Cultural Learning Alliance

Art should be the fourth ‘r’ alongside reading, writing and arithmetic

Sir Nicholas Serota
Director, Tate



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.

Ashley Walters, Musician & Actor

Ashley Walters, Musician & Actor
“The whole experience left a big impression”
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.
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!
Dr John Steers, General Secretary, National Society for Education in Art & Design

Aged about 14 I was taken by my school art teacher to the local (not very good) gallery. We were asked to identify the work we liked best. I chose a drawing of Abbeville Cathedral by John Ruskin and when asked why, I said that I admired the detail in the drawing. The response was an immediate put down: 'Beware detail, young Steers'. I thought 'you can think what you like, I want to draw as well as that'. I've been trying to do so ever since for the last fifty years!
Sign Up

Sign up to the Cultural Learning Alliance. It is quick, free and secure and we will never share your details with anyone else.

We need your support to add weight to our conversations with policy and decision makers.

I am signing up as an:

Stay up to date on all developments in the cultural learning world by signing up to the e-newsletter.

Anti-spam: please enter the text in the image into the box.