Engagement and employment are the focus as Arts Across Learning Festival kicks off

Aberdeen’s annual Arts Across Learning Festival for nursery and primary school pupils and teachers kicks off next week (Monday, February 25) for a fortnight of activities and events celebrating the value of art and creativity in learning.

In keeping with previous years, this year’s festival, which runs until Friday, March 8, has key themes. This year the focus will be on engagement in learning and the development of employability skills.

The two-week event has once again been devised by Aberdeen City Council’s Creative Learning team and features a host of stimulating learning activities from a diverse range of specialist art learning groups made available free of charge to the city’s nurseries and primary schools. .

Through expressive arts including painting and dance the festival provides young children with the opportunity to express themselves, learn new creative skills, share their work with others and improve their ability to recognise and articulate their own skills and potential.

Councillor John Wheeler, educational operational delivery convener, said: “As well as allowing pupils to express themselves through creative learning, this year’s Arts Across Learning Festival has a focus on future employability which is very much in keeping with our aims to ensure the best outcomes for our children and young people.

“Most of all, however, we want our children to participate, enjoy themselves at this wonderful event which our Creative Learning team work so hard to provide.”

Among the artists sharing their expertise with the youngsters is Shirin Karbor who has provided the illustrations for this year’s festival brochure.

Shirin will be sharing with Primary 4-7 pupils, the creative process behind her range of festival illustrations during her Meet AALF’s Curious Characters learning sessions. With Shirin’s guidance, pupils will be encouraged to expand their imaginations in learning how to bring a character to life through creative exploration of environment and narrative.

Shirin said: “Drawing had become second nature to me, so before I could show others how to draw, I had to observe my own creative process as an illustrator and go back to basics. I took inspiration from other illustrators who do workshops to try and understand how they approach teaching their technique.

“I’d like to show pupils how to draw/develop a character by having some fun, thinking outside the box and show that drawings don’t need to be perfect all the time - no rubbers allowed!”

Margaret Stewart, creative partnerships manager, said: "Creativity will be in the top three most important work skills by 2020, alongside complex problem solving and critical thinking. The Festival promotes the development of creativity skills, with workshops that allow space for curiosity, imagination, open mindedness and finding innovative solutions."

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