Getting a kick out of art – how KickstART inspires young learners

KickstART, an arts-inspired educational outreach programme, aims to make a long-term contribution and commitment to the development of vulnerable youth around Stellenbosch by exposing them to career opportunities in the arts and creative industries. Each year KickstART hosts an inspirational workshop for Grade 9 learners that aims to get more children to select art as a subject choice.

For six years Deloitte Stellenbosch, together with the Stellenbosch Outdoor Sculpture Trust (SOST), has been making a meaningful difference to the lives of learners in and around Stellenbosch through art. 

This year was no different. 

More than 100 learners from Stellenbosch schools participated in a one-day workshop hosted by KickstART at the Rupert Museum in September. 

“Our aim is to make an impact that matters, which is exactly what this workshop does time and time again by focusing on the four Cs of 21st-century education: Creativity, Critical Thinking, Communication and Collaboration. We add a fifth C, which is Curiosity,” says Michael van Wyk, Deloitte Partner in Stellenbosch, about KickstART. 

The participating schools this year were Kayamandi High School, Makapula High School, Cloetesville High School, Luckhoff Secondary School, Kylemore High School and Stellenzicht High School. 

“We ask the schools to select learners who are creative and curious; not necessarily those who are top academics or star sportsmen, but rather the outliers who push the bounda­ries. We hope that these learners are inspired to stay in school through a love for art and thereby positively influence their peers,” says Andi Norton, KickstART’s project manager.

She adds that the programme actively searches for creative youth in Stellenbosch high schools who are vulnerable to leaving school in Grade 10.   

“We see a big drop-out rate in Grade 10 at local under-resourced schools. This is partly due to children having to make subject choices in Grade 10 and if they don’t continue with science and maths-based subjects, many of them don’t think it is worth finishing school. We hope this year’s workshop inspired them to pursue careers in the creative industries, most of which they have never heard of before,” says Andi. 

Furthermore, Andi explains that art is being dropped as a subject at many schools due to lack of resources and qualified teachers. This increases the risk that learners will have no exposure to any kind of creativity at school and takes away a very important form of therapy for troubled learners.

This is why this year’s event explored the relationship between healing and art. The first workshop, facilitated by Margaret Laubser and Lionel Chanarin from the Living Arts Foundation, focused on movement and colour, while the second part of the programme was a mindfulness workshop facilitated by Jean Degenaar, who recently trained in the UK.

“We also had a presentation on career options in the creative industries, with lots of visuals and case studies to inspire the kids,” says Andi. 

Previous workshops have included land art, photography, sculpture, sketching, storyboarding for the film industry, app design and public art, along with basic business skills. 

Each year a number of the most promising learners are selected from the workshop to receive the prestigious Deloitte KickstART bursaries, which allow them to receive full tuition to attend PJ Olivier Art School until they matriculate. The bursaries also include private transport, all materials and a personal mentor selected to match their needs, as well as career counselling and guidance. 

“The talent from this year’s workshop was phenomenal. We hope to continue to be part of the learners’ creative journey. The KickstART strapline is ‘Hope through art and design’ and this is what we strive to give these young people by the time they leave,” says Andi. 

Michael says every project that Deloitte Stellenbosch supports must be sustainable.

“I am very proud of the learners we have been able to support through the KickstART programme, which has impacted 19 learners since 2013,” concludes Michael. 

To learn more about the Deloitte and SOST KickstART initiative, visit their website. 

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