Thomson, Pat, Hall, Christine and Russell, Lisa (2006) An arts project failed, censored or … ? A critical incident approach to artist–school partnerships. Changing English, 13 (1). pp. 29-44. ISSN 1358-684X

When a successful primary school engaged a writer to work with children on an arts project, the teachers and the writer thought that the result would be a lively, publishable product. When the writer worked with the children, he thought that he should use the children's experiences and ideas as a basis for meaningful and engaged composition. However, the result was a text which the head-teacher and her staff felt was inappropriate. They were concerned that it could bring disapproval from parents and possible adverse publicity. The head refused to publish but continues to worry about this decision. The writer describes the project as censored. In this paper, we suggest that this critical incident raises important questions about the nature of 'partnership' between artists and schools and the role of the flagship Creative Partnerships policy and programme. We suggest some possibilities for dealing with such situations in future and argue that Creative Partnerships must do more to promote dialogue about the critical role of the arts and artists in society.

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