Education & Communities
Cultural Education Programme
“We are not here to teach you the Arabic language, we’re here for you to experience it through our culture.”
Liverpool Arab Arts Festival’s Cultural Education Programme works with Arab artists to develop workshops to be delivered in Primary and Secondary schools in the Liverpool City Region.
Education, and working within the local community, is at the heart of our work at Liverpool Arab Arts Festival. As part of our mission to create a platform to educate, challenge and engage communities in Arab arts, culture and heritage across the UK and internationally, our work within schools keeps Arab arts, culture and heritage alive.
Our focus is twofold. Arab artists are often under-represented within the creative economy and performing arts. By working with artists as part of our cultural education programme we make their activity and experience more visible as artists and practioners. We create opportunities for those Arab artists to work and engage. For the Arab artists we work with, much of their practice is inspired by safeguarding and preserving Arab tradition and culture, like playing traditional instruments, language or creative practice. We make it possible for them to continue this work.
For the young students we work with, our programme is an opportunity to engage with Arab art and culture. This may be the first time they have encountered it. For some students, however, it is the first time they have seen their own culture and heritage represented in their classroom. The enthusiasm those students show when they excitedly share the words they speak at home with their classmates, often for the first time, or to discuss the music, art and culture that is part of their heritage, is a powerful tool to strengthen Arab identity.
Since 2021 we have worked with six artists who have led workshops in schools. These include poetry with Amina Atiq (Yemen/UK); Dabke Dance with Sylvia Ferreira (Syria/UK); music with Saied Silbak (Palestine/UK); DJing with Jacques Malchance (Italy/UK) & Saliah Bryan (Lebanon/UK); and visual arts with Jessica El Mal (Morocco/UK).
Since it began in 2021 the programme has worked with over 1,000 school children in the Liverpool City Region. The workshops have been warmly welcomed by the schools. They are pitched in a fun, friendly and creative way, which introduces children to Arab culture and the Arabic language.
“Year 6 enjoyed a workshop with Chris and Amina. We discussed identity and how we can express our identity through poetry.”
St Anne’s Primary
“These workshops were ideal for our aims as they covered our passion for literacy and creativity. Also the Arab culture was something our children and staff were not very familiar with.”
“School demographic is low numbers of pupil premium children and children are mostly White British. We are dedicated to showing our children the world outside Childwall. We want our children to understand the lives of other economic circumstances, religions, cultures as well as issues around disability, sexuality and gender. We are committed to this not being tokenistic or part of one off special weeks or days but rather an integral part of our curriculum that takes place all year and every day.”
Jessica Cavanagh, Assistant Head Teacher
If you would like to hear more about the LAAF Cultural Education Programme in 2022 you can contact Education Producer – Chris Herstad Carney on firstname.lastname@example.org or call (0151) 702 7765
Image gallery of workshops in 2022