ArtScapers: being and becoming creative

By Paula Ayliffe, Ruth Sapsed, Esther Sayers and David Whitley
With Susanne Jasilek, Filipa Pereira-Stubbs, Caroline Wendling and the children and community of Mayfield Primary School, Cambridge.

This extensively illustrated book is an account of the impact of the ArtScapers programme on the community linked to Mayfield Primary School. You can see more about the programme and its creation here. The book includes a foreword from Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition movement and author of From What is to What If. 

In the midst of lockdown my spirits are lifted, every day, by the beauty of nature.  But I’m so aware that not everyone has the privilege of being close to it.  And that many children have watched this glorious spring unfold through a window, or on snatched visits outside.  Yet given a chance, contact with nature awakes in us all an immense creativity, enriching our lives, calming our minds and enabling all kinds of possibilities.  Artscapers – an inspiring account of the Art-in-Education programme run in Cambridge – shows just what can be done.  Children, artists, teachers and creative leaders tell of an astonishing variety of activities that brought children, art and nature together.  While no-one knew where it would lead, the creative energy, curiosity and imagination it unleashed was, frankly, astounding. Now imagine all children, everywhere, given such a chance … how could we resist the simple message?  Nature is good for you, and nature with art is even better.  If we do nothing else after the coronavirus crisis, let’s make every child, everywhere, an ArtScaper.
Dame Fiona Reynolds, Master, Emmanuel College and former Director General of the National Trust

This publication was made possible with the generous support of the Art Fund, the national fundraising charity for art.

  • In these pages you will find something glorious, splendid and deeply familiar blinking awake, but for too long marginalised and forgotten. Don’t avoid its gaze, rather allow yourself to fall in love with it, to trust what you discover and allow yourself to be transported by it. This is a precious gift, and I am deeply grateful for it.

    Rob Hopkins, founder of Transition

  • Artscapers: Being and Becoming Creative is not just pleasurable to read, it also serves an important function. It will act as an encouragement and inspiration to thousands of others in the English School system, including the many school leaders and teachers who currently feel lonelier that they should, following the unimaginative turn in education policy and unnecessary privations of austerity in recent years. It will act as a vital resource for their own boldness and practice.

    Melissa Benn, writer and journalist

  • An inspiring story, beautifully told –– of how children are wondernauts; of how art and making can change minds and lift hearts; of how using the outdoors as a classroom can transform learning, and bring joy and hope. It's a chronicle of the ongoing, unfurling adventures of the imagination in one place, with one group, which ripples outwards in powerful ways.

    Rob Macfarlane, writer and CCI Patron

ArtScapers: being and becoming creative