Photo: Gavin Joynt

Bones, Bodies and Beats is an exciting new creative learning project for local primary schools in and around East Leeds. It has been developed by Thackray Medical Museum in partnership with Balbir Singh Dance Company.

Bones, Bodies and Beats offers a unique opportunity for schools to be part of a two year programme of creative workshops, events and performances that will bring to life the science of nutrition, bone health and wellbeing through movement-based work inspired by the Thackray’s fascinating collection.

With inclusivity at its heart, the project creates opportunities for children from diverse backgrounds and with a wide range of learning styles and needs, to engage creatively with Key Stage 2 Science material focusing on:

  • the digestive system
  • skeletons and muscles
  • healthy lifestyles
  • a balanced diet

Bones, Bodies and Beats will put local schools at the centre of the process, ensuring workshops complement and reinforce the effective work schools are already doing around these topics.

How the project has come about

Bones, Bodies and Beats has come out of an innovative collaboration between Balbir Singh Dance Company (BSDC) and the Thackray Medical Museum. As part of the museum’s ongoing programme of community engagement, BSDC performed its Taste of Love and Spice to a community audience at the museum in December 2018. This led to further discussions of how the museum can use creative arts to reach out to the local community, especially young people. BSDC’s long standing commitment to creative education work was seen as a strong starting point, and the idea for a project involving local schools emerged. This document represents the first discussion of what the project will offer, and is designed to reach out to schools in East Leeds with which the project seeks to engage.

What will the project do?

Bones, Bodies and Beats will bring together primary schools from East Leeds in a two-year programme of creative movement-based workshops and learning built around an exploration of the Thackray’s award-winning collection.

A series of workshops, led by BSDC’s dance education workers, will see children exploring themes such as health and wellbeing, nutrition, bone health and healthy eating. As the children explore the themes, they will create dance-based interpretations that will gradually build into small dance theatre presentations to be performed in an end-of-project celebratory event at the museum itself.

For children whose first language is not English or whose learning styles are kinaesthetic, the approach will offer a new way into learning through creative movement.

And the physical nature of the workshops ensures that the benefits of an active lifestyle are not just discussed, but are experienced directly as an integral part of the project.

Learning from the project

At the heart of the project is a belief in the value of a creative approach to learning. It is intended that participation in the project will offer schools an opportunity to improve the evidence base for this kind of work.

We want to explore:

  • a movement-based approach to teaching Science to primary school children
  • how dance and movement can work alongside the national curriculum to support classroom-based learning
  • its potential to enhance children’s soft skills around wellbeing and healthy living
  • developing staff knowledge, confidence and skills in delivering arts-based learning activities
Find out more

If you would like to find out more about how your school can be involved in Bones, Bodies and Beats please get in touch: alphie.bsdc@gmail.com