Cultural Learning Alliance

Culture, heritage and the natural world help to inspire us, engage our minds and open our eyes to new horizons

Dame Fiona Reynolds
Director-General, The National Trust



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.

Professor Tanya Byron

Professor Tanya Byron
“It's part of our life as a family”
Cathy Jones, Cardiff Gypsy and Traveller Project

My parents, grandparents and my school encouraged us to visit the library and museums, to go to dance classes and be in shows, to act, to paint and draw, to play and explore, to watch films, listen to and play music, learn a party piece, write and illustrate stories, go to the pantomime and theatre, make puppets, turn the shed into a secret den. Using our imaginations and creativity is what makes us humans and helps us to communicate and understand each other.
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.
John Pout, Headteacher, Rainhill High School – Media Arts College

My cultural learning was somewhat eclectic, but formative and powerful. Growing up on a farm in the Peak District meant access to a metropolitan cultural experience was limited. As a young child being taken to the ‘Nutcracker’ ballet created a sense of awe and excitement that is explicit in live performance. As a youngster the sense of atmosphere and collective experience will never leave me. The power of performance conveying powerful messages has always been addictive. Whether it be seeing Glenda Jackson in ‘Mother Courage’, Ian McKellen in ‘Bent’ or the West End production of ‘Billy Elliott’. As a teenager seeing bands like Specials, Madness and The Jam live communicating energy and passion to a committed audience. I love to see the power of the arts when my students produce their own creative work – whether it's visual or performance based. Powerful arts experiences make you think, trigger emotions and above all unleash creative talents which we all possess.
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