The Arts Champions team is a vital part of the Arts and Education Network offer. They are recruited from across our region and have experience of delivering arts projects in schools and educational settings.
The Arts Champions are mentors who can act as a sounding board for projects and offer ideas for new ways of working in the classroom.
The network can pay for the time of the Arts Champions, so their expertise is FREE to schools.
If you are interested in working with an Arts Champion, please contact the network staff who will be able to identify an Arts Champion appropriate for your project.
Head of Music
Lewis School Pengam/ Education
I am the Head of Music at Lewis School Pengam where I have taught since 2000. Currently, I am heading the Lead Creative School Programme at Lewis school in collaboration with two feeder primaries - which has just been awarded ‘good practice’ by the Arts Council. I am also a lead practitioner for the EAS Non-Core Lead Music programme and currently working with GWE and WG to develop resources for the new GCSE Specification. In May 2016, ESTYN acknowledged Lewis School Pengam’s Music Department as part of a case study in the Thematic Review ‘Best Practice in the Arts Key Stages 3 & 4’. I have a wealth of experience in delivering a variety of exam-based qualifications: GCSE (Music), L2 BTEC (Music), GCSE (Performing Arts), AS/A Level (Music), AS/A Level Music Technology and Level 3 BTEC (Music).
Outgoing Director of Music / Subject Leader for Music
I am a freelance musician, arranger, mentor and teacher with over 30 years experience of teaching music in secondary schools. I have embraced lots of change in the curriculum during my teaching career to date, including the introduction of GCSE and the National Curriculum along with several different A-Level and GCSE specifications. I am a passionate believer in the importance of the arts in developing well-rounded members of society; a good, inclusive arts education should be an essential part of the learning experience for all pupils. In October 2015, our Music department was selected by Estyn for a case study as an example of good practice in the teaching of the creative arts.
As a teacher and conductor, I currently work with Gwent Music to deliver good quality teaching and learning through individual and group musical activities. As a conductor, I have directed school choirs and bands performing with considerable success at prestigious festivals, events and venues throughout Europe.
I am also an External Mentor for Newly Qualified Teachers (NQTs), working in partnership with EAS, EWC and Welsh Government to mentor new teachers, from all subject areas and in various schools,through their first year of teaching.
I am passionate about sharing my experience and skills as a musician and teacher with others in the profession. I believe that all learning should be fun, challenging, engaging and inspiring.
Theatre company founder / artistic director / producer / director / facilitator / tutor/inclusive arts practitioner
Theatre, Media, Music & Performing Arts
Since graduating from drama school in 2002, I have been steadily building a career in the Performing Arts, media, music and inclusive arts. I developed this practice further by gaining Qualified Teacher Status as an adjunct in 2011. My background includes 16 years as a professional actor/musician/singer/songwriter; touring with such companies as Theatre for Youth and the Production Crew, as well as working professionally as a producer/director/facilitator/tutor with my own company Forget-Me-Not-Productions Ltd.
After gaining QTS, I taught & lectured for four years – specialising in secondary education drama, music & media, A-Level drama & theatre studies and BA Hons Drama & Education. I came to realise that combining my two areas of expertise could lead to some exciting results. To that end, I began entry into inclusive arts development. During my career to date I have acted as a mentor in many capacities; such as mentoring trainee teachers, training work experience students and apprentices and delivering and designing staff INSETs and twilights for primary schools, secondary schools and special schools. My specialisms include digital theatre, filmmaking and music and songwriting and I have a flare for making all activities fully inclusive.
Upbeat Music and Arts Service Ltd
Having studied and practised as a professional musician from 1983, I started part time peripatetic teaching in 1989 alongside my performing career. In 1996 I gained PGCE in Primary Education at the University of South Wales and joined the Gaer Junior School as classroom teacher. During this period I was an exemplar numeracy teacher for Newport Council.
I was appointed Assistant Head of Gwent Music Support Service in 2001 and stayed until 2013. During that time I gained a wealth of experience regarding all aspects of music service provision to schools and I had responsibility for service provision in the County Boroughs of Blaenau Gwent and Newport. Notably, instrumental music provision in schools rose by 100% in Blaenau Gwent between 2001 and 2010. Many innovative strategies were employed to achieve these high levels of engagement in a recognised area of severe social and economic deprivation. In 2013 I formed Upbeat Music and Arts Service Ltd, a fluid force of artists from many disciplines creating high impact projects and experiences for schools. I have a proven track record of training, mentoring and leading teams - identifying qualities and strengths, and blending those attributes and individuals into a cohesive and dynamic force.
In March 2017, I was recipient of the inaugural South Wales Argus ‘Creativity and Innovation’ award.
Freelance Dance Practitioner
Self-employed working for various organisations
I currently deliver sessions for pre-school children allowing them the freedom to explore movement and music in a friendly environment. During the sessions I aim to develop early language skills, physical, creative and social skills in a fun and relaxed environment. The sessions aim to develop confidence, build self-esteem, and enhance language skills. Children also develop their balance, co-ordination and motor skills while making new friends.
I also devise and teach units of work in primary and secondary schools to all ages and abilities. The sessions are created in line with the National Curriculum and the school’s curriculum maps.
I have worked as a dance mentor and consultant for the PESS (PE in School Sports) initiative with Sports Wales. I worked alongside teachers to raise the standards of dance in primary and secondary education using the PESS pedagogy of teaching and learning. As part of my role I would deliver demonstration lessons, team-teach, set targets and outcomes, give teachers feedback on their lessons and help develop their knowledge of dance in the national curriculum.
Monmouthshire Museums Service
I am the Learning Manager for Monmouthshire Museums Service and have over 20 years experience of working in museum and gallery learning.
I develop curriculum-related creative learning experiences inspired by museum objects and documents, paintings and photographs and historic buildings. I have worked for a diverse range of museums and art galleries including Kettle’s Yard (University of Cambridge), Cambride and County Folk Museum, The Corinium Museum and Bristol’s Museums, Galleries and Archives.
I provide training in object handling and investigation and using museum collections for creative learning
I have co-authored two publications for teachers focusing on using statues and sculpture for developing higher order thinking skills and using museum collections, documents and other historic resources to develop creative learning in the classroom.
I have worked on a number of intergenerational oral history projects, two of which resulted in films being produced for schools across Bristol and Monmouthshire.
I’m the chair of the South Wales heritage Education Forum, a member of the Group for Education in Museums and an Arts Award Advisor (Discover and Explore).
KS2 Class teacher/Art Subject Leader
St Julian’s Primary School, Newport.
I am a creative person and feel passionate about the arts and developing children’s creativity. I am a primary school teacher with eighteen years of experience and also have a varied background in the arts.
I successfully completed a Foundation Course in Art & Design. During my teacher training at UWIC, I studied the History of Art Education; gained a deep understanding of the stages of children’s artistic development and worked in a school as an artist to successfully complete a six-week Artist in Residence placement at a primary school in Cardiff. Later, I gained a Post Graduate certificate in Arts in the Community. This involved leading and developing an arts project working with Refugee and Asylum seekers at the Riverfront in Newport. The project gave the group an opportunity to explore their own issues through the theme “Memories.” Their ideas were explored using drawing, paper-making using abaca fibre and the manutex printing technique.
I have an interest in working with different types of materials and techniques such as drawing from observation, painting, paper-making, fibre arts, papier-mâché. I have organised and led training sessions for staff in school to develop their expertise and confidence to work with new materials and techniques. I can support teachers in devising and planning high quality arts projects, which develop children’s creativity and enthusiasm for the arts.
I am an arts practitioner based in Abergavenny, Monmouthshire. I graduated from the Royal College of Art with an MA in printmaking in 2006. Since graduating I have been working as an artist exhibiting at galleries, museums and art fairs internationally. I work predominantly with cut paper, exploring two and three-dimensional collage. I combine cut-outs from old magazines and books with drawn and painted imagery to create intimately scaled paper sculptures and abstract compositions.
In addition to my practice I have worked in many different learning environments, from early years workshops through to family programmes and adult learning. I have led workshops for both primary and secondary level students, in both school and museum settings. Previous clients include the V&A Museum, Art on the Underground, Manchester Art Gallery and Yorkshire Sculpture Park.
I am currently working on the ‘Sun, Space and Art’ project funded by the University of Cambridge - a project which brings together astronomy and art in an integrated approach. Together with an astrophysicist I am leading workshops about galaxies in primary schools across south Wales. We are exploring the subject through two and three-dimensional paper collage. By the end of each two-day session pupils have designed and constructed their own three-dimensional paper galaxy.
In terms of mentoring I can offer practical advice about the use of different materials and processes related to drawing, collage and print - rethinking and introducing a playful approach to these mediums. I can also advise on how to make the best of limited resources, since much of my practice relies heavily on recycled paper/materials.