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Roundhouse to expand arts courses in bid to reach disaffected young people

Sir Ken Robinson to oversee scheme to teach 10,000 people a year

23 April, 2018 — By Dan Carrier

Sir Ken Robinson and Marcus Davey

THE Roundhouse announced yesterday (Wednesday) that it is ready to expand its arts courses in a bid to reach out to disaffected young people.

The iconic arts centre, in Chalk Farm Road, has appointed Sir Ken Robinson, the educationist and author, as an associate artistic director to help oversee the project. It plans to build new studios and offer courses in music, drama and broadcasting.

As many as 10,000 young people will be taught each year. Sir Ken said successive governments had failed to understand the unique benefits of the arts.

The Roundhouse could reinvigorate the debate at a time when the arts were being cut back from the curriculum in favour of subjects like maths and sciences, he added. “Administration after administration fails to see there needs to be a balance,” he said. “The priorities of the current system are misdirected. Why do arts not occupy the place they should in schools? Our schools are diminished by the conception of intelligence that is inherently suspicious of such skills.”

“The role of general education should not be to provide some kind of half-cocked vocational training for lives people may lead, but this permeates the system. The arts are sidelined. They say there is no point in learning an instrument if you are not going to become a musician, yet the benefits of the arts are self-evident.”

Marcus Davey, the venue’s chief executive, said: “At a time when creativity is disappearing from the curriculum and youth centres and spaces for young people are closing, we’re a safe space that all young people can call home.” The Roundhouse has long been seen as offering cutting-edge projects with an emphasis on tackling social exclusion.

Sir Torquil Norman poured his personal wealth into reopening the venue in 2006 as a concert space but also to provide training.

“It [the Roundhouse] is a place to give people opportunities and to be a catalyst for a wider conversation about the value of arts today,” said Sir Ken. “We want people to know it matters.”

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