The Learning and Participation programme at Southbank Centre (meaning collectively The Royal Festival Hall, The Queen Elizabeth Hall, The Purcell Room, The Hayward Gallery and all of the connecting outdoor areas, gardens and foyer spaces between the London Eye and BFI Southbank) sees artists and communities coming together to create a new kind of arts organization. Founded on the history of the site as the location of the Festival of Britain and driven by a belief in the right for all to have access to the arts as part of the festivals presented throughout the year.
As a festival site, Southbank Centre is a public creative space offering free arts activities to all ages and abilities. Learning and Participation projects with a music focus are embedded in each of Southbank Centre’s cross arts festivals providing schools, adult learners, teachers, community groups, professional musicians and the general public opportunities to interact with artists and to learn, explore and engage more deeply with the programme through classical, jazz, world and popular music. Festivals specially designed to have a music focus also provide additional opportunities, for example the hugely successful The Rest is Noise Festival in 2013. Alongside the Festival programme the Education team works more closely with schools and community groups offering regular ongoing and sustained interaction all year round.
Ongoing long term projects and participation opportunities include regular teaching with the Javanese Gamelan, Voicelab singing opportunities and courses and In Harmony Lambeth, a local project inspired by the hugely successful Venezuelan El Sistema programme, primarily designed as a social programme which uses the pursuit of musical excellence as a way in which to enrich the lives of children, young people and their families. Additionally Southbank Centre resident orchestras and artists in residence offer musical learning and education opportunities throughout the year.