Apart from using some of the funding to release existing staff to develop areas of the transformational plan we were in the enviable position of being able to appoint three artists in residence for a year in dance, theatre and the moving image These artists worked with staff and students on many projects throughout the year, culminating in a major show Around the World in 80 Minutes which was a showcase for all of the work undertaken by our staff, students and cluster schools.
The recruitment and line management of the artists in residence was a collaboration between the school and East Lothian Council Arts Service and as such each was required to write a report on their residency.
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Staff and students found it most interesting working with non-teachers and gained in confidence by attending sessions with the artists and learning new skills, which they could then pass onto other students and colleagues. Through the existing connections the artists in residence had, we also benefited from visits by many other specialists. Through separate arrangements, we have also benefited from the skills of a design artist, promotions and front of house specialist and voice artist.
Initially, it had been our intention to consider subsuming some or all of the artists into our existing staff complement. During the planning stage it was anticipated that this would be possible because of a predicted rise in roll. However, due to unforeseen circumstances this proved not to be the case.
We were keen that each artist left a legacy either by teaching staff or students new skills, which they could then pass on to others. This proved harder than we thought it would be in some areas but has been hugely successful in our Dance Company, which involves senior students teaching younger students with non-specialist staff supervising and learning too! At present, we have a reduced number of hours with our dance specialist, part-funded by the Arts Service and part-funded by the takings from concerts put on by the students. We are now looking at this funding model as a way of securing the services of other specialists.