Leicester

Babies needed for 25-year Leicestershire arts project

Babies playing Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The Arts Council wants to study how the arts can benefit children

A new project is looking to follow 300 babies over 25 years to see how they influence and interact with the arts.

Researchers will explore what happens when families are given more opportunities in creative activities.

The De Montfort University and Arts Council collaboration will study children born in the Leicester area.

Artist Jonjo Elliott, from Kibworth, who is leading the research project, said children's engagement with art was "massively important".

"The whole idea is to work with kids from a very early age," he said.

"We're going to give them opportunities with arts and culture so they can experience, have a go at stuff, get involved, and then we're going to follow them for 25 years."

Image caption Free art classes are being put on across Leicester

Mr Elliott said it was an important time to get families more engaged when creative subjects were being squeezed in schools.

"Arts classes get cut all the time," he said.

"Imagine England with no creativity in the last 60 years? No [David] Bowie, no Tate Modern, The Beatles.

"All those creative processes that bring [the arts] to life. That's what we need to instil in kids at a young age."

Image caption Darren Henley, from the Arts Council, said art could be "life-changing" for children

Darren Henley, from the Arts Council, said art could be "life-changing" for children.

He said: "We're very keen to understand from the very moment a child is born, right through the first 25 years of their lives, how involvement in art can really benefit their development."

Free Saturday morning arts clubs, run by professional artists, for children have been set up in Beaumont Leys, St Matthews, Fosse Ward and Thurnby Lodge.

Those wanting to get involved in the Talent25 research project are being encouraged to sign up through the De Montfort University website.

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