Launching in September 2017, the Commission will investigate what happens when children experience arts and culture, and how this helps them develop and thrive.
The joint Commission will use the University’s extensive research expertise to ensure it is able to draw on international evidence and expertise to produce a report of academic rigour and independence.
An independent Chair will be appointed before launch, alongside a group of Commissioners from the worlds of academia, the cultural sector, business and the policy world. Professor Alan Houston, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Education) at Durham University, will be the academic lead and Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair of Arts Council England, will be among the Commissioners.
The Commission will seek evidence from a range of stakeholders and will produce a report in spring 2019 that will make recommendations addressing education policy and industrial strategy in England. The report will also focus on support for practitioners within the education and cultural sector.
Professor Stuart Corbridge, Vice-Chancellor of Durham University, said: “It is part of our core purpose at Durham University to help people realise their full potential, something which is at the heart of The Durham Commission in examining how best we can ensure all children have the opportunity to experience a creative and cultural education.
“We believe experience of the arts and culture is essential and, indeed, we play a vital role in artistic and cultural life, both in North East England and nationally. Nearly 290,000 people visit our attractions every year and our Learning Team works with over 21,000 school children in the community.
“We look forward to bringing our world-class research expertise to bear in this important Commission.”
Sir Nicholas Serota, Chair of Arts Council England, said: “There’s a broad consensus in society about the importance of nurturing creativity in our children. However, there remain questions about the most effective way to do that in our education system.
“In supporting The Durham Commission we hope it will generate new proposals for unlocking that creativity in the next generation. We must ensure every child can achieve their creative potential, whether that’s as an artist, scientist or an engineer. Our strength as a society and as a competitive economy depend on it.”