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BEAR IN MIND
The Shape Initiative
Introducing SHAPE:
White Bear Studio is launching a new initiative to help encourage creativity in schools. We have the bit between our teeth and we’re on a mission to diversify the design industry. How, I hear you ask? By making practical, problem solving creative skills available to young people.
 
Support art and design in schools
Help children of all backgrounds realise their creative potential
Advise young creatives on how they can approach the industry
Play. Enough Said
Encourage creativity as a positive outlet for young minds
Introducing SHAPE:
White Bear Studio is launching a new initiative to help encourage creativity in schools. We have the bit between our teeth and we’re on a mission to diversify the design industry. How, I hear you ask? By making practical, problem solving creative skills available to young people.
 
Support art and design in schools
Help children of all backgrounds realise their creative potential
Advise young creatives on how they can approach the industry
Play. Enough Said
Encourage creativity as a positive outlet for young minds
“Students from low-income families who take part in arts activities at school are three times more likely to get a degree.”
 
Cultural Learning Alliance, Key Research Findings: The Value of Cultural Learning, 2017
So, what’s the problem?
In a climate of funding cuts and changes to education, it’s a tough time for creative subjects, the tutors who teach them and the students who desperately need them. For example, the introduction of the EBacc in 2012 made a minimum of seven and maximum of nine GCSEs compulsory (none of which include art or design subjects), leaving little room for creative, technical or vocational subjects.

We are concerned that this cookie-cutter approach to education could isolate children who are less academic, or who have less access to the arts outside of school. The Cultural Learning Alliance found that students from low-income families were three times more likely to get a degree when they participate in arts activities at school.
So, what’s the problem?
In a climate of funding cuts and changes to education, it’s a tough time for creative subjects, the tutors who teach them and the students who desperately need them. For example, the introduction of the EBacc in 2012 made a minimum of seven and maximum of nine GCSEs compulsory (none of which include art or design subjects), leaving little room for creative, technical or vocational subjects.

We are concerned that this cookie-cutter approach to education could isolate children who are less academic, or who have less access to the arts outside of school. The Cultural Learning Alliance found that students from low-income families were three times more likely to get a degree when they participate in arts activities at school.
Artist Grayson Perry spoke out against the EBacc in an article for the Guardian where he said ‘The idea that art will somehow look after itself – that society will breed untaught geniuses – is rubbish. We'll end up with a cultural sector even more skewed towards the privately educated.'

Reducing access to the arts is divisive, accelerating the privileged and leaving the rest behind. SHAPE wants to open the door to all by getting in right at the start.
Artist Grayson Perry spoke out against the EBacc in an article for the Guardian where he said ‘The idea that art will somehow look after itself – that society will breed untaught geniuses – is rubbish. We'll end up with a cultural sector even more skewed towards the privately educated.'

Reducing access to the arts is divisive, accelerating the privileged and leaving the rest behind. SHAPE wants to open the door to all by getting in right at the start.
“When I started White Bear I was surprised to discover that being a female studio owner was like being that lonely needle in a haystack. I soon realised in one of the biggest melting pots in the world, London, women weren't the only minority not being equally represented in the design world. Where's all the diversity?”
 
Kelly Mackenzie, White Bear’s Creative Director
Why are SHAPE standing up?
Each of the SHAPE team has a different story and followed a different path to get to where we are today.

We each feel grateful for the opportunities that we have had to study creative subjects in school and to the tutors, mentors and peers that encouraged us and enabled us to pursue our careers. Not to mention our parents, who can sometimes take a little persuading when broaching the subject of working in the arts. We want to help other parents see the potential doors a creative degree can open and that a career in the arts is profitable, fulfilling and a “real job”!
Why are SHAPE standing up?
Each of the SHAPE team has a different story and followed a different path to get to where we are today.

We each feel grateful for the opportunities that we have had to study creative subjects in school and to the tutors, mentors and peers that encouraged us and enabled us to pursue our careers. Not to mention our parents, who can sometimes take a little persuading when broaching the subject of working in the arts. We want to help other parents see the potential doors a creative degree can open and that a career in the arts is profitable, fulfilling and a “real job”!
Creative subjects are proven to teach children valuable communication and collaboration skills plus children with access to creative subjects tend to do better in school, with improved attainment in other subjects, like Maths and English.

If we remove arts and culture from our curriculum our children will be culturally, intellectually and emotionally worse off, greater divided, less able to achieve degrees and more unhappy at school. The creative industry will suffer, with fewer people to fill the creative roles that make up 1 in 11 jobs that feed our economy.

With less variety of people working in the industry, we are worried that design will become stale and repetitive. We need people to be challengers and bring fresh new perspectives.
Creative subjects are proven to teach children valuable communication and collaboration skills plus children with access to creative subjects tend to do better in school, with improved attainment in other subjects, like Maths and English.

If we remove arts and culture from our curriculum our children will be culturally, intellectually and emotionally worse off, greater divided, less able to achieve degrees and more unhappy at school. The creative industry will suffer, with fewer people to fill the creative roles that make up 1 in 11 jobs that feed our economy.

With less variety of people working in the industry, we are worried that design will become stale and repetitive. We need people to be challengers and bring fresh new perspectives.
What are SHAPE going to do about it?
Recent studies suggest that the wealthiest families spend up to seven times more on out of school activities than the poorest families which only increases the lack of diversity in the arts. We believe that art and design should be accessible to everyone, not just those who can afford it.

That's why we are reaching out to schools to get all students involved in The Shape Initiative. We want to encourage teenagers to think creatively by developing skills that will equip and inspire them to discover careers within the design sphere. The SHAPE program will work in two phases...
What are SHAPE going to do about it?
Recent studies suggest that the wealthiest families spend up to seven times more on out of school activities than the poorest families which only increases the lack of diversity in the arts. We believe that art and design should be accessible to everyone, not just those who can afford it.

That's why we are reaching out to schools to get all students involved in The Shape Initiative. We want to encourage teenagers to think creatively by developing skills that will equip and inspire them to discover careers within the design sphere. The SHAPE program will work in two phases...
“Studies suggest that the wealthiest families spend up to seven times more on out of school activities than the poorest families.”
 
Cultural Learning Alliance, Key Research Findings: The Value of Cultural Learning, 2017
Phase One

Hosting free, engaging and practical workshops in schools for years 9 and/or 10. The workshop will be a thought provoking and interactive mini-project completed in groups on the day. This project will challenge students to think about visual communication and how design skills can be applied to economic, cultural or social issues.

A larger brief will be available for them to enter in their spare time, using the skills developed on the day. The competition entries for the larger brief will be on display at our ‘Bear in Mind’ exhibition at the end of the school year.

As well as the opportunity for students to win art materials, we are really excited to be offering placements in real working design studios. The students can experience what a creative career might entail and get a real feel for their future.
Phase Two

A mentor scheme with London based design studios for students involved in the workshops. This will enable them to share their work, ask for advice and feedback, and maintain a conversation with studios, with the potential for future placements.

It's not too late to get involved we are still on the look out for design studios and creative mentors who want to join the project.
Phase One

Hosting free, engaging and practical workshops in schools for years 9 and/or 10. The workshop will be a thought provoking and interactive mini-project completed in groups on the day. This project will challenge students to think about visual communication and how design skills can be applied to economic, cultural or social issues.

A larger brief will be available for them to enter in their spare time, using the skills developed on the day. The competition entries for the larger brief will be on display at our ‘Bear in Mind’ exhibition at the end of the school year.

As well as the opportunity for students to win art materials, we are really excited to be offering placements in real working design studios. The students can experience what a creative career might entail and get a real feel for their future.
 
Phase Two

A mentor scheme with London based design studios for students involved in the workshops. This will enable them to share their work, ask for advice and feedback, and maintain a conversation with studios, with the potential for future placements.

It's not too late to get involved we are still on the look out for design studios and creative mentors who want to join the project.
How do I get involved?
This year we have reached out to schools in the London area with the hope of going further afield next year. Currently we have 450 children partaking in the program starting in September.

There's still plenty of work to do. We are looking for sponsors to get involved. If you are a printer, videographer, art supply store or design studio we'd love to hear from you.
 
Equally if you'd like your school to get involved, to join as a mentor or are simply just interested in shaping the future of the creative industries, please get in touch with esme@whitebearstudio.co.uk
How do I get involved?
This year we have reached out to schools in the London area with the hope of going further afield next year. Currently we have 450 children partaking in the program starting in September.

There's still plenty of work to do. We are looking for sponsors to get involved. If you are a printer, videographer, art supply store or design studio we'd love to hear from you.
 
Equally if you'd like your school to get involved, to join as a mentor or are simply just interested in shaping the future of the creative industries, please get in touch with esme@whitebearstudio.co.uk