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Barbican Box

Artist playing piano

Barbican Box is a portable Box filled with the ingredients for making and creating original artistic work, inspired by our multi-arts programme.

Barbican Box launched in 2011 as a theatre education programme for secondary schools and FE colleges in east London. Today, Barbican Box works across art forms, including music, theatre, poetry and visual art, and across 40 primary, secondary, SEN schools and FE colleges in east London, with a national development programme in Manchester, Harlow and Norfolk.

Created in collaboration with artists and associate companies such as Complicite, Max Richter, Michael Rosen, Serious and Internationaal Theater Amsterdam, the Boxes contain a range of stimuli designed to encourage an imaginative, adventurous approach to arts learning. 

Photo of girl in school uniform laughing as teacher holds microphone

Programme structure

Barbican Box is a six-month process and begins with CPD (continuing professional development) training for teachers, after which the Box is sent into schools for teachers to begin working with their students. Teachers are matched with an artist mentor who delivers in-school workshops at the beginning, middle and end of the creative process. Students come to the Barbican or to their local arts centre to see a production, musical performance or exhibition, and the project culminates with students returning to the arts centre to showcase their original work.

Barbican Primary Box

Barbican Primary Box is a cross-arts Box designed to ignite creativity in the classroom through a guided process of in-school artist visits, teacher CPD and teacher-artist collaboration. Boxes have been themed around a variety of topics such as the Great Fire of London, the Fibonacci Sequence, poetry, family stories and migration. Boxes have been curated by figures including  Michael Rosen and Marcus du Sautoy. The programme introduced pupils to imaginative and adventurous approaches by weaving together the arts and subjects such as writing, history and maths.  The Primary Boxes to date have been designed by Tîna Bicat in collaboration with the Box curators and the Barbican Creative Learning team.

Barbican Primary Box has:

  • Supported and facilitated creative cross-curricular work in schools.
  • Introduced young people to imaginative and adventurous approaches to topic work and working across subject areas with the arts at the heart of the programme.
  • Supported and enriched the delivery of the school curriculum.
  • Connected schools with the City’s cultural organisations including the Museum of London and the Barbican Centre with its visual and performing arts programme.
  • Enhanced literacy through creative writing.
  • Enhanced mathematical skills through creative activities.
  • Enhanced understanding of history and exhibition-making.
  • Promoted creativity, literacy, history, and mathematics within the classroom.
  • Provided and promoted ongoing training and development for teachers.
  • Encouraged and nurtured a lifelong relationship with the arts, poetry, history and mathematics.

Barbican Secondary Box

The COVID-19 crisis presents many arts organisations, like us, with new financial challenges. As a result, we are sorry to announce that our schools project, Barbican Secondary Box, will not take place in London in the 2020-2021 academic year. We want to reassure you that we’re planning to bring a new Barbican Box programme back to London in 2021-2022. London schools are key local partners and remain an important part of our work.
As we had already secured external funding for our Barbican Box National Development Programme in our partnership locations of Harlow, Manchester and King’s Lynn and West Norfolk, we’ll be able to run these programmes during the 2020-21 academic year. 

Please don’t hesitate to contact us via [email protected] if you have further questions.

Barbican Box in partnership with Harlow Playhouse

In 2021, Barbican Box will be running in partnership with Harlow Playhouse and curated by the award-winning interactive theatre company, Coney.

Coney’s Barbican Box 2021 is a portal to a Secret Agency that will upskill students in making art and result in the creation of a co-devised playful intervention in their school which will prompt care for others, their environment and themselves. 

The Box will be open for application by Secondary School Art and Drama teachers, and Year 6 primary teachers in Harlow.
 

Apply Now

Barbican Box in partnership with HOME

In 2021, Barbican Box for Secondary schools will be running in partnership with HOME, Manchester, and curated by the award-winning interactive theatre company, Coney.
Coney’s Barbican Box 2021 is a portal to a Secret Agency that will upskill students in making art and result in the creation of a co-devised playful intervention in their school which will prompt care for others, their environment and themselves. 

The Box will be open for application by Visual Arts and Drama teachers in Manchester. The Box project is suitable for Secondary school teachers to apply to use with any age in their school, although this year, Barbican Box has been designed to support the delivery of learning objectives in the KS3 curriculum.
 

Apply Now

Barbican Box in partnership with PEACH West Norfolk (via Creative Arts East)

In 2021, Barbican Box for Primary schools will be running in partnership with PEACH West Norfolk LCEP, led by Creative Arts East. 
 
The project will reprise a Box curated by Michael Rosen, and is filled with objects and poetry from Rosen’s life and childhood designed to inspire the making of new creative work. 
 
Michael Rosen’s Barbican Box in West Norfolk will support primary pupils to explore imaginative and adventurous approaches to literacy and creativity, resulting in the creation of their own original poetry and visual art.
 
All participating schools receive a package of support as part of the Barbican Box programme that includes teacher training, learning resources and an artist mentor, who will collaborate with and support the class teacher.
 
Applications for 20/21 are now closed.