Learning Highlights 2023 (for use with Access tools)

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In 2023, our focus has been on developing and sharing practice, hosting groups and working across the city to foster connections.

With city partners, we respond to local priorities and use art and creativity to bring people together.

We learn from each other and grow projects together.

New programmes include Early Years, Warm Hubs and the return of Work Experience Week.

10,000 people took part in learning activities with us in 2023.

We’d like to share our work and warmly invite you to respond and connect.

Schools of Tomorrow

In 2023 we celebrated the completion of a 4-year partnership with 8 local schools to nurture learning and creativity.

Through working together, schools have embedded approaches that are creative and collaborative. More of what we do is developed with teachers and pupils and more emphasis is placed on pupil voice and teacher practice.

“The artist instilled a sense of joy, confidence, and pride in the children. They encouraged teachers to shift to more innovative approaches where students take an active role.” Teacher, Edna G Olds Academy

“It’s clear that this has been a very child led approach which has been wonderful to witness.” Parent, Melbury Primary School

“Conversations with our parents created solidarity about issues they face as parents of young children.” Teacher, Melbury Primary School

A new partnership with teachers at Raleigh Educational Trust begins in 2024.

children stood in a line in a gallery
children dancing
families sitting on a floor smiling

Developing together

Together, teachers and artists develop their practice and enrich the curriculum.

“These sessions challenge ideas of what art and creativity is and how we can teach it.” Teacher, CPD participant

With educators from LGBTQ+ communities we developed resources for an inclusive curriculum. Activity and a local network will continue in 2024.

teachers sitting on the floor of a gallery
teachers sitting on the floor of a gallery
teacher standing in a circle

Creative learning

Our free resources and artist workshops are developed with teachers and students to support connections to art and ideas.

“Getting behind the scenes making and testing resources for other schools, led to thinking beyond the classroom. It opened their eyes to creative ways to collaborate.” Teacher, Sneinton C of E Primary School

We welcomed over 2,500 students to create and learn with us.

children playing in a window
students standing in a gallery
children looking at wall hangings in a gallery

Collaborative exhibitions

With exhibiting artist, Eva Koťátková pupils from Seely Primary School helped create an imaginative world. Their voices, stories and drawings filled our galleries.

“It was so good for the children to be part of the exhibition. The whole experience was new for them.” Teacher, Seely Primary School

Each year our exhibitions are developed with local people - in 2024 local musicians will help create and activate our summer show.

a child and adult recording into a microphone
people in a gallery
people in a gallery

Our city

We work with partners to make connections across the city and foster a sense of place and belonging.

Young people from 1525 and Pending Collective created a map zine to share with newcomers to the city.

With students from Nottingham Education Sanctuary Team (NEST) we visit museums and galleries across the city and respond through writing.

“‘It was lovely being able to form new friendships and share places we love to visit.” Pending Collective member

“It’s opened up new approaches and developed their confidence in writing and connection to the city.” Teacher, Nottingham Education Sanctuary Team (NEST)

We’ll be celebrating and sharing the creative work by students from NEST in spring 2024.

young people at a craft workshop
young people drawing on paper on the floor

Developing skills

Through workshops, commissions and placements young people develop skills and work experiences.

1525 members worked with exhibiting artists to make art works for the gallery. Courses and skill shares focused on how to plan and host events.

Nottingham Trent University students took part in 6-month placements to produce a publication, an exhibition and events.

“It’s been a fun and informative journey.” 1525 member

“My skill in teamwork greatly developed. I gained valuable knowledge about working in a professional setting.” NTU placement student

young people sitting around a screen presentation
a person drawing at a table
people adding post it notes to a wall of writing

Work Experience

Work Experience Week is back! Students gain insights into a career in the arts and connect to the city’s cultural offer.

Students visit venues across the city and work alongside artists, programmers, curators and technicians. They create a zine and an event to share and celebrate their week.

“The diversity of learning really was really fun and unique. It made me want to rethink my career.” Student participant

Recruitment for the 2024 programme is underway.

people in a gallery
People lying on a gallery floor

A warm welcome

To respond to the rising costs of living we developed a new offer - free family film events during the winter months.

We worked with local food banks, schools and community partners to connect with families. Nottingham City Transport generously supported with free bus travel too.

“Free food, entertainment and transportation - this is a wonderful thing. It is helpful for my family in this difficult time.” Family participant

“A very dignified free event for families.” Family participant

With support from Gateley PLC the programme is back in 2024.

families sat in a cinema
families sitting at tables

Let’s Play!

New this year - Early Years play sessions. Designed for developmental stages and delivered in an immersive, sensory environment.

“It was really good to see my daughter discover all the varied textures, lights and colours that would not be possible to do at home.” Family participant

“This is the best thing ever to bring my boys to.” Family participant

1,200 babies, toddlers and their grown ups took part.

families playing with hoops
a baby playing with a silver ball
a child playing with light up balls

Free family activities

Families join us to play, make and explore together during the school holidays.

“As a single dad I think these are great. They help break up the holidays and the day.” Family participant

“These sessions are so good, my son really comes out of his shell.” Family participant

“There’s always something different to do each time.” Family participant

We welcomed 5,000 family participants.

a child running
a child playing with costumes
a family drawing at a table

Shaping practice

Partners share skills and knowledge and together we develop inclusive, creative approaches.

With Spring Meadows Day Centre, we created a set of activity cards to encourage creative experimentation and independence. Rainbow Parents Carers Forum enjoy exploring the galleries with an artist when we’re closed to the public.

“Our citizens loved it – you can see it on their faces. Activities are tactile and everything is made by the citizens.” Staff member, Spring Meadows Day Centre

New in 2023, our partnerships helped us develop immersive family workshops and sensory bags.

a person drawing
people putting paint fingerprints on a wall.

Evolving partnerships

We host local groups and together explore how partnerships can evolve and our work can grow.

Robin Hood Youth Orchestra rehearses at the gallery and we host young people from Juno and Imara. With Communities Inc. we host events together, and Cool Company and Notts Trans Hub also have a home with us.

“It was such a safe and welcoming environment for our young people. They had a great time with the artist expressing their feelings in a creative way.” Staff member, Juno Voices

"Our young people have been warmly welcomed and have made the gallery their home. We're excited about collaborating with exhibiting artists in the year ahead." CEO, Nottingham Music Hub

In summer 2024 the orchestra will be part of an exciting collaborative exhibition.

two people holding up paper masks
young people playing musical instruments

Coming up in 2024

Between January and March our successful family film events return - a welcoming warm hub for families.

This spring sees the start of a new partnership with the Women’s Centre - a programme of seasonal creative walks for wellbeing.

Our summer exhibition with artist Julian Abraham ‘Togar’, brings local musicians together to create and activate a sonic world.

In May, we’ll be celebrating the creative writing of young people from Nottingham Education Sanctuary Team.

July sees the return of our Work Experience Week.

children playing with cardboard tubes like they're telescopes

Thank you!

Thanks to everyone who has been part of our learning programmes in 2023 and to our friends and partners from education, arts, health, the community and voluntary sector.

Thanks to our principal funders Arts Council England and Nottingham City Council and our partners and funders Nottingham Trent University and the University of Nottingham.

And to the trusts and foundations who have generously supported our work – Foyle Foundation, Freelands Foundation, MaxLiteracy, Paul Hamlyn Foundation and Weston Culture Fund.

A big thank you to Gateley PLC for their generous support of our warm hub for families in 2024 and Nottingham City Transport.

We would love to work with you, please get in touch.

0115 948 9750 learn@nottinghamcontemporary.org

teachers hugging in a gallery

Your support is vital

A small one-off or regular donation helps us present free exhibitions, events and education programmes across the city, up and down the UK, and around the world.

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