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Creative Court UK: An arts-led project exploring Justice and the Law

Creative Court UK: An arts-led project exploring Justice and the Law

Blog by Dr. Rebekah Wood Outreach Education Project Manager

In 2014 the Arts Council launched its 10-year strategy to provide ‘Great Art for Everyone’. As part of this launch, Peter Bazelgette the chair of Arts Council England gave a seminal talk about the fundamental shift that they were championing based upon the simple observation that ‘diversity, in the widest sense, is an integral part of the artistic process’. It was through this that ‘The Creative Case’ emerged; a new focus for exploring how barriers to the Arts could be removed, and new way of working towards equality, recognition and ultimately a new vision for diversity in the arts.

The Arts Council have also stated that diversity is ‘one of the most important issues of our age. We live in a remarkably diverse society, and how we evolve and face the challenges of the future will depend on how we can use the creative resources that diversity gifts us.’

But what is meant by ‘diversity’? Part of understanding how diversity can be embraced is to understand what it is at its core. It’s easy to slip into stereotypes, either consciously or subconsciously and unwittingly categorise people, but we now recognise the need to embrace not only people’s individual characteristics, but their diversity of knowledge, diversity of experience and diversity of skill. Through embracing this attitude within the Museum Sector we open ourselves up to seeing our existing collections and objects in a new light, uncovering new interpretations, new voices, new understandings. Exploring our collections through the creative arts enables new dialogues to emerge that explore ideas prevalent to our contemporary society such as, politics, social justice, personal experience and any number of other interconnected issues.

It is from this idea that the ‘Creative Court UK’ project emerged.

The Creative Court UK Project

Creative Court UK is a new project being run at the National Justice Museum and will be finding creative ways to engage with the local community through creating an education outreach programme which focuses on citizenship, justice and the law. It will be centred around an artist-designed ‘Pop-Up Courtroom’ which will be transported to schools across Nottingham, Manchester and London.

The project will be run by the new National Justice Museum, based in the old Shire Hall the former law courts of Nottingham. It will also filter out to learning partners based at the Royal Courts of Justice in London, The Civil Justice Centre and Crown Court, Manchester and Bolton Magistrate’s Court.

What will the project do?

The Creative Court UK project is a creative exploration of topics relating to Justice and the Law which will encourage creative interaction and discussion. The education sessions will be designed in the Development Phase of the project between April and August 2017 and the sessions will be delivered as outreach sessions in schools across Nottingham, London and the North West.

The project also aims to provide training opportunities and creative experiences for volunteer Associates from the local community, focusing on upskilling those with little or no previous experience in the Arts or Heritage Sector. It will provide opportunities to learn more about working in museums, and to contribute towards designing new ways of interpreting our collections for diverse audiences.  The Associates will work with an Artist and Resource Creator to design and develop learning sessions that tie in to the National Justice Museum’s vision to provide education opportunities  These educational sessions will work directly with a commissioned ‘pop-up courtroom’ that will be used to engage the school groups with issues that directly affect their communities.

The project will encourage:

  • Interactive learning for children and young people (aged between 7 and 17) to learn about the law; how to live within it; how to be responsible citizens; and what difference they can make to the future of law-making.
  • A greater awareness and understanding of British Values, Diversity and Civic Responsibility.
  • Creative interpretation of the courtroom process to identify ways that interaction with Art and Culture can generate greater community participation.

Who will be involved?

    • Freelance Artist: The National Justice Museum will work with a Freelance Artist to create a conceptual learning space that takes on the form of a courtroom, through which topics related to British Values, Citizenship and the Law can be explored by school groups. The conceptual space will be inclusive and participatory.
    • Freelance Resource Creator: As part of the project we will also recruit a Freelance Resource Creator to work with a team of volunteer Associates to develop interactive learning sessions for schools. Additionally, the sessions will make use of object-handling boxes containing items from the National Justice Museum’s collection; replicas, objects, costumes and props which will be used to initiate discussion or generate the starting point for audience participation.
  • Volunteer Associates: The National Justice Museum will be recruiting volunteer Associates in two phases. During the Development phase (April-August 2017) a team based in Nottingham will develop learning sessions and supporting resources. In the Deliver phase (September 2017 – March 2018) a further three groups of volunteers will be recruited to deliver the educational workshops in schools across Nottingham, London and the North West
  • Local Schools – The Creative Court UK project will work with local schools to deliver the education outreach sessions. Sessions within schools will be funded by the Arts Council for the duration of the project. The project will particularly reach out to schools

What will be achieved?

The aims of the Creative Court UK Project are to provide young people a better understanding of British Values and Citizenship and promote diversity in both our museum workforce and in the way we interpret our collections.

The Creative Court Project will provide essential access to Arts-based learning to schools across the country and the ‘pop-up court’ will have further use as a touring educational resource for use in galleries, museums, libraries and other public spaces.

The volunteer Associates that take part in the project will have the opportunity to take on paid freelance work for the National Justice Museum and become part of the ongoing education outreach offered by the museum.

For more information about the Creative Court UK project or to get involved as a volunteer or pilot school please contact the project manager Dr. Rebekah Wood at Rebekah.Wood@nationaljusticemuseum.org.uk or call 0115 9520555 ext 221

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