• Burberry Inspire, the first in school arts and culture project of its kind, brought together renowned organisations American Ballet Theatre, Northern Ballet, Reel Works, Leeds Young Film, Studio in a School NYC, The Hepworth Wakefield and Leeds Playhouse with local school students from Yorkshire, UK and New York City to create virtual dance, sculpture and digital media artwork with support from the Creative Arts Team, part of the City University of New York, and The Ideas Foundation. 
  • The first ever collaboration between American Ballet Theatre and Northern Ballet came as school students worked with the dance artists, resulting in four dance films performed by professional dancers, filmed in part in NYC and the Hepworth Wakefield.
  • Burberry Inspire is one of the first programmes which aim to give young people deep and varied experience of arts and culture while studying the impact on their development, starting in Yorkshire in 2018 and expanding to New York City in 2020.
As education programmes were impacted and schools were interrupted by the global COVID-19 pandemic, a transatlantic, multidisciplinary artistic collaboration was born. The artistic partners of in-school arts education programme Burberry Inspire turned to virtual learning and creative prompts online to continue their lessons, resulting in some world first collaborations from renowned artists, directly inspired by their students.

In a first-ever collaboration for American Ballet Theatre and Northern Ballet, the choreography direction from the students inspired four dance films performed by the companies’ dancers. The pieces were overseen by Northern Ballet’s Artistic Director of Digital and Choreographer in Residence, Kenneth Tindall, and filmed, in part, at The Hepworth Wakefield, as well as amongst iconic landmarks in New York City. American Ballet Theatre and Northern Ballet worked with students, enhancing their communication, leadership, creative-thinking, and problem-solving skills. Students worked with dance artists to explore works and imagery that inspires them, as well as devising their own choreography.

Reel Works, an organisation dedicated to inspiring and empowering underrepresented students through filmmaking, connected students with Teaching Artists online to create original documentaries, narratives and animated films to share their stories with their schools and communities. Using a variety of prompts, the organisation has allowed students to safely explore, document, and make meaning of the world around them. The team has also been collaborating with Leeds Young Film on ideas and ways to engage students.

Studio in a School NYC and The Hepworth Wakefield have begun sharing each other’s artmaking prompts and video lessons with their students, a partnership that will now be continued in the coming months. To stay connected to students during the pandemic, Studio in a School NYC, aiming to enrich young lives through visual arts, launched ‘Studio in Your Home’, a family-friendly platform for creating art with materials found at home. They created a robust body of distance learning curricula, including instructional videos, illustrated lesson plans, and family artmaking guides, put into practice with nearly 100 partner schools.

Leeds Playhouse continues to deliver their creative programme to partner schools in Leeds and is working collaboratively with the CUNY Creative Arts Team, which harnesses theatre to impact social change, on a number of exciting projects for the next academic year.

The Burberry Foundation first launched Burberry Inspire in 2018 in Yorkshire, UK. More than 5,500 young people have benefitted from experiences of the creative arts to date across both countries, ranging from dance and theatre to filmmaking and sculpture. In New York, the Creative Arts Team at the City University of New York is supporting the arts partners in coordinating programs across six schools while facilitating professional development workshops for all partners to share best practices and knowledge on arts education.

Burberry Inspire measures how deep experience of the arts can have a positive effect on young people’s lives by connecting eminent arts organisations with schools. The Office of Research, Evaluation, and Program Support (REPS) of the City University of New York will measure the impact of Burberry Inspire in New York, while the Policy Institute at King’s College London will study the impact of the immersive arts and creative education programme on the students’
development in Yorkshire.

The partners from across Yorkshire and New York will showcase students’ work in a virtual cultural runway later this year.
"Leeds Young Film gives thousands of young people and families the opportunity to engage with film in a wide variety of ways. Most recently this has been through a virtual engagement with a new toolkit for students to use at home and connect with each other during lockdown, which will continue to inspire young people to develop their skills, learn about arts and culture and create their own content. As part of Leeds City Council, we are committed to delivering these key priorities and the Virtual Guerrilla Filmmakers Guide allows us to do just that. We are thrilled to be a part of Burberry Inspire and the collaboration we’ve developed with all of the partners including Reel Works has enabled us to continue to enrich our offer and reach an even wider audience."
Debbie Maturi, Leeds Young Film Manager