Northern Ireland

Art education in schools - new initiative from The MAC set to bring value of art to life

Six secondary schools across Northern Ireland will benefit from the scheme

The initiative, launched by The Mac in Belfast, will involve six schools from across Northern Ireland
The initiative, launched by The Mac in Belfast, will involve six schools from across Northern Ireland

A new initiative aimed at highlighting the value of art education for school children across Northern Ireland has been launched.

Six secondary schools will benefit from the scheme, launched by The MAC Belfast, which it is hoped will improve access and develop approaches to art education for pupils.

The three-year project has received support from the Freelands Foundation Autumn 2023 Fund.

The schools taking part are Newry High School, Cullybackey High School, Hazelwood Integrated College Newtownabbey, St Louise Comprehensive College Belfast, St Benedict’s College Randalstown and St Conors College, Portglenone.

As part of the scheme, art teachers will undertake fellowships based at The MAC with classroom time for pupils to be held at the Belfast venue.

Joanne Fitzpatrick, head of art and design at Hazelwood Integrated College, said: “Throughout this project we hope to embark on an exciting journey to elevate the role of art in education.

“We hope to encourage improved creativity, innovation and enjoyment of art and design for our students, teachers, and the wider community.

“This project will allow us to empower young minds beyond the confines of traditional learning within the classroom and experience experimental approaches to art education.”

Lisa McGinley from The MAC said the funding will “enable us to bring to life an ambitious co-designed project with these secondary schools here in Northern Ireland”.

“The funding will also make it possible for us to support artist teachers in a meaningful way to critically develop their practice as artist/teachers,” she said.

Mark James-Matthews from Freelands Foundation said: “The MAC’s provision of space, time, and resource for professional and artistic development represents a radical investment in Northern Irish teachers, but also provides important opportunities for wider discussions on the value of art education in schools and communities of Northern Ireland”.