It's been quite a journey from our formation in a state primary in Paddington 5 years ago, our first regional launch event in Liverpool in April 2015 and a big top in the grounds of one of the top private schools in the UK alongside the Education Secretary Nicky Morgan, Sir Ken Robinson and Tinie Tempah when we were invited to #INSPIRANATION at The Sunday Times Festival of Education.
But we thought we should start working on some strategic stuff: our vision, mission and values.
We haven't had time for a management off site event with a pile of post-it notes. We haven't really got a management team yet anyway so please be gentle with us. We're just a bunch of parents/carers doing our best.
We'd welcome feedback.
How about seeing an education system and society where creativity really is valued as much as literacy? Where we bring the expertise and enthusiasm latent in communities across the UK in to work with hard pressed primary teachers.
We're on a mission raise funds to build and keep a small core team that can package up what we've done in one school in Paddington, add some magic dust in the form of more activities and #inspirator input and share it, so that every Primary School in the UK can 'Power their Communities to run STEAM Co. Days' without the pain we've had. We've even got ideas about how we might make the production phase as much fun as the day itself.
Let's keep it simple
- Creativity : we value creativity in all its forms of thinking and doing. We do not want to put art or artists on pedestals. We are all artists.
- Community : we believe in the power of community, the latent passion, creativity and skills that resides, often untapped in our society. We want to untap it for all our futures.
- Inclusive : we want everyone to be able to enjoy STEAM Co. Days from the most challenged to the more affluent and engaged state schools to the top independent schools. Everyone's invited.
- Diverse : we will actively strive to be representative and respectful of everybody and their contribution, regardless of gender, race, colour, creed. Where possible and appropriate we may positively discriminate in favour of underrepresented minorities which may include but not be limited to women, BAME and transgender, particularly to inspire children.
- Respect : big word, but here, while we believe we are all (not 'can be') artists, we say creatives are people whose livelihoods depend on their art. We don't want to squeeze them any harder and believe they should be paid for working on STEAM Co. Days and our advice to schools is to budget/raise sponsorship accordingly. There will be exceptions to this, maybe at our regional launch events or where creatives in school communities choose to offer their time, maybe as parents, who don't have high paying jobs and can't contribute as much financially. Everyone has something to give, Time is our most precious gift.
- Safe : safeguarding/ child safety is our number one operational priority. We will always adhere to and constantly review our policies. Our number one safeguarding policy is that there is 'no quibbling'.
- Apolitical : while as individuals we may have and express political beliefs and would be worried if, as carers, we didn't. STEAM Co. is not aligned to any one political party. If anyone devalues creativity, we will bring them to account.
- Not afraid to ask - we firmly believe that if you don't ask you don't get. We are set up as a non-profit Community Interest Company to make it easier for people to give to us and for us to earn a living too. We would therefore hope you won't be offended if we ask for a favour. We won't be offended if you say 'no'.
Does that work for you? Any suggestions?
Inspired by Seth Godin, at STEAM Co. we say that 'Art is what we call it when what we do might connect us' and believe we are all artists. Your art might be painting or dance, DJing or drawing, baking or football.
See this 90 second film by Seth Godin which says it all:
When, Darren Henley, CEO of the Arts Council visited Sunderland last year calling for a 'creativity revolution' we took him at his word and launched one. #ILoveART from @people4art is a celebration of our art.
Check this launch film we made in Sunderland: