We are delighted to be back in Bowling Park school working across their two sites, to kickstart Year 2 of the Empowering Voice project. The project, run by Story Makers Company at Leeds Beckett University, has been developed alongside Bowling Park Primary and the BD5 network and looks at building children’s oracy and communication skills through drama.
Co-Director Jess is the lead artist for Bowling Park Primary School this year, working on the 2-year project which creates imaginative and culturally relevant curriculum opportunities, giving teachers across eight inner city schools an opportunity to develop their skills in teaching drama, and building pupils’ confidence in communication and oracy.
Jess has been working with the Year 4 pupils, bringing the curriculum to life through drama and storytelling, supporting the children to articulate their ideas, develop understanding and engage with each other through spoken and non-verbal language.
Jess said: “I have absolutely loved collaborating with the teachers at Bowling Park. The project is so interesting to me as it acknowledges and values the skills and knowledge of both myself, as an artist, and the teachers – it is a real knowledge and skills exchange. The project has been designed through a unique coaching model, which creates meaningful spaces for critical reflection and promotes a pedagogy of noticing, which I’ve found invaluable for reflecting on my own practice and in turn improving the outcome for the pupils and the teachers.”
“Co-planning and co-delivering the sessions is such a new experience for me, and I’ve found it fascinating and informative getting the insights and ideas from the wonderful teachers at Bowling Park. It’s great to be working with such a different mix of teachers too – with Namrata Patel who led on the project last year, and who is now a well seasoned practitioner, along with teachers who are completely new to the project and haven’t used drama in their classes before. The children at Bowling Park are an absolute delight to work with – their energy and creativity in each session always makes for a great time. I look forward to seeing what the rest of the year brings”.
Story Makers Company was established in 2017 by academics, teachers and artists concerned with the lack of creative opportunities for young people inside and outside school, particularly those from socially underrepresented and economically disadvantaged communities. Read more about Story Makers Company here.