Sensory Atelier Symposium

Sensory Attellier symposium front.jpg

The Symposium celebrated the findings of the two year Test and Explore Paul Hamlyn funded research project, Unlocking the World Through Art: A Sensory Atelier.

Presenting the work by the Attenborough Arts centre in partnership with two SEN schools, Ellesmere College and Ashmount School.

You can read the highlights below or read the full transcripts by following the links at the bottom of the page.

Speakers included:

  • Abi Steady, Deputy Head teacher, Amy Williams, Support Assistant plus pupils of Ashmount School.
  • Lisa Pittwood, Co-Principal & Angela Smith, Deputy Head: Ellesmere School
  • Marianne Pape, Learning & Outreach Officer
  • Manya Benenson, Schools and Projects Co-ordinator (April 2016 – June 2017) & Lisa Jacques Schools and Projects Co-ordinator (July 2016 – March 2017), Attenborough Arts Centre
  • The Mighty Creatives discussing Arts Mark & Arts Award

Symposium highlights

Marianne Pape, Education and Outreach officer, Attenborough Arts Centre . 

senseory journeys talk1

Marianne Pape – Education and Outreach officer at the Attenborough Arts Centre introduced the project and its starting points, highlighting its journey and development from her own initial light bulb moment to where it is today and its future as it moves forward.

“I had my own breakthrough – or glow moment – and wondered how much the school would benefit from drawing from some key principles of the Reggio Emilia approach” – Marianne Pape, Learning & Outreach Officer, Attenborough Arts Centre

“Our Sensory Atelier methodology explores the gallery and classrooms as studios, where teachers and support assistants become learning curators; pupils as creative collaborators; and artists as Atelierista’s, however the boundaries can be blurred and roles are merged with the focus on child-led learning and on the process.” – Marianne Pape, Learning & Outreach Officer, Attenborough Arts Centre

Lisa Jacques, Schools and Projects Co-ordinator, Attenborough Arts Centre (July 2017 – March 2018) in conversation with Manya Benenson, Schools and Projects Co-ordinator, Attenborough Arts Centre  (April 2016 – June 2017)

senseory journeys talk2edit.jpg

After the introduction the Project co-ordinator Lisa Jacques and previous co-ordinator Manya Benenson provided an in depth view of elements of the project with Q&A.

“…it’s really lovely to have met Manya previous to this discussion and just realise how amazing an effect you’ve had on the project and how amazing it’s been delivered.” Lisa Jacques, Schools and Projects Co-ordinator, Attenborough Arts Centre (July 2017 – March 2018)

“…for me the heart of this project was the opportunity to be learning alongside the children, and let the children become leaders…” – Manya Benenson, Schools and Projects Co-ordinator, Attenborough Arts Centre   (April 2016 – June 2017)


Abi Steady, Deputy Head teacher, Ashmount School, Amy Williams, Support Assistant, Ashmount School & 3 pupils from Ashmount School in conversation. 

senseory journeys talk7.jpg

Ashmount School staff and pupils shared their journey through the project. Focusing on the pupil’s perspective with the children confidently speaking and sharing their experiences.

“The journey so far has been amazing – the magical moments have astounded us, everyone involved has been enthused and the legacy of the work done lives on in staff and pupils involved. Our aim is now to embed the practice across key stages and curriculum before sharing our expertise more widely with other special and mainstream schools.” – Abi Steady, Deputy Head teacher

Ellesmere College presentation:  Lisa Pittwood, Co-Principal, Ellesmere College & Angela Smith, Deputy Head, Ellesmere College

Ellesmere College staff – Lisa Pittwood (co-Principal) and Angela Smith (Deputy Head) shared their own experiences and highlighted the incredible impact the project has had on their learners.

“I’ve been at Ellesmere for 20 years, you know, and things come and go. This kind of feels like there is a uniqueness to it that actually reflects the uniqueness of the learner we have…” – Lisa Pittwood, Co-Principal, Ellesmere College

Feedback from delegates:

“I wanted to congratulate you all again for yesterday’s Symposium.  It was an inspiring afternoon getting underneath the detail of this exceptional project and considering what it might mean for future child led engagement across the sector.” – Adel Al-Salloum, Director, The Spark Arts for Children.

“The focus on exploring materials, the sensory experience and the process of engagement, rather than on a finished product, has made me rethink my approach to working with young people with multiple disabilities and given me new ideas and confidence to try the sensory atelier approach” – Linda Harding.

“Just coming back on this after the symposium, by which I was so fired up. It was a great time to learn and reflect on the project’s outcomes and impact. I am really impressed by the amount of organisational input, co-operation and growth involved. It has made me realise why I find it so difficult to make space for myself to do this kind of work when operating from such a solo stand point.” – Helen Duff, Sensory Journeys Symposium delegate (and part of the artist shadowing)

Find out more…

You can read the full transcripts from the symposium by following the links bellow:

  1. SensoryJourneys(10-01-18) transcript – Michaela Butter
  2. SensoryJourneys(10-01-18) transcript – Marianne Pape
  3. SensoryJourneys(10-01-18) transcript – Project managers in discussion
  4. SensoryJourneys(10-01-18) transcript – Ashmount presentation
  5. SensoryJourneys(10-01-18) transcript – Ellesmere College
  6. SensoryJourneys(10-01-18) transcript – Hazel Townsend TMC
  7. SensoryJourneys(10-01-18) transcript – Final comments
%d bloggers like this: