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Rising Tide: Navigating the Future of Cultural Learning


We live in a time of seismic global transformation that will affect the lives of all children and young people. Schools and cultural organizations find themselves buffeted by these rapid economic and political changes. What is the role of cultural learning in these turbulent times?

Schools and cultural organizations from across the South East are standing strong against this rising tide through exploring new approaches and new partnerships to become powerful voices for culture.

Join us at our 5th Annual Conference to probe the current political and social environment. What are the implications for arts and culture for children and young people and how can we chart a course that assures consistent and high quality cultural learning for all.

Key Questions:

  • How do we take account of how young people see the world and their concerns about the future?
  • What is the unique contribution that cultural learning can make?
  • How can arts and cultural education ride this rising tide and thrive?

Rising Tide will be held on Thursday 29 June at The Historic Dockyard, Chatham.



Rising Tide will be hosted by:

After acting in theatre and television, Baroness Lola Young became an arts administrator, before becoming professor of Cultural Studies at Middlesex University as well as a writer, cultural critic, public speaker and broadcaster. Full bio

The keynote address will be given by:

Matthew Taylor has been Chief Executive of the RSA since November 2006. During this time the Society has substantially increased its output of research and innovation, has provided new routes to support charitable initiatives of its 28,000 Fellows – including crowd funding - and has developed a global profile as a platform for ideas. In October 2016 Matthew was appointed by the Prime Minister to lead an independent review into modern employment. Full bio

Charlotte Winters will present her perspective on the challenges facing young people:

Charlotte Winters will be presenting her response to our region-wide commission for a young person to share their experiences of the world of cultural education. Charlotte works with YAK, Firstsite in Colchester's young people peer group which organises events and activities within the gallery.  Recently she worked on the group’s Flipside Festival and helped produce a two week exhibition throughout the building. She spoke earlier this year on a panel at the Circuit Conference in Nottingham.

Morning provocations will come from:

Nicky Cox MBE is editor-in-chief of First News, the national newspaper for young people with more than two million readers a week. Nearly half of schools subscribe making First News the widest-read publication for children in the UK. Full bio

Julia Farrington is a freelance campaign, project and resources producer, working in the UK and internationally at the interface between arts, human rights and politics, with a particular interest in artistic freedom of expression. Full bio

Sir Kevan Collins took up post as the first Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) Chief Executive in October 2011, having previously been Chief Executive in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets. Full bio

There will be a closing keynote address from:

Jackie Kay was named Scots Makar — the National Poet for Scotland — in March 2016. She is Chancellor of the University of Salford and Professor of Creative Writing at Newcastle University. Full bio

You can find information about workshops here.


Chatham Historic Dockyard

The Conference takes place in the stunning surroundings of the Historic Dockyard, Chatham, with the main stage in the Georgian-era Royal Dockyard Church and workshops in the University of Kent Syndicate Rooms and the Commissioner's House.

The Historic Dockyard is easily accessible by:

Road - A few miles from the M2 junction, easily accessible from the M25

Rail - Very frequent services from London St Pancras, London Victoria and London Charing Cross, including high speed services from St Pancras (38 minutes) and Victoria (47 minutes)