Celebrating first year of Burberry Inspire

Press release date 
Fri 5 Jul 2019

Yesterday we celebrated the end of the first year of the exciting new Burberry Inspire project with a Cultural Runway held at Leeds City Museum.

The four-year project is the first in-school arts and culture programme of its scope and scale, providing Artists in Residence to offer immersive arts and cultural education for pupils in West Yorkshire. Together with Leeds Playhouse, Leeds Young Film and The Hepworth Wakefield, we have each worked with two schools to expand their cultural and creative education, inspire pupils' aspirations and boost their confidence. The work by the pupils at all eight schools was showcased in the Cultural Runway, which also told the story of the positive impact learning with an Artist in Residence has had on the students' lives.

This year we worked with Dixons Unity Academy and Leeds East Academy where we held more than 300 sessions and engaged with more than 700 students. As well as participating in dance workshops, pupils were also able to learn about other careers within the arts, such as lighting, set and costume design. Pupils also attended a performance of Victoria, which for many was the first time attending the theatre.

'I love how you showed us Northern Ballet involved more than just dancing.'


'I have seen students be inspired, creative and enthusiastic, embracing a new art form.'

Teacher, Dixons Unity Academy

'Many of the students didn't even know Leeds Grand Theatre existed and I couldn't find any that had been to a ballet before, so in terms of broadening their horizons, it was invaluable.'

Teacher, Leeds East Academy

Angie Alderson-Jagger, Head of Creative Arts at Dixons Unity Academy, said of Philippa Ranger, Northern Ballet's Artist in Residence for the Project: '(Philippa) modelled high expectations whilst raising the aspirations of the students she worked with.'

Leanne Kirkham, our Director of Learning, commented: “Burberry Inspire has allowed Northern Ballet dance artists to work collaboratively with school teachers, a range of industry professionals and pupils, giving young people the chance to become artists in their own right. Each of our schools have created their own dance films and have been involved every step of the way. From designing costumes to set building and choreographing, the pupils explored their own heritage to drive the creative vision of the project. A highlight for us was welcoming over 700 pupils and staff to Leeds Grand Theatre to see Northern Ballet’s production of Victoria. Most of the pupils had never seen a ballet before and for some, it was their first ever theatre visit. Thanks to Burberry Inspire, we hope that the young people go on to experiment with more art forms and continue their own creative journey.”

Burberry Inspire is supported by the Burberry Foundation and the Ideas Foundation. The impact of Burberry Inspire is being studied by the Policy Institute at King's College London to examine how cultural and creative education can help young people transcend challenging circumstances, widen their horizons and realise their aspirations.

Photos Burberry and Gavin Joynt.

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