Research and Publications
Royal Opera House Bridge invests in research that helps identify local need and provision, explorers new models and initiatives and creates a valuable knowledge base for all professionals working in the arts and education sector. We also provide opportunities for professionals to connect, share learning and be inspired by experts from a range of disciplines and backgrounds.
Alt:Shift is a programme of webinars, blogs and other content to support arts and cultural organisations interested in developing their digital offer. It is led by Julia Lawrence, an Ed Tech consultant supporting both the education and arts sectors in their digital delivery.
As digital becomes an integrated part of our day to day, Alt:Shift aims to help the sector gain a better understanding of some of the challenges and capitalise on the opportunities now and in the future.
11 May 2021 – 11am–12.15pm
The first in a 3-part series, consisting of presentations and panel discussions with colleagues from Dance East, The Historic Dockyard Chatham and Rendered Retina Theatre Company, exploring the challenges and opportunities that have arisen for them over this period. The session, which also includes Q&A time, aims to help colleagues better reflect on their own digital journey and plan for a new and uncertain future.
27 May 2021 - 10–11.15am
The Cultural Sector will hear from senior Education Leaders from across the ROH Bridge region, who will come together to provide an invaluable insight into the transformative change that has taken place in digital development in our schools over the last year. From back-room development to better understanding the pedagogy of online teaching, great strides have been taken in all aspects of online provision. This session will focus on the changes taking place and the opportunities and challenges that these may present for the arts and cultural sector in the future.
15 June 2021 - 10–11.15am
Using feedback from the first session, in this final seminar we will explore a specific aspect of digital delivery. From tech tools to safeguarding, evaluation to monetising your offer, the theme is open and will be determined by you.
We are continually collecting and researching into what cultural providers current learning offers are, including the challenges and successes they have experienced, if you have a few minutes to answer some questions, it will aid us in our research, our support offers and future delivery of sessions.
We are keeping an ongoing conversation with cultural providers based on this series, by sharing blog posts and supporting information via our Linked-in page. To keep up to date and use these resources, follow us on Linked-In.
The Royal Opera House is seeking to appoint up to three experienced arts education consultants. These consultants will deliver the rollout of a refreshed Cultural Champion training programme across three networks of schools in the ROH Bridge region in the academic year 2021/22. One network will be in Thurrock and two will be new clusters drawn from Bedfordshire, Hertfordshire, Essex and North Kent
Cultural Champion middle-leadership training was created five years ago as an effective central feature of the Thurrock Trailblazer programme. Through this expansion we will be able to review the impact of the Cultural Champions model and see just how portable and effective the training programme can be when delivered within contrasting settings. We hope to roll the training programme out more widely in 2022/23.
In early 2020 the ten Children and Young People Sector Support organisations (Bridges) commissioned a piece of research into how we could work more effectively with national organisations for the benefit of children across England. The work was commissioned pre the COVID-19 Pandemic and the research took place as the first national Lockdown started. This had a significant impact on the timescale of the research as many staff from the Learning and Participation departments of national organisations were furloughed. The research, however, was completed in the summer and we are really pleased to share the Executive Summary of the findings to support a more joined up and strategic conversation with national organisations over the next year.
The starting point for this work was the premise that national organisations are a highly significant asset and resource in the national cultural education ecology. Many have national touring remits and exercise a sector leadership role, with a strong brand identity, a reputation for quality provision, a range of models, programmes and a body of knowledge that has a status and currency particularly with schools outside of London. A significant amount of their national delivery is distributed through their learning and participation teams who are balancing innovation alongside large scale delivery. Some national organisations also have the capacity to commission research, and many choose to invest in local and regional partnership infrastructure.
The Bridge organisations have a clear remit from Arts Council England to work strategically to ensure all children and young people can engage with high quality arts and culture. This is achieved through their own programmes and their stewardship of the network of Local Cultural Education Partnerships that they nurture. Each Bridge has a significant knowledge of the variety of cultural and educational provision in their region and the communities they serve.
We found in our research that the dialogue and relationships between Bridges and National organisations has not been consistent. For instance, Bridges are often unaware when delivery takes place in a region and national organisation often unaware of how we might support them. This feels like a missed opportunity to create an equitable distribution of offers in a place and ensure that the wider cultural infrastructure collaboratively reaches the widest number of children and young people possible.
We were keen for the research to:
Since the work was commissioned obviously the world has changed and it is likely to continue to change over the coming months and years. The pressures on schools and cultural sector and the uncertainty we all face around how we can work together more effectively is going to be challenging. In the short term as we all reset and rebuild, the ten Bridges are planning to hold a series of conversations in the Spring of 2021 (more than likely online) to explore future collaboration, dialogue and partnership working with national organisations. Dates for these will be shared in early 2021.
One of the key findings from the research was that, until now Bridges have not had a consistent system for national bodies to engage with them. The ten Bridges are all unique organisations operating collaboratively, but within their own delivery systems. We accept that to reduce confusion we need a simple, clear way to ensure nationals can engage with the relevant Bridge for the regions they are considering working in. As a first step term each Bridge has identified a lead individual as a point of contact. Details below:
A New Direction (London)
Royal Opera House Bridge (Essex, Herts, Beds, North Kent)
Art Works (South East)
Real Ideas Organisation (South West)
Norfolk & Norwich Festival Bridge (East Anglia)
Arts Connect (West Midlands)
The Mighty Creatives (East Midlands)
Curious Minds (North West
We Are IVE (Yorkshire and Humber)
Culture Bridge North East (North East)
We hope this is a first step to better co-ordination of regional and national cultural learning infrastructures that will place the aspirations, needs and situations of children and young people at their heart. We are grateful for the work of Natalie Highwood and Chloe Bird in undertaking the research.
View or download the Executive Summary (.PDF, 3.1 MB)
As a response to the Coronavirus Pandemic, the Bridge England Network initiated a National School Survey. The purpose of this survey was to gather indicative information from schools about the potential needs and creative aspirations for their pupils from autumn 2020 onwards. The aim was to identify how Bridges and the cultural sector might best support schools moving forward. It was distributed in the last two weeks of the academic year, in a very challenging school term, to gather the most relevant information. Bridge England Network is hugely grateful to those educators who were able to find the time to respond.
A selection of documents and reports reflecting the work of ROH Bridge.
Please note: the reports are displayed as PDFs. Get a free PDF reader.