The Inspired by British Art Show 9 learning programme has been developed to provide opportunities for young emerging artists to grow professional and artistic skills through a range of activities. Arts Connect have created paid placements and commissions giving university students, newly graduated artists and early career creatives ‘real world’ arts industry experience to support their future career pathways.

“It’s really important to us that the next generation of West Midlands arts practitioners have the experience and confidence to grow their professional and artistic skills” Becky Thompson, Learning Programme lead.

One area of the Inspired by BAS9 Learning Programme that embeds professional and artistic development opportunities is the Inspired by BAS9 Partner School Programme, through this strand 7 local young emerging artists have been partnered with artist mentors to plan and deliver contemporary performing art workshops with BAS9 inspired Partner Schools.

Natalie Haslam an emerging choreographer and workshop facilitator has worked with Flexus Dance Collective to build her skills and understanding of working with schools. Together they worked with students and staff from Aldersley High School to create a unique BAS9 inspired contemporary performance which was showcased at Arena Theatre in June 2021.

Natalie explained about her experience “The placement was incredible. I was able to gain practical experience by being involved in creative discussions prior to going into the school and by assisting the young people with different technical and creative exercises”

The placement gave me plenty of things to reflect on and develop in my practice, there are 3 key learnings that I will take away with me: the types of teaching strategies that are important and useful to use in educational settings; how to effectively structure a project so that the process is logical, progressive and leads to a high-quality, creative outcome; and, for my own work, how I can use visual art as a stimulus for creating choreography.

The entire experience has certainly supported both my professional and personal development. In particular, having a mentor was really valuable for my understanding of the areas that I could/can improve on. The opportunity and openness to ask questions and ask for feedback on how I approached certain tasks or situations was incredibly useful and will really help me as I seek to grow as a dance artist and facilitator. My confidence has soared and a lot of the anxieties I had about my own skills and abilities have been quietened – I can now be proud of who I am as an artist and the unique talents I have!

This project certainly doesn’t signal the end of my learning and development. I want to continue to gain experience and work in educational settings – especially given the visible positive impact that this project had on the young people involved and my own aim to inspire others through dance … watch this space!”


The Inspired by BAS9 learning programme will continue to develop in collaboration with local artists, teachers and young people. If you would like to find out more or see how you could be involved get in touch with Becky Thompson at