Creative Collaboration: Make Art Not War

,  5 November 2018

Make Art Not War is a new project by 14-18 NOW and artist Bob and Roberta Smith OBE RA. We spoke to Creative & Cultural Skills Programme Director Rob West about the opportunities the project offers to creative students, their colleges and their communities.

“Creative skills are fundamental for all of our lives
“Creative skills are fundamental for all of our lives"

14-18 NOW is a five year programme of extraordinary arts experiences connecting people with the First World War, as part of the UK’s official centenary commemorations.

Rob says, “We were first approached by 14-18 NOW about a potential partnership when they were in the research and development phase of a major programme. It would involve key household names, be focussed on the 16+ age group and was rooted first and foremost in creative learning opportunity.

“Their idea was to take their experience of commissioning artists over the last four years and use it as a platform for engaging young people (16-25) in creative propositions. This felt a good fit for Creative & Cultural Skills as we believe true economic growth in our sector can only really happen with access to the right talent and skills, regardless of background or previous educational achievement.”

Make Art Not War

Make Art Not War invites students across the UK to respond to the provocation “What does peace mean to you?” 1,000 students from the 11 leadership further education colleges in the National Skills Academy will work with an artist mentor engaged by Creative & Cultural Skills.

“We believe that our future economy will be built on creativity, which is also essential to addressing societal challenges,” said Rob, “The future of work will increasingly rely on those who have creative and technical skills, and this programme hopes to make a positive contribution towards this.”

We believe that our future economy will be built on creativity, which is also essential to addressing societal challenges.

There is much to be gained from the experience of being involved in Make Art Not War.

“Students will be engaging in creative skills workshop sessions with an artist mentor who we have assigned to each leader college. They have the chance to work to a live brief, and they have an opportunity to showcase at both the Creative & Cultural Skills and 14-18 NOW National Conferences in Spring 2019.”

Opportunities for colleges

The programme offers brand new curriculum resources designed specifically for assessment within A Level English, Art & Design and Geography. Targeted curriculum materials are designed for inclusion in UAL Awarding Body Diplomas, A Levels and the Extended Project Qualification, enabling over 50,000 students as the programme unfolds.

Working together can be inspiring for often isolated staff and colleges

Rob says “Tutors, and the wider college community, will gain an opportunity to amplify existing course material via a live brief and artist mentor intervention. There is also the potential connection to mentor artists for longer term engagement, and opportunities for our colleges to enhance their profile, creative skills commentary and advocacy.

“We have already run a briefing day workshop for tutors at the Imperial War Museum in London (led by Barking & Dagenham College) that showed how working together can be inspiring for often isolated staff and colleges.”


“We are involving a wide range of artists. From the more well-known such as Bob & Roberta Smith, to emerging artists such as Yinka Danmole; and young students who are taking their first steps towards a creative career.

“Creative skills are fundamental for all of our lives, and therefore being involved in these kinds of projects, whatever your level of experience and ability, offers opportunities to stimulate and learn from each other.”

Check out the website to find out more about the programme, and if you are interested in finding out more about the work of our National Skills Academy network visit the network homepage.

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