Arts and Learning

It’s almost 30 years to the day since I set off to Paris as a 17 year old, head filled with romantic notions of reading Zola in the Tuileries after dropping my small charges off at school and heading down to the Sorbonne to see what the local talent was like. With a place to study French and European Studies at Sussex University already secured, it was what girls who go to schools like I went to were supposed to do. I had no idea at the time that it would take me 30 years to get back to Sussex.

This isn’t the place for the story of what happened in the years between, but yesterday morning at the crack of dawn, after the kind of night only students are supposed to have, I found my way to Fulton 208, fumbled around in a large handbag and stared at a blank page in a jelly bean notebook.

Arts and Learning is a 4 day course designed by Creative Partnerships which aims to train people like me to do what we do in the classrooms of Britain’s primary and secondary schools, community groups and business boardrooms – to name a few. It’ll give me some more points towards my Masters in Arts and Cultural Research, but most importantly, give me the skills to extract what I’ve been doing over the past 30 years and turn it into something that might do a bit of good. And earn me some cash.

Like most of the other courses I’ve done to inch my way towards my Masters in the past year, it’s more about reflecting on what you’ve got than putting any new skills in, but that’s a skill in itself, and without it, my 15 books, zillion articles and years in TV and Radio will not see me into my dotage.

Lesson 1 was similar to the lessons my students at the University of Brighton learn; don’t drink too much the night before a lecture. Lesson 2 is to let six hours of creative techniques percolate gently before using them in my class tomorrow. Will my rag tag bunch of 18-25 yr olds begin to write more creatively, freely, rhythmically after I’ve learned to play with them?  I’ll let you know.

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