We believe that everyone is creative and we celebrate the creativity of everyone.

Our award-winning Learning programmes are inspired by the person-centred Reggio Emilia approach, meeting people where they are in order to ensure that everyone has access to culture and creativity. We run extensive public, schools and community projects throughout the year with many opportunities to get involved.
Two children using paint brushes to pick up paints.

Public Programmes

Free activities

We run Family Gallery Workshops relating directly to our exhibitions on Saturdays in the Salmon Gallery. These workshops have a limited capacity so please book early to reserve your space on our What’s On page. We run free drop-in Sunday Sessions which provide participatory and creative opportunities for all ages in our café. Come to see our exhibitions, get hands-on and enjoy lunch in our Café on Sundays from 12pm – 4pm.

Creative Courses

Bring your passion to life by joining an artist-led Creative Course at Attenborough Arts Centre. Our local artist tutors teach a range of art skills, techniques and subjects including painting, life drawing, pottery, ceramics, sculpture, art history, singing, music performance, dance and poetry. There’s something for everyone, from experienced maker to new beginner. Our Adventures In Art is a regular drop-in session each Tuesday from 10am – 12pm exploring a different creative theme each week.

See the full range on our Creative Courses page.

Next Gen. Creatives

Aged 16-25? Attenborough Arts Centre’s Next Gen. Creatives invites young people to shape our artistic programme, empowering them to become the next generation of artists, curators, performers and creative professionals. The name, chosen by the participants, is inspired by the slogan: ‘we are the next generation dreamers’. By joining Next Gen. Creatives, young people in Leicester have the opportunity to network with professional artists and practitioners, gain valuable life skills and learn about the various employment pathways open to them in the arts and creative sector. In recent years the group has delivered their own workshops, curated their own exhibitions, met internationally renowned artists and taken part in artist-led workshops.

If you are interested in hearing more or wish to join, please contact nextgen@leicester.ac.uk

SENsory Atelier and Inclusive Youth Arts Programme

We specialise in tailoring access for disabled children and young people with special educational needs (SEND), both in school through our SENsory Atelier programme, and out of school through our Inclusive Youth Arts programme.

SENsory Atelier

SENsory Atelier partners with 9 SEND schools in Leicestershire, collaborating with children and young people, artists, and educators to pioneer new ways of learning and communicating. SENsory Atelier gives space for children to lead their learning journeys, express themselves and access the world. It supports teachers without specialist arts subject or cultural education expertise, to enable children to lead the direction of enquiry, and reframe our understanding of how they learn. This collaborative approach shifts the schools’ reliance on external peripatetic staff, to giving teachers confidence and capacity to devise creative programmes informed by children themselves.

The programme is inspired by the Reggio Emilia approach which explores ways to cultivate imagination and children’s sense of the possible. It’s a child-centred approach with a co-created model of delivery and development with artists and educators. Together we want to create our own teaching and learning pedagogy that is relevant to us all. The programme is funded by Paul Hamlyn Foundation until October 2024.

Click here for the SENsory Atelier website, which provides further information, case studies and contact information.

Atelier Labs

Atelier Labs is a new subsidiary programme of SENsory Atelier which sees collaboration between artists, chemists, teachers and young people attending formal SEND school settings to explore the world and develop their interest and learning in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts & Maths (STEAM) subjects beyond GCSE level. The programme aims to develop enquiries around how creativity can be used to unlock skills for wider learning across 9 special schools in Leicestershire and to provide a platform to those who are often not heard or represented, enabling stories to be told and learning to be self-directed.

More information on the pilot Atelier Labs project can be found here

In November 2023, SENsory Atelier Programme Manager Bob Christer spent a week in Berlin representing the Atelier Labs programme as a selected winner in the Science Engagement category as part of the international Falling Walls Engage Awards. To learn more visit our news page and watch Bob’s presentation on the video.

Inclusive Youth Arts Programme

We provide much-needed opportunities for children and young people with complex needs and disabilities to be creative outside of school, promoting their wellbeing and enjoyment of being with others. Our participants have a range of disabilities which without additional support, make it difficult for them to participate in culture and creativity, including but not limited to PMLD (Profound and Multiple Learning Difficulties), Autism, ADHD (Attention Deficiency Hyperactive Disorder), Auditory, speech and visual impairments, Down’s Syndrome and Global Developmental Delay.

All our workshops and performances are free to children and young people aged 0 – 18 years old* with complex disabilities and needs from Leicester and Leicestershire which take place at weekends and during school holidays.

*All children and young people need to be escorted by an adult parent or carer.

Tailored to the individual needs of our participants, our workshops are limited to small groups and are run by skilled professional artists experienced working with disabled children and young people.

We also host performances designed for SEND children and young people, in particular immersive theatre by companies including Frozen Light, Oily Cart and Bamboozle.

Our building is designed to be welcoming and accessible for a range of needs, and our staff are trained to be understanding and supportive. We have disabled parking bays and a Changing Places facility.

To register on the programme and gain access to our events, please contact Pasha Kincaid our Youth Programmes Coordinator (Maternity Cover) on pasha.kincaid@leicester.ac.uk or our Front of House team on 0116 252 2455 or email arts-centre@leicester.ac.uk

Schools’ Programmes

Nurture Network: Training and Joint Practice Development for Teachers and Artists

Through our Nurture Network, we offer continuing Professional Development platforms to our network of artists and teachers, with talks by leading practitioners every two months. We provide training and Joint Practice Development sessions for staff and key workers in schools, exploring neurodivergent affirmative practice, arts and creativity embedding, and to help them integrate Arts Award and Artsmark into their planning and assessments.

For more information about how your school can be involved, please contact: arts-learning@leicester.ac.uk

We work with primary and secondary schools across Leicester and Leicestershire to deliver Artsmark and Arts Award.

As an Artsmark Partner Organisation, we support schools to develop and celebrate their commitment to arts and cultural education. We are also an accredited Arts Award centre and deliver all five levels of Arts Award. We provide schools with access to artists and facilitators and bring schools groups to visit our exhibitions and performance programmes and host visits to the University of Leicester.

Previous Programmes

Linking Schools Network

We worked in partnership with St Philip’s Centre in Leicester to connect children from different schools in Leicestershire with each other through culture.

Arts Backpack

Attenborough Cultural Communities

Living Well with Parkinsons

Our Team

Marianne Pape, Learning and Outreach Manager

Leads the Learning and Outreach programme and team. Collaborates with all areas of our public programme, particularly on resource development for exhibitions; festival outreach and supports creative health and wellbeing programmes with the School of Medicine.

Bob Christer, SENsory Atelier Programme Manager

Leading the Paul Hamlyn Funded SENsory Atelier programme in 9 Leicestershire Special Schools.

Hannah Pillai, Youth Programme Coordinator

Leading the Inclusive Youth Arts Programme and NextGen. Creatives projects with young people.

Pasha Kincaid, Youth Programmes Coordinator (Maternity Cover)

Leading the Inclusive Youth Arts Programme and NextGen. Creatives projects with young people.