Liverpool’s eggs-traordinary Eurovision schools programme gets cracking
EGGS, brass bands, and folktales are just a few of the ways that the region’s schools will be invited to celebrate Eurovision as Liverpool prepares to host the iconic song contest.
Following the announcement of EuroFest – a two-week cultural festival that will run alongside the competition – Liverpool’s education programme, EuroLearn is now getting under way and will offer youngsters from early years to secondary schools a chance to be inspired by Eurovision.
EuroLearn is being made possible through generous funding from The National Lottery Heritage Fund with additional funds from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport and the government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund. Funding from Spirit of 2012 will also support EuroLearn as well as the future evaluation of Eurovision’s benefit to the city region.
Led by Liverpool City Council’s Culture Liverpool team, alongside a wide range of creative partners, this is the first time a host city has offered an engagement programme of this scale and was an integral part of the successful bid to host the song contest on behalf of Ukraine.
EuroLearn has three main strands – music, visual arts and storytelling – and schools across the city region will be supplied with resource packs which they can use to bring Eurovision into the classroom.
Resonate, Liverpool’s music education hub, is co-ordinating the music strand with highlights including:
100 Voices – A secondary school mass collaborative choir alongside the Ukrainian Children’s Choir
EuroBrass! – A Eurovision and brass band soundclash by Mersey Youth Brass
An emerging singer-songwriter festival for schools in June
Sanctuary and Unity Through Song – Project for children and young people with special educational needs supported by Liverpool Hope University
Performances by the Liverpool Signing Choir.
The visual arts strand takes its inspiration from the tradition of egg painting, known as Pysanka in Ukraine, with an online artist-developed resource pack made available via the Culture Liverpool website to allow not only schools but people of any age to get involved.
Working with Liverpool ONE, artists have also been commissioned to work with schools across the city region to decorate giant eggs that will feature as a public art display in Liverpool ONE from 31 March. Each local authority will select schools to decorate an egg with a seventh egg being decorated by members of the Ukrainian community.
The Liverpool Learning Partnership will co-ordinate the storytelling strand by focusing on the folk tales of Eurovision countries, and there will also be a “twinning” of Liverpool Central Library with Odesa National Scientific Library.
Mayor of Liverpool Joanne Anderson said: “Making sure that the whole of Liverpool and the wider region can get involved in Eurovision is very important to us.
“EuroLearn is about Culture Liverpool supporting our youngest citizens to join in the fun in a meaningful way and to embrace the Eurovision family of countries and we are very grateful to our funders The National Lottery Heritage Fund, DCMS, Spirit of 2012, and the government’s UK Shared Prosperity Fund for supporting us.
“As always, partners have jumped at the chance to be involved in what could be a once-in-a-lifetime event and we’ve been overwhelmed but not surprised by the ideas and passion which have emerged so that we can do Liverpool and, above all, Ukraine proud.”
Eilish McGuinness, chief executive at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “Liverpool is a city steeped in heritage and renowned for its impact on the musical world, so it is incredibly exciting that it is playing host to one of the biggest global music events – Eurovision. We are delighted that thanks to money raised by National Lottery players, we are supporting the EuroLearn programme.
“EuroLearn is already shaping up to be an outstanding programme bringing together children and young people across the city region to connect with and share, not only the rich heritage of Eurovision and their home city, but also the significant cultures and traditions of Ukraine.”
Eurovision Minister Stuart Andrew said: “EuroLearn will help bring Eurovision to life for a generation of schoolchildren in Liverpool giving them a fantastic opportunity to involved in what is a hugely exciting time for this great city. Arts and culture has a wonderful power to bring people together and EuroLearn and EuroStreets will use music, storytelling and the visual arts to do just that, as well as creating bonds between young people from Ukraine with those on Merseyside.”
Ruth Hollis, chief executive, Spirit of 2012, said: “We’re delighted to support this exciting programme for Liverpool schools. Eurovision holds a very special place in our hearts and this once-in-a-lifetime event for Liverpool is a fantastic opportunity to engage and involve the city’s young people, igniting and nurturing their interest in music and the arts as well as using this year’s unique link to Ukraine, to build connections and shared understanding.”
Jonathan Dickson, head of service for Resonate, Liverpool’s music education hub, said: “Liverpool schools are so excited about Eurovision and we are delighted to be collaborating with so many music and arts organisations to bring the energy of the festival right into the classroom.
“Resonate is working with young people from across the city region to form choirs, brass bands and discover new song writing talent as part of our schools programme, bringing a message of hope, togetherness and celebration.”
Allan Tyson, of the Unusual Art Sourcing Company, who have developed the EuroLearn egg painting resource pack, said: “The Unusual Art Sourcing Company is honoured to have been involved in creating the Eurovision visual art education pack.
“It will hopefully give the children and young people of Liverpool a greater understanding of the culture and traditions of Ukraine, particularly at this poignant time in the country’s history.”
Elaine Rees, CEO of the Liverpool Learning Partnership commented: “We are delighted to co-ordinate the storytelling strand with our partners in the city. As an organisation we are well known for Reading for Pleasure and the schools in the city love to explore books and stories.
“Last year’s winning entry to the Eurovision Song Contest drew on aspects of the Ukraine’s cultural heritage and folklore. The EuroLearn storytelling strand will support pupils in exploring the folktales of Ukraine and other Eurovision countries, focusing on the themes of belonging, unity and hope.”
Donna Howitt, Place Strategy Director at Liverpool ONE, said: “There’s already an incredible buzz across the Liverpool City Region as we count down to Eurovision, so we’re thrilled to be hosting the Ukrainian Eggs display created by local artists working with local schoolchildren and Ukrainian refugees. “Communities and culture are at the heart of what we do at Liverpool ONE and showcasing the talents and artistic skills in the region will not only form a key part of the city’s offering during Eurovision, but also encourage our visitors to get involved in the excitement of the occasion and connect with Ukrainian culture.”