Cultural Learning Alliance

There is an increasing realisation that the arts are essential to people’s wellbeing and that they provide a lifeline in difficult times

Julian Lloyd-Webber
Musician and Chairman of In Harmony



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.

David Cameron, Prime Minister

David Cameron, Prime Minister
“It´s something that stays with you forever”
Juli Beattie, The Art Room

I was four years old, growing up in 1950’s communist Budapest, when I first was taken to see Mozart's The Magic Flute. It was cheaper for my parents to take us to the subsidised state opera than to employ a baby sitter. In the opera house I was stunned by the enormous marble staircase, the paintings, the chandeliers, the gilt statues and the plush velvet box where we sat. The highlight for me was the glamorous costume and the extraordinary voice of the Queen of the Night. From that day on my love of music has never waned and has always been part of my life. At The Art Room we often play Mozart’s music which helps to create a calm atmosphere in which vulnerable and challenging children, at risk of exclusion, can learn and achieve through art.
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!
Andrew Clover, Writer and comedian

When I was nine, every class at my school put on a play. 300 of us sat on the floor, and we saw Rocky O Leary, the school's smallest boy, who was playing Chicken Licken. Hilarious. I saw loads of short plays culminating in a fine comic turn from Andrew Brown, that I can still imitate. Sure, I'd been on a couple of coach trips to watch big musicals in big theatres, but this was way better. The big theatres didn't have Rocky O Leary.
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