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JACKIE DRAKE

Educator, Artspace Co-Founder

A life-long interest in creativity.....

starting with my mud pie tin, stories such as the Old Woman who lived in a Vinegar Bottle, teachers who encouraged creative writing and opportunities to experiment with musical instruments, drama and singing.

At Charlotte Mason College in the 70’s studying Combined Arts and English I was inspired by poetry, Wordsworth and the landscape. I began a journey to understand the importance of play in children’s learning.

The opportunity to home school my four children for a number of years, alongside another family in Coniston, demonstrated to me the importance and effectiveness of following children’s interests at their own pace.

Next a move to Ulverston and a school where children had opportunity to learn in an holistic way and for me to return to work in schools.

And then Carnival Night on the Gill, Welfare State International with their dressed up characters intermingled in the crowd, the glorious structures made of tissue paper and withies and the music! Our family were hooked and we joined in over many years in many aspects and making many friends.

At Bram Longstaffe Nursery School in the 1990’s I had opportunities to develop an interest in storytelling, attending Society For Storytelling conferences. And I met Taffy Thomas.

And here followed 25 years of exploring creativity and the role of play through creativity in children’s lives.. leading to the involvement at Bram of many artists, musicians, landscapers, carpenter, poets, potters, photographers, historians, archivists, storytellers, makers, sound and film artists, etc. Much of this was made possible through funding from people who understood the importance of creativity for mental, physical and intellectual health.

  Over the last period of time with funding opportunities and changes in policies we have had to look creatively at how we can ensure our children here in Cumbria can continue to have opportunities to work with those adults who can be role models for creativity.

    Malaguzzi says children have, ‘a hundred languages,’ we need to be able to offer children opportunities to develop and use these languages. Languages of art, music, storytelling, sound, film, pottery, sculpture, dance, etc. Giving children and young people opportunities to be creative across all areas of learning.

Hence the idea of Artspace …. An offer to schools and home-schoolers to work with artists of all genres. My role is as co-founder with John Hall.

Working in partnership with other agencies we can make magic happen in the lives of our young!

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