Educational professionals and music teachers from all over the country came to Portsmouth on Friday 5th February 2016 for the annual Solent Cultural Conference held at Portsmouth’s Guildhall.
The all-day event, which has been running for the past 15 years, was organised by Portsmouth and Southampton Music Hubs. Workshops led by organisations including the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, Folkactive and Artswork, the regional Bridge Organisation, gave over 100 delegates the chance to explore new ways to deliver music and cultural education to children and young people.
Laura Gander-Howe, Director for Children, Young People and Learning, from Arts Council England opened the conference. She discussed the value of culture in developing motivation, discipline and drive in young people, and she encouraged all the teachers and educational providers at the conference to seek support with other agencies, to collaborate and to find the best ways and the best services to engage young people. Understanding the challenges that lay ahead for educational providers she said: “We’re in a strong position to promote cultural education in our country. We know that culture can transform the lives of young people. It should be a birthright, not a privilege.”
There were over 25 workshops taking place at the Guildhall, and it was a chance for the delegates to share ideas, to explore new ways of working and to have some fun. At the end of the day the Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra, performing at the Guildhall that night, gave free tickets to the concert for all those attending the conference.
Sue Beckett, CEO of Portsmouth Music Hub, who helped organise the day said: “This year we have focussed the Solent Conference on Culture. It’s not just about music, it’s about drawing together all art forms, using both new technologies and traditional tried and tested methods to find the best way to communicate and engage with children and young people. Teachers, educational professionals, even a Head of a Music Hub, we must never stop learning new methods to bring out the best in young people and to offer them all the cultural opportunities we can.”