A PROJECT that encourages young people to explore their own interests to shape their learning has received national recognition.

What if…?, devised by Greenfield Arts and Durham University, won the Engaging Young People category at the National Co-ordination Centre for Public Engagement Awards in London last week.

The project combined science and the arts to encourage youngsters at Greenfield Community College in Newton Aycliffe to be curious about the world around them.

Loading article content

It saw members of the school’s Science Technology English and Maths Club work with researchers from Durham University and theatre makers from the Newcastle-based Unfolding Theatre.

They were challenged to develop and direct an interactive performance aimed at engaging and inspiring their peers.

So far, the play has reached more than 2,000 people, thanks to performances in school and at theatre festivals, including Darlington’s Jabberwocky Market.

When judging the project, the panel said: “We loved the way that the children led the project. They weren’t treated as empty vessels – it was their curiosity that drove the project and opened up the world of research.”

Katy Milne, director of arts and creativity at Greenfield Arts, said: “This is a fantastic achievement for this successful project.

“It is great to see the hard work of all of those involved recognised in this way, especially the young people as the project was completely led by their curiosity.

“The power of the ongoing partnerships involved in the project created a safe nurturing environment for this to flourish and again combined the strength of the arts and sciences effectively to inspire curiosity in others.

“Well done to all.”