by local artist Kirsty Champ and local poet Ruth Dixon who both entertained with performance poetry and a hands on activity that got the teacher thinking more actively about embedding the arts and written word as a whole offer.
Kirsty Champ

Ruth Dixon performing her humorous poetry
Teachers were challenged to look at some famous artworks and write words associated with what they could see. Martin Parr, Richard Billingham and Vincent Van Gogh's portraits and self portraits featured here, to highlight what we read into an image and what that image tells us about that person.

We spoke about how Pie Corbett uses historical arts to recount tales untold and encouraged teachers to use our resources and facilities to use art as a catalyst for creative writing in the classroom.

The afternoon took the teachers on a visit to Helen Snell's exhibition Burnt Out, which uses old maritime and nautical stories as a starting point for creating some truly beautiful artworks. We used the tour of Helen's work as a starting point for creating poetry of our own memories of the work and our experience with it.

Although the session was very rushed, lots of teachers took back quality advice and ideas to embed arts in literacy and vice versa. Here's what they had to say:

"It's helpful to get new ideas and to network. I've got lots of ideas for cross curricular work."
"The deliverers brought the ideas to life!"
"Teachers Training needs to happen more often at 20-21!"
"It was good to have a variety of leaders. Their enthusiastic delivery made the session even better!"

We'd very much like to see more teachers using the centre as a resource and are keen to help with fitting workshops, loan packs and delivery around the requirements of schools. Please get in touch if you'd like to know more about what we can offer as bespoke packages to your school. Contact our Education Officer, Hayley McPhun on 01724 297070 or email

We look forward to hearing from you and to booking in more Finding the Rs in Arts sessions!

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

Princesses Knights and Castles

Just before half term, we were delighted to welcome back Burton Primary School and their year 1's who were studying Princesses and Knights in their classrooms.

To get thinking like artists for the day, the children began by taking part in some 20 second drawing tasks, being challenged to think aroudn their topic and draw something they were learning in the classroom, in only 20 seconds. Needless to say, there were a LOT of brilliantly drawn castles!

The children had a tour around the church gallery, looking at the materials used to build our grand old building. We touched the walls to understand the texture of the stone used and get a feel for what it would've been like living as a Princess or Knight in the medieval in stone building with little heating and small windows.

Each class member had a sheet of paper to make notes on the words we used to describe the building.
"bumpy, rough, stone."

"concrete, arch, hard"

We also drew shapes we could see around the building, like the rectangular bricks and pointy arches.

Back in the Education Room, each child had a castle template to make a 3D shape and to decorate it using ideas taken from the words we had used in the gallery space.

Children were given colourful crepe paper that had been cut into squares and rectangles to replicate the bricks used to build 20-21 and other old medieval buildings. Once the building blocks had all been stuck, ensuring we had covered the entire castle, we used unusal packaging materials, dipped in block printing inks, to print textures onto the castle walls. The textures were similar to the ones we had been describing in the gallery: rough looking, bumpy and uneven.

We got really mucky hands from all the ink!

 The children told us:

"I liced geting mesee"
"I liqd everting"
"Church was old and beautifl"

A HUGE thank you to all the wonderful children from Burton Primary, for being excellently behaved and extremely talented! We had a lovely day with you all and look forward to seeing you again!

If your school would be interested in a Bespoke Workshop, please get in touch with out Education Officer, Hayley McPhun 01724 297070 or