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Schools partnership creates learning inspired by British Art Show 9

Schools partnership creates learning inspired by British Art Show 9

Twenty local secondary schools from across the West Midlands have joined a creative, dynamic, contemporary arts programme run by Arts Connect at the University of Wolverhampton inspired by the British Art Show 9 (BAS9).

Hayward Gallery Touring’s landmark exhibition, BAS9, will continue its national tour at the University of Wolverhampton School of Art and Wolverhampton Art Gallery from 22 January through to 10 April 2022.

Arts Connect is collaborating with University of Wolverhampton School of Art and Wolverhampton Art Gallery to create the unique inspired by BAS9 Arts Connect Partner School programme.

Arts Connect are a development agency connecting and supporting communities across the West Midlands, to enable children and young people (from 0-25) to enjoy a rich and meaningful arts and cultural life. They work with partners in education, arts and cultural organisations, local government and others to lead change and improve opportunity of access and engagement. 

Arts Connect is part of the Faculty of Arts, Business and Social Sciences at the University of Wolverhampton. The 20 secondary schools, which include local colleges and Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) schools from across the West Midlands will engage over 400 children and young people with teachers and students collaborating with local contemporary artists to create unique creative programmes inspired by BAS9.

Jody Williams, Head of Creative Arts at Moreton School, Fallings Park, Wolverhampton, said: “Moreton Art Department is privileged to be a part of the inspired by BAS9 Arts Connect Partner Schools programme. It will give our young artists the opportunity to engage with contemporary art practitioners, developing the pupils’ own practice, inspiring them to challenge and push themselves further. It is a great opportunity and we know it will mean the world to Moreton pupils to be involved.”

The inspired by BAS9 Arts Connect Partner schools have already started their creative activities with artists, including 4 Wolverhampton schools and colleges who have been working with Flexus Dance Collective to create unique contemporary performance pieces which were showcased in the summer at the University’s Arena Theatre in Wolverhampton.

Through the inspired by BAS9 Arts Connect Partner Schools programme, 11 local contemporary artists have been recruited to bring a diverse range of skills and experience to the programmes that they are developing with young people and teachers.

Mark Riley, an artist and creative practitioner who is working with 5 SEND schools which have been chosen to be part of the inspired by BAS9 Arts Connect Partner Schools programme, said: “This is a great opportunity to work with young people from complex backgrounds to engage with the best of contemporary art. I want them to be inspired by the themes of the exhibition and enable them to have the agency to show what life is like for them and what they want for the future.”

The artwork created by young people as part of the inspired by BAS9 Arts Connect Partner School programme will be publicly showcased at Wolverhampton City venues and online throughout the BAS9 exhibition.

Becky Thompson, BAS9 Learning Programme Manager, said: “We want teachers and young people to be able to take advantage of such a prestigious cultural event happening in Wolverhampton and use it to inspire future projects, innovations and collaborations.”

BAS9 is recognised as the most important and ambitious recurrent exhibition of contemporary art produced in the UK. Taking place every five years it brings the work of artists defining new directions in contemporary art to four UK cities. For BAS9 in Wolverhampton, the exhibition will focus on how we live with and give voice to difference, showcasing 34 artists whose works investigate identity from an intersectional perspective. By exploring coexisting identities such as class, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality, these works will be presented in critical dialogue with Wolverhampton’s cultural history which has been shaped by the diverse populations that came to work and live there during the post-war period.     

BAS9 is a Hayward Gallery Touring exhibition presented in collaboration with the cities of Aberdeen, Wolverhampton, Manchester and Plymouth. Curated by Irene Aristizábal and Hammad Nasar. Four of the new works in the British Art Show 9 tour are made possible with the generous support of the Art Fund and these will be acquired by museum partners in each city for their own collections, as a marker of the lasting legacy of this ambitious touring show.

BAS9 will also benefit from the support of Arts Council England’s Project Grant for National Activities which is allowing partners to produce ambitious and wide-ranging programmes of creative learning, civic engagement and participation that will further extend the reach of BAS9 across the four partner cities.

Works on show at BAS9 will include vibrant paintings depicting the cultural experience of Hurvin Anderson, a Birmingham-born artist with Jamaican heritage. Furniture designed by students at Wolverhampton’s Thomas Telford University Technical College (UTC) at Springfield Campus will be on show as part of a pilot programme for an ‘art school within an art school’ by artist Mark Essen.

The exhibition includes film, photography, painting, sculpture, and performance, as well as multimedia projects that don’t sit easily in any one category. If you would like to find out more about the inspired by BAS9 Learning Programme or see how you can get involved contact Becky by emailing her:

Picture Credit: Matthew Cawrey, Digital Producer of Flexus Dance Collective 

Anyone looking to study at the University of Wolverhampton should register for one of our forthcoming Open Days.



Tour details:

10 July – 10 October 2021, Aberdeen: Aberdeen Art Gallery

22 January – 10 April 2022, Wolverhampton: Wolverhampton Art Gallery and University of Wolverhampton School of Art

13 May – 4 September 2022, Manchester: Castlefield Gallery; HOME; Manchester Art Gallery; and the Whitworth, The University of Manchester

8 October – 23 December 2022, Plymouth: KARST; The Levinsky Gallery, University of Plymouth; The Box, Plymouth; and MIRROR, Plymouth College of Art

About Hayward Gallery Touring

Hayward Gallery Touring is the largest organisation in the UK that produces contemporary art exhibitions that tour to galleries, museums and other publicly funded venues throughout Britain. In collaboration with artists, independent curators, writers and partner institutions, Hayward Gallery Touring develops imaginative exhibitions that are seen by up to half a million people in over 45 cities and towns each year.

About the Southbank Centre

The Southbank Centre is the UK’s largest arts centre occupying a prominent riverside location that sits in the midst of London’s most vibrant cultural quarter on the South Bank of the Thames. We exist to present great cultural experiences that bring people together and we achieve this by providing the space for artists to create and present their best work and by creating a place where as many people as possible can come together to experience bold, unusual and eye-opening work. We want to take people out of the everyday, every day. The site has an extraordinary creative and architectural history stretching back to the 1951 Festival of Britain. The Southbank Centre is made up of the Royal Festival Hall, Queen Elizabeth Hall, Purcell Room and Hayward Gallery as well as being home to the National Poetry Library and the Arts Council Collection. It is also home to four Resident Orchestras (London Philharmonic Orchestra, Philharmonia Orchestra, London Sinfonietta and Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment) and four Associate Orchestras (Aurora Orchestra, BBC Concert Orchestra, Chineke! Orchestra and National Youth Orchestra of Great Britain).

About Irene Aristizábal

Irene Aristizábal is the Head of Curatorial and Public Practice at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead, where she has curated Judy Chicago’s first major survey in the UK and Abel Rodríguez first solo exhibition. Before BALTIC, Irene worked as Head of Exhibitions at Nottingham Contemporary (2013–19), where she curated exhibitions and commissioned projects by Lis Rhodes, Pia Camil, Steffani Jemison, Otobong Nkanga, Simon Starling, Michael Beutler, Pauline Boudry/Renate Lorenz, Sun Ra, Rana Hamadeh, Danai Anesiadou, Danh Võ, Carol Rama and Asco. Recent group exhibitions include Still I Rise: Feminisms, Gender Resistance (2018–9) and States of America: Photography from the Civil Rights Movement to the Reagan Era (2017). She was curator at the FRAC Nord Pas de Calais, Dunkirk in 2010–1, and was the recipient of the H+F Curatorial Grant (2010). Prior to that she co-directed the not-for-profit space Bétonsalon in Paris (2005–6). She has also curated exhibitions at the Fundació Miró, Barcelona; Maison Rouge, Paris; Form Content, London and the Museum of Health Sciences, Bogota.

About Hammad Nasar

Hammad Nasar is Lead Curator at Herbert Art Gallery and Museum during Coventry’s City of Culture year (2021-22) where he recently curated the Turner Prize 2021 exhibition. He is also Senior Research Fellow at the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art and Principal Research Fellow at the University of the Arts, London. He was the inaugural Executive Director of the Stuart Hall Foundation, London (2018-19); Head of Research & Programmes at Asia Art Archive, Hong Kong (2012-16); and, co-founded (with Anita Dawood) the non-profit London art space, Green Cardamom (2004-12). Known for collaborative, research-driven and exhibition-led inquiry, his recent exhibition projects include: Speech Acts: Reflection-Imagination-Repetition (2018-19 – with Kate Jesson); Structures of Meaning | Architectures of Perception (2018-19 – with Sophie Persson); Rock, Paper, Scissors: Positions in Play – the UAE’s national pavilion at the 57 th Venice Biennale (2017); Excessive Enthusiasm: Ha Bik Chuen and the Archive as Practice (2015 – with Michelle Wong, Ingrid Chu and Vivian Poon); and Lines of Control: Partition as a Productive Space (2005-2013 – with Iftikhar Dadi, Ellen Avril, Nada Raza, Sophie Persson and Justine Blau). Nasar is a member of the board of Mophradat (Belgium), of the editorial board of Tate’s magazine, Tate Etc, and is an advisor to numerous organisations including the Lahore Biennale Foundation (Pakistan); Alserkal Avenue (UAE); and Delfina Foundation, Manchester Art Gallery and Whitechapel Gallery (UK).

About Art Fund

Art Fund is the national fundraising charity for art. It provides millions of pounds every year to help museums to acquire and share works of art across the UK, further the professional development of their curators, and inspire more people to visit and enjoy their public programmes. In response to Covid-19 Art Fund has made £2 million in adapted funding available to support museums through reopening and beyond, including Respond and Reimagine grants to help meet immediate need and reimagine future ways of working. Art Fund is independently funded, supported by the 159,000 members who buy the National Art Pass, who enjoy free entry to over 240 museums, galleries and historic places, 50% off major exhibitions, and receive Art Quarterly magazine. Art Fund also supports museums through its annual prize, Art Fund Museum of the Year. In a unique edition of the prize for 2020, Art Fund responded to the unprecedented challenges that all museums are facing by selecting five winners and increasing the prize money to £200,000. The winners are Aberdeen Art Gallery; Gairloch Museum; Science Museum; South London Gallery; and Towner Eastbourne

Arts Council England

Arts Council England is the national development agency for creativity and culture. We have set out our strategic vision in Let’s Create that by 2030 we want England to be a country in which the creativity of each of us is valued and given the chance to flourish and where everyone of us has access to a remarkable range of high quality cultural experiences. We invest public money from the Government and The National Lottery to help support the sector and to deliver this vision. Following the Covid-19 crisis, the Arts Council developed a £160 million Emergency Response Package, with nearly 90% coming from the National Lottery, for organisations and individuals needing support. We are also one of the bodies administering the Government’s unprecedented £1.57 billion Culture Recovery Funds. Find out more at

About Wolverhampton Art Gallery

Wolverhampton Art Gallery was purpose built in 1883 to house the city's collections of fine and decorative arts. It has one of the UK's best regional holdings of modern and contemporary art, including the renowned Pop Art collection and art focusing on the Troubles in Northern Ireland. Another important area for collecting is that of the British Black Art movement that began in the city in the 1980s. The Art Gallery is an Arts Council National Portfolio Organisation and attracts around 150,000 visitors annually. For further information please visit

About University of Wolverhampton School of Art

University of Wolverhampton School of Art has been at the centre of the City's creative and industrial strategy since the 1850's when our first purpose-built art school was commissioned. Our current home was formally opened to students in October 1970 - 50 years ago. Charles Wheeler's brave and iconic architecture has dominated the Wolverhampton skyline ever since. Students on our Art, Design and Screen based courses join a creative, practice led community in which they find the time, space and resources to gain high level skills as makers and learn to understand the historical and contemporary scope of their subject. Socially engaged and community arts practice is core to our history and vision and the University of Wolverhampton School of Art has a long tradition of working with industry, civic and community partners. We embrace a diverse student body and aim to provide targeted and public access opportunities through an outreach programme that includes school/college experience days, the annual Artsfest and degree shows, exhibitions, conferences and public lectures. For further information please visit

About Arts Connect

Arts Connect are a development agency, delivering the Bridge programme in the West Midlands for Arts Council England, they are part of the University’s Faculty of Arts, Business and Social Sciences and they support communities across the West Midlands, in enabling children and young people (from 0-25) to enjoy a rich and meaningful arts and cultural life.

Arts Connect work with 500 education partners and 1,700 teachers, 300 arts and cultural organisations as well as 150 artists across the Midlands region. Arts Award Discover is an introductory award, designed for ages 5 to 11 years, but is also open to young people up to 25 years old.



For more information please contact the Corporate Communications Team.

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