Building a City of Literature builds on over a decade of educational research in the Centre for Research in Arts, Creativity and Literacies (CRACL) at the School of Education, University of Nottingham, on the most effective ways of developing sustainable partnerships between schools and local cultural organisations.

Centre for Research in Arts, Creativity, Literacies and Learning [CRACL]

Two significant questions underpin CRACL’s research:

  1. how can schools and cultural organisations work together to support pupils’ learning in and through the arts?
  2. how can the arts in schools be developed to foster community cohesion and a sense of value about place?

Prior to the Building a City of Literature project, these questions have been addressed through projects funded by, amongst others, the ESRC, AHRC, British Academy, Arts Council, Tate, Royal Shakespeare Company, leading to a substantial body of publications . This work has been well received internationally, particularly in Europe and Scandinavia, where the organisation Culture Creativity and Education draws on it explicitly in their work with state and regional educational administrations (eg Lithuania, Wales) keen to develop creativity in their schools.

The Building a City of Literature project aimed to further develop work that arose from this primary research, to maximise the impact of existing resources, promote community engagement and develop local knowledge amongst pupils and teachers. Because we are committed to education locally and to taking a place-based approach, we have also worked closely with schools and cultural organisations in the East Midlands to translate our research into practice. In so doing, it extended our work on the signature pedagogies of creative practitioners and employed arts models developed through CRACL research. The project was offered in extracurricular sessions in response to the changed situation in schools, where opportunities for arts and cultural education experiences have become increasingly marginalised.

Partner Schools

The Nottingham Academy is an academy school on three sites in Nottingham, England. It caters for up to 3600 pupils aged 3–19. It is administered by a principal, and each site has a Head of School. The academy is sponsored by the Greenwood Dale Foundation Trust (GDFT).

The Fernwood School is an academy based in Wollaton, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire, England. The school received a 9/10 rating from Ofsted, during its last annual inspection. The school has been recognised by Ofsted and the DfE for excellent academic standards and outstanding care and discipline. The school achieved Leading Edge status for excellent practice in 2004 and became a Specialist Technology College in 2005 and a Specialist School in Mathematics and Science in 2010. The School are also a recognised centre of excellence for Languages, Expressive Arts and Sport.

The White Hills Park Federation Trust is a collective group of schools in Bramcote, Nottinghamshire, and aims at bringing the benefits and economies of scale of a large establishment, while remaining as two individual schools, under one Management Structure and Governing Body. The Federation was founded in 2006. The name is derived from the 3 schools originally within the federation, Alderman White School & Language College, Bramcote Hills Sports and Community College and Bramcote Park Sports, Business and Enterprise School.