Cultural Learning Alliance

The principal difference I can see between young people at Eton and those in our partner state schools is that the cultural reservoirs of our boys are continuously filled.

Tony Little
Head Master, Eton



What was your most memorable cultural experience when you were young and how has it stayed with you?

Below is a sample of your inspiring examples of the power of cultural learning. Please see the menu on the right for more videos and stories.

Sir Stuart Rose, Chairman, M&S

Sir Stuart Rose, Chairman, M&S
“I probably couldnĀ“t do what I do without it”
Malcolm Rigler, NHS GP, Swindon PCT/Trustee the phf

My mother was employed part-time in three homes in our avenue to clean and tidy the homes of some very well-travelled elderly people. As she cleaned and dusted their homes – when I was under five years of age – I enjoyed to look at and touch some wonderfully crafted art pieces – small bronze sculptures, pictures of battles and foreign parts. It was a museum experience week by week which has never left me these past 60 years.
Sally Bacon, Clore Duffield Foundation

One of my most memorable cultural experiences is also one of my earliest. I know I loved the Egyptian collection in the British Museum from a very young age, but my strongest memory is of seeing the Turner paintings in the National Gallery shortly after my fourth birthday. There was something about Turner’s vortex of paint, sea and sky which was utterly mesmerising for me as a child. My passion now is Cornish art but I can probably trace its origins back to that moment. I watched my five-year-old son have a similar experience in 2009, when he literally skipped through and around the Anish Kapoor sculptures at the Royal Academy, loving every second, and interpreting it for me with such confidence, as if everything there had been created just for him. I hope the experience stays with him as my Turner moment did with me.
Lesley Butterworth, NSEAD

I grew up in Newcastle Upon Tyne. My mother used to take me regularly to the Hatton Gallery and the Laing Art Gallery when I was very young, before I went to school. At the Hatton Gallery I would sit in front of Kurt Schwitters' Merzbarn. There was an egg shaped form that I especially liked. It puzzled and amused me. At the Laing I can remember paintings by John Martin and Willian Holman Hunt. I used to make up stories about them when I got home. I have lots of early memories about fabric, one aunt had a heavy velvet tablecloth with a fringe that could be plaited and tangled up. My grandmother embroidered flowers onto white cotton curtains. I had a 'best' frock with french smocking on the front and a wide sash. I cried bitterly when I outgrew it. It remains today the best dress I ever had!
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