The NSEAD TOOLKIT for Activism: How to keep your job and be an activist!

Art, craft and design is challenged in formal education. Many teachers are experiencing the direct consequences of these challenges in the classroom, eroding choice and experience for children and young people in our subject. The materials in this section have been designed to help you raise awareness of the challenges we are facing with art, craft and design to a wide group of stakeholders.

Here are some tips for Art Activists everywhere

Activism is public: Before you start

Alert your employer to your intent. If you are intending to cite and share the challenges faced by the school or setting you work in, discuss this with your employer first. If you want to discuss or share views on social media platforms such as Twitter and Facebook check with your school social media policy, and include the strapline ‘views are my own’ on your profile.

Your Headteacher or Communications Department may be able to further support you or they may want you to share information in an alternative way.

Never expose information in any form about your place of employment without prior permission.

What can I do?

Choose your cause with care. Focus on what the evidence is to support your argument, and what the benefits would be if your concerns were resolved. Can you include local, regional or national evidence or impact? Don’t be tempted to include everything, identify an issue you can really deliver on. If possible, include solutions to problems.

Think who you want to influence, and write a letter to specific groups or individuals about specific issues in a specific way. These could include your MP, journalists or editors of local or national newspapers, local councillors, your local radio station, other agencies and organisations, the Secretary of State for Education, Education Select Committee members, the Schools Commissioners Network. Explain your concerns, keep your correspondence short, and invite responses and answers.

Choose your ‘voice’. Are you speaking as a teacher or educator of art, craft and design? A parent? A school governor?

Liaise with other agencies, networks and colleagues. A joint plan of action, for signatures on a letter or a collective meeting can be more powerful than a single voice.

Set up a twitter account. If you are new to twitter, follow other teachers, schools and art and design departments already active on this platform. Is you school or setting already active on twitter? Refer to your employer’s social media policy before starting. Use twitter as a medium to share concerns and celebrate excellence.

What are the issues? Where is the evidence?

Use our Advocacy section as a toolkit. There are exemplars, case studies, reports, data and links with all the evidence you need to make your case. The resources can be shared with students, parents & carers, school leaders, governors and other professionals to help explain why visual arts and design matter and are essential in the twenty-first century.