The Learning department at the Royal Academy has formed partnerships to offer workshops and gallery talks for a number of community groups and hard-to-reach audiences in Westminster and beyond. Hopefully these relationships encourage visitors to connect with the RA in new and diverse ways.
St Christopher’s Hospice
The RA Learning department has fostered a relationship with St Christopher’s Hospice since 2011. In 2012, we worked together to create a project on ‘landscape at the end of life’, inspired by the David Hockney exhibition, which included workshops, the creating of an artist’s book and mural, as well as a forum with guest speakers Sheila Hancock and Richard MacCormac RA.
‘Child Hood – The Real Event’ was an exhibition held in 2012 that grew out of our ongoing collaboration with Kids Company. Under direction from the Learning department, an exhibition in the RA's new gallery spaces of 6 Burlington Gardens took shape, related to the Olympics and describing the life journey of the young people of Kids Company and the challenges and crises they have faced. This was an incredibly moving and successful exhibition, which garnered praise from the press.
Crisis and Leonard Cheshire Disability Centres
In 2012, we took part in a programme which involved bringing art and music to Crisis and Leonard Cheshire Disability Centres. The Learning team organised a number of workshops for both charities at their respective centres and here at the Royal Academy, focusing on the David Hockney and Johan Zoffany RA exhibitions. The London Philharmonic Orchestra collaborated with us on some of these workshops, adding the dimension of music to the creation of art. These workshops culminated in an evening reception in which the works produced were displayed for participants and guests.
This year we have established a relationship with the Broadway Centre, developing an art programme for their users (people affected by homelessness). This began with discussions and introductory workshops in their centre, followed by a day at the RA, touring the Manet exhibition and doing an art practical on portrait making. Future plans are in place to convert a room at their centre to an art space and a monthly ‘Art Club’ to be held at the RA, due to the success of this collaboration.
Artist Educators Harry Baxter and Becky Jelly give their thoughts on working with Kids Company:
Over the last five years we have been lucky enough to work with the young people of Kids Company as part of the Learning Department team at the Royal Academy of Arts. Through our programme of creative, practical workshops, the children, many of whom have suffered trauma and neglect, are given the opportunity to express themselves in an unrestrained manner through art. Whether working on traditional portraiture or more contemporary sculptures and installations, the young people never cease to amaze, enthrall and engage us, and the viewer.
The kids are some of the most inspiring and talented people we have had the privilege of working with. Individually talented but also excellent at working together in a group, the personality of each child shines through in their work and their contributions to discussions are always very sharp and insightful.
We are pleased to partner with organisations such as:
St Christopher's Hospice
Leonard Cheshire Disability
Soho Community Centre
for information on visiting the RA with your students.