Developing approaches to equality, diversity, representation, and anti-racist practice in schools through arts, culture, and creativity.

In October 2022, The De La Warr Pavilion announced a major primary schools’ programme in partnership with Artswork. From October to January 2023 we led a Creative Development Network with seven local schools that developed approaches to equality, diversity, representation, and anti-racist practice in schools through arts, culture and creativity. The schools that took part were All Saints CE in Sidley, Catsfield Church of England (VC), Chantry Community, Christ Church CE, Little Common, Polegate and St Peter & St Paul C E (VA).

We appointed Christina Peake as lead artist and Reem Acason as support artist to deliver this comprehensive and exciting programme.

The programme had many aspects which include:

  • Exhibition Visits by Year 5 or Year 4 students to the Pavilion to engage with Zineb Sedira’s exhibition Can’t You See the Sea Changing?
  • Art School Days with creative activities and learning led by the artists in each school.
  • Teacher CPD Sessions, both online and at the De La Warr Pavilion
  • Online Hub for the support of the network and the sharing of knowledge along this process.

The programme was built by the artists, and developed learning through concepts and themes such as environment and identity, narrative and storytelling, temporal spaces, and the empathetic imaginary.

Christina Peake (on left of picture) is a transdisciplinary artist and an AHRC Collaborative Doctoral Researcher with the University of Westminster and The National Archives. Christina’s fascination with cultures was nurtured by her Bajan and British parents who were adamant that she should know both sides of her heritage. This led to ‘home’ emerging across two-nation states, the Republic of Barbados and the U.K., visiting families and natural spaces that embodied those worlds to her as a child and cemented her interest in art, culture, heritage and nature as an adult and dual citizen.

Historically, this fascination was to become focused for her through three threads: cultural plurality, engaging the natural world and storytelling, which evolved to reflect a commitment to art, ecology, liberatory practices and the empowerment of ethically minoritised communities and practitioners. Christina’s practice is research-led, engaging communities and marine environments, with field-work informing a synergistic approach, sourcing material from autobiographical and individual testimony to historical narrative. Christina works to contribute to the formation of new eco-social assemblages through diverse media, emerging methodologies, colonial collections, community engagement and education, forming an expanding archipelago of works across her practice, creating new territories of immersive experiences, learning and radical imagination.’

Reem Acason’s  work explores the parallels and differences which exist across cultures. She is interested in folklore, family stories and people’s personal journeys through life. She references historical portraiture and iconography in her paintings then weaving in individual narratives and the symbolism of patterns, animals, motifs and popular culture. Reem was born in Bahrain and moved to the UK as a child and is currently based in Crowborough. She graduated in 2007 with a first-class degree in Fine Art and works as an artist and arts educator, including with those from under-represented and marginalised groups. She has exhibited widely in the UK and internationally, including twice at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition. In 2021 she was shortlisted for the Ruth Borchard Self Portrait Prize. In the summer of 2022 she took part in the Open Plan residency programme at the Towner Gallery and have been selected for the ING Discerning Eye.

The resulting exhibition Sailing Together, was displayed in  our North Staircase, created by the pupils in this programme.

The work continues in 2023.

Image L to R : artists Christina Peake and Reem Acason