My Week

Deborah Kermode, director, Bright Space

Deborah Kermode
Deborah Kermode

Monday: I have a meeting with the Geese Theatre Company, which specialises in working with pupil referral units. Although the bulk of our work is about delivering the Government's Creative Partnerships programme to 120 schools, we also work with young people in more challenging situations.

The office is full of members of our youth panel - our initiative to give young people a say in decisions that affect them in their schools and the wider community. They are producing the regional version of the Artsmark Award Ceremony - the national award scheme managed by Arts Council England that recognises schools with a high level of provision in the arts. The room is full of nerves as the teenagers finalise the details. Meanwhile, staff are reviewing children's poetry submitted as part of a competition we have organised with writer and poet Benjamin Zephaniah.

Tuesday: All hands are on deck for our teacher training at Birmingham Repertory Theatre. We've invited the local Stan's Cafe Theatre Company to devise a workshop that challenges the notion of creativity. My group is given the task of recreating a scene from a disaster movie and, by the end of the task, teachers are crawling along the corridors and collapsing in heaps of laughter. Later, I head off to the final-year degree shows at Birmingham City University to scout for new talent.

Wednesday: A full day of school visits to review end-of-year projects with children and staff. At a school in Handsworth, a child shows me some eggs that are incubating in his classroom and I am persuaded to take a couple of chicks home when they hatch. I'm hoping they'll eat the slugs in my garden.

Thursday: I head to London for the first meeting with the Creativity, Culture & Education team, the new government organisation that oversees the Creative Partnerships programme. In the evening I go to see Kursk by playwright Bryony Lavery. The play, based on the tragic story of Soviet submariners, is superb. In relative darkness, we inhabit the entire theatre space almost face to face with the cast, sharing the intense feelings of confinement. Fingers crossed it tours to this part of the country.

Friday: In the morning I write copy for an advert for new board members and for material to publicise the Ignite Programme, a training scheme for arts specialists from black and minority ethnic backgrounds. Because we are based in Birmingham, it's important that our workforce fully represents the community we serve. Later I'm at the Ikon Gallery discussing a drawing installation in a local nursery with artist Jurgen Partenheimer. As the conversation drifts into the early evening, ideas surface over a glass of wine and some tapas at Ikon's cafe - a great way to end the week.

- Bright Space is an arts education charity based in Birmingham

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