Contemporary Art in the Classroom (CAIC) Edition Four
With Ikon
Autumn 2024 – Summer 2025

A Continuing Professional Development and Learning (CPDL) programme for art teachers working in Black Country and Telford Secondary Schools and Colleges.

  • Would you like to be part of a network of art teachers creating and testing new curriculum models inspired by contemporary art?
  • Do you want to be part of a learning cohort that will enhance your professional practice and love of art?
  • Are you excited to explore an exhibition that talks about universal themes of friendship, working together and conflict resolution?

We are looking to recruit 10 secondary art teachers to work with us on the fourth edition of our influential Contemporary Art in the Classroom programme. This will be a collaboration with Ikon, inspired by their new exhibition Friends in Love and War / L’Éloge des meilleur·es ennemi·es.

CAIC – making a difference to teachers like you

”Engaging with Arts Connect CPD rather than being isolated in my classroom encourages me and adds enthusiasm to my teaching, which in turn motivates students.

Engaging with contemporary art broadens and diversifies our curriculum and expands students’ cultural capital.”

Contemporary Art in the Classroom (CAIC) Alumni, Art Teacher and Department Lead, Thea Brown

Hannah Willetts – Head of Art 

Read the blog of CAIC Alumni and Secondary Art Teacher, Hannah Willetts and find out the difference our programme made to her practice and the very real impact it had on her students.

In taking part in CAIC you will: 


  • Grow your understanding of contemporary art.
  • Be introduced to new artists and art techniques.
  • Enhance your reflective learning practices.
  • Build your confidence to approach challenging topics and take a risks in the classroom.
  • Deepen and expand the diversity of your art curriculum.


Through the programme you will design and trial activities and resources with students and share your learning and outcomes with a network of like-minded and supportive colleagues.

What the programme involves - timetable of activity

  • Thursday 10 October. 11am-5pm at Ikon Gallery: Programme introduction, guided exhibition tour, curatorial discussion, practical workshop and artist educator led session around approaching friendship, relationships, conflict and real-world issues in the classroom. This will include time for reflection and planning for in-school activity.
  • November-January (half day). You will bring a group of students to Ikon Gallery for an exhibition tour and practical artist workshop. This will be co-ordinated around school and gallery availability.
  • Thursday 13 February (twilight). Cohort sharing and reflection session – online
  • Wednesday 9 April (twilight). Cohort sharing and reflection session – online
  • June TBC. Public digital showcase of each school’s project.
  • Friday 11 July.12.30-3.30pm at Ikon Gallery. Group reflection and sharing session followed by a guided tour of Ikon’s summer exhibition.
  • TBC. We will discuss the potential for an exhibition of student’s artwork as a group towards the end of the CPD programme.

What we need you and your school to commit to

  • Attend and contribute to all programme sessions.
  • Design and run in-school activities and/or develop resources inspired by Friends in Love and War / L’Éloge des meilleur·es ennemi·es. This could be though a new scheme of work or activity with an art club for instance.
  • Reflect on and share your learning with the teacher group and wider teacher network.
  • Support the evaluation of the programme.
  • Gain the support of SLT to sign a partnership agreement that secure and protects your time on the programme.

How much does this cost?

The programme is offered for free to participating schools through financial support from Arts Connect, Arts Council England, the University of Wolverhampton and in-kind support from Ikon. The cost of the programme if we were to charge is £1,550 per teacher.

We ask that schools meet the costs of travel for teachers and students to Ikon Gallery.

Find out more and apply

We are running an online briefing session where Becky Thompson, Education Producer and programme leader will tell you more about CAIC and answer any questions you have.

Online information and Q&A session Wednesday 12th June 3.45-4.30pm.

Please register for the session in advance here.

Deadline for expressions of interest

If you would like to express your interest in joining the Contemporary Art in the Classroom Art Teacher CPDL programme please email Becky. She will send you a short form that needs to be returned by Friday 28th June. We will use the information you send us to help us to decide on who will offer a place to in the event we receive more interest than places available.

History of CAIC and its impact  

Find out more about the previous editions of CAIC and research into the CPDL work of Arts Connect and the impact that it has made for teachers and students.

About Friends in Love and War / L’Éloge des meilleur·es ennemi·es exhibition at Ikon Gallery

The exhibition features the work of over twenty artists from the British Council Collection and macLYON that explore the theme of friendship.  Friendship is based on mutual trust and affection, friendships are among our most valued relationships. Friends share life experiences, broaden horizons and build collective futures – yet the nature of friendship is difficult to define. Taking place in the partner cities of Lyon and Birmingham, this exhibition also looks at diplomatic friendships, and how regional capitals and cultural institutions can create new ways of living and working together in a post-Brexit climate. It includes painting, drawing, photography, printmaking, film, sculpture and installation, with existing and new work by artists with longstanding connections to each city.  The exhibition will show from 2nd October 2024 to 23rd February 2025.

Find out more about the exhibition and exhibiting artists here. 


For accessibility information for Ikon Gallery go here. 

To complete our Access Survey and let us know about your requirements please go here. 

For questions or further information around accessibility, please contact Felicity.

Image Credit 

Rachel Maclean, The Lion and The Unicorn (2012)
Single channel HD video, colour and sound. 11 minutes 30 seconds
© Rachel Maclean, 2012, commissioned by The Edinburgh
Courtesy of British Council Collection