Cultural Learning Alliance

The best learning is embodied learning: a profound insight woven into a
memorable story

Michael Boyd
Artistic Director, Royal Shakespeare Company



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”
Pat Chapman, Reiver Facilitation

As a child I was shy, I lived in books and drawing. My junior school teachers described me as hard working. I only came out of my shell through performance, singing, acting and as part of an audience – I gained confidence and challenged my shyness, my life was transformed. Through the arts I learned about others, how to understand them, work with them and see their potential. I developed personal values that shape who I am now and drive me to work for others. I was lucky, my secondary school invested in the whole child and the facilities implied by that. We had a theatre, we had rehearsal rooms, great studio spaces... We hosted a local cinema and regular professional theatre productions. The Head Teacher took risks and gave us the space to experiment and argue with staff about our creative experiences.
Sue Wilkinson, Museums, Libraries & Archives Council

As a young child my most important cultural experience was being taken to the library twice a week. Books were a route into different worlds. I was particularly entranced by a series of books on the childhood of famous people – the young Elizabeth Barratt Browning; the young Elizabeth Fry. Drawn from diaries and memoirs they gave a surprisingly accurate (I discovered later) account of the childhoods of famous women – and it was only the women I was interested in. I think they showed me that the world I was growing up in was not necessarily the world I had to stay in for the whole of my life. I knew from a very young age that I wanted something more than seemed to be on offer in the town in which I lived – books and collections helped me to understand more about what I wanted and how to get it.
Antonia Stowe, Leeds Owl Trail and visual artist

When I was five we travelled to London to visit the Natural History Museum. I clearly remember my first experience of "scale" when I peeped through the doorway in the exhibition hall and first saw the Blue Whale. It was so big that I ran and ran scared out of the main exit and my dad had to find me! Perhaps that was the moment when I became an artist. I have not looked back since!
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