Arts and Culture for Social Cohesion
- November 2023
We bring children together from schools that have been paired by the Oldham Linking Schools team. They explore the Gallery Oldham collections and take part in creative activities to encourage the children to think about identity and the many things that they have in common. They work together to make a banner that expresses this shared identity.
Over the course of a year, we usually welcome over 20 schools into the gallery to take part in these sessions. At the end of the year, we host a celebration that brings all the banners together.
This follows the work of 26 local primary schools and their involvement in the Schools Linking Project, a national initiative aimed at building relationships amongst younger people who may not otherwise meet. For the past 12 months, children aged 8-11 have had the opportunity to meet pupils from other schools and learn more about their own experiences during visits to different schools, Gallery Oldham and Castleshaw Centre.
Participating pupils have also accessed workshops, physical activities, trails and online resources, with teachers encouraging pupils to develop a sense of belonging in their community and foster a commitment to support their own communities.
At the heart of this work has been the sharing of time, experiences and conversations with other children and young people from different backgrounds. “Schools Linking enables children to understand the way in which they can unite and influence their own future for the better. It is most certainly a powerful platform for building community cohesion and supporting global citizenship.”
Principal Arts & Heritage Officer
Heritage, Libraries & Arts