Thank you for your interest in this role.

In this pack you will find:

  • Information about the Grow Future Skills/Into the Light project and about The Forge.
  • Background to the Role
  • Person Specification
  • Recruitment Process and Timetable

If you find you have a question which isn’t answered in this pack, please feel free to email


Nurturing New Literacies in the Creative Classroom

We are seeking to recruit an experienced programme co-ordinator to work with us on a research programme: Grow Future Skills. The programme will explore the impacts of developing visual, digital and multiliteracy creative programmes in educational settings. It will have an initial duration of one year, but may be extended to three. Grow Future Skills is part of Durham County Council’s broader Into the Light programme.

The content of the programme will focus on integrating new literacies practices into schools (such as photography, digital imagery, film, vlogging, blogging and animation). It will examine how such approaches can draw on children’s ‘hidden literacies’ to support and extend learning, develop pupils’ creative autonomies and equip them with digital proficiencies.

The programme will be shaped by a Community of Enquiry (involving teachers, artists, the GFS Project Co-ordinator and The Forge Creative Producer) to explore how new literacies skills, knowledge and understanding can be embedded in classrooms to support the growth of our future digital workforce.

An intensive R&D phase at the outset will bring practitioners (artists and educationalists from a cohort of six primary schools) together to form a community of enquirers who will explore questions that are relevant to both education and cultural settings. In years two and three of the programme, this will be expanded to include secondary and SEND settings.

Research questions driving the programme

  • How can we employ new literacies and multiliteracies understanding and techniques to support young people to develop creative autonomy, develop digital skills, build skills for the workplace and reach their learning goals?
  • How can we effectively embed new literacies practices in the classroom and in our teaching and learning programmes?
  • How can we use new literacies theories and approaches to develop a more equitable, creative and futures-focused curriculum?
  • What is the role of the artist in developing new and futures literacies in schools?
  • What is the role of AI in developing creativity for artists, teachers and young people?

The CPD phase will follow, grow out of, and be responsive to, the needs identified in the R&D phase and may focus on practical skills, technological skills, pedagogical approaches, or theoretical understandings.

The professional development programme will be co-ordinated and facilitated by the GFS Project Co-ordinator and will be developed by appointed artists through a mix of skills workshops (led by artists), experiential learning, and peer-to-peer coaching and will include artist-supported delivery of activities and approaches in school.

Impact across Durham

The Community of Enquiry will involve 10 schools (6 partner primary schools in year 1, 2 SEND specialist settings in year 2 and 2 secondary settings in year 3) and a range of artists across the three years of the programme. Each of the 10 schools will be tasked with disseminating key findings and skills from the project across their whole school setting and to contribute to wider shared learning networks (both online and offline). Findings from the project, and all relevant resources, will be made available to all Durham schools and will be promoted through Durham Schools Heads Networks and other relevant learning networks, as well as to Into the Light programme partners, the County Durham Local Education Partnership and other Durham cultural networks.


The Forge is an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation specialising in participatory work with young people. We work closely with disadvantaged schools co-creating arts-based programmes to improve children’s outcomes.

The Forge is the North East’s leading arts-in-education agency. We specialise in multi-agency projects that use the arts to improve the life-chances of children and young people. The majority (95%) of our programme occurs in places of least cultural engagement and focuses on overcoming barriers that prevent people from accessing arts and culture. We have over 23 years-experience of co-creating programmes with North East school partners. In recognition of The Forge’s skills in teacher development, we delivered the Arts Council’s Artsmark training programme for Culture Bridge North East from 2015 until 2023. We are a research-informed organisation and have delivered two research programmes for Paul Hamlyn Foundation – Teaching Things Differently, involving seven North East primary schools, and Seeing Things Differently (involving one Northumberland primary school). We are currently delivering a new PHF funded three-year Talking Cameras programme in SEND settings.


Into the Light is a place-based creative collaboration that will drive long-lasting growth in County Durham. It will cultivate talent, widen access to creative education, enhance the skills of the cultural workforce, and break down barriers to working in the creative industries. The programme is a catalyst to level us up, mining our assets in new and imaginative ways to illuminate the ideas, history, communities and culture that shape our county. Just as our coalfields made Durham the cradle of the industrial revolution, Into the Light ignites ambitious county-wide collaboration that returns power to left behind communities, inspires children and young people, and develops the next generation of leaders as place-shapers in a global network. Over the next three years, Into the Light will support over 100 creative commissions, create nationally significant performance and theatre-making in the heart of our communities, invite visitors to explore our unique intersection of culture, science, and heritage, and deepen our collective understanding of our place in the world.

Into the Light is delivered by Durham County Council in partnership with Beamish Museum, The Bowes Museum, Durham University, Ensemble ’84, The Forge, No More Nowt, Northern Heartlands, Redhills CIO and TIN Arts. Culture Durham is a key stakeholder, representing the broader cultural sector.


Responsible to

The Forge Executive Director and The Forge Creative Producer


This is a part-time, freelance post, commencing as soon as possible and lasting 12 months, with the possibility of extending the contract into years 2 and 3. The role in year one is for a total of 89 days across the project lifespan, at a daily rate of £180 per day (£16,020), which is inclusive of any travel costs.


Remote/home working and/or use of The Forge office space in Stanley, County Durham.


Applicants must be registered as self-employed and have the right to work in the UK.


We are looking for a highly motivated, enthusiastic individual who is flexible, committed and hard working. You might be a teacher, arts professional or have a background in research. You need to be a creative thinker and ideas generator, able to successfully negotiate partnerships between schools, artists and the wider creative and cultural sector through an understanding and sensitivity to the needs of these different sectors.

Your role will be to co-design, facilitate, co-ordinate and evaluate this major new schools’ research programme. It is more than an admin role; you will act as a ‘creative agent’ working with the schools and artists to develop the programme and the evaluation framework.

Further Detail on the Programme and its Methodology

The programme will co-create and test new creative pedagogies that draw on new literacies and multiliteracies theories and approaches to support pupils’ academic, creative and social development.

It is influenced by our understanding of literacy as a constantly changing social and cultural practice. Based on multiliteracy theory, the GFS programme recognises that we use a plurality of different modes to create meaning, including visual, audio, spatial, behavioural and gestural modes as well as more traditional written modes (New London Group, 1966). We adopt a constructivist approach to learning, and seek to build upon the digital modes that children are already familiar with and encounter in their everyday lives such as photography, film, music and digital arts. By integrating these modes into children’s learning, we believe that we are better preparing them for future digital worlds of work.

Planned Outcomes

The Project Co-ordinator will work with teachers and artists to initiate whole school dialogues around how we define literacy to move towards a pluralised, more expansive understanding of the term. These expansive definitions will acknowledge the multiplicity of ways we now communicate and develop meaning and participants will identify ways of reflecting this in their pedagogies.

Teachers and artists will engage in an ongoing Community of Enquiry, sharing best practice, and sharing their own learning from the programme, influencing practice via online and in-person network events and conferences.

Pupils will receive a more holistic visually-integrated, futures-focused curriculum that builds upon (rather than ignores) their pre-existing skills and confidences. By removing literacy from its traditional text-based strangle-hold, pupils will be encouraged to experiment and explore their authorial voices through their creative portfolio work including photography, animation, filmmaking, vlogging, blogging, visual galleries and online creations. This will lead to improved agency in their learning, improved capacity for creative risks, improvements to confidence and self-esteem and improvements in their writing and other creative outputs. Pupils will be invited to share their learning and their creative outcomes through curated online spaces and through dissemination events.

Artists will gain a better understanding of school ecologies and performative cultures and will be able to identify more purposeful ways of using their artform to support the growth of new literacies learning, working with teachers to develop opportunities for pupils to make meaning across a range of different digital modes.

Working together, teachers, artists and the GFS Co-ordinator will examine how AI can be ethically used to support pupils’ creative and digital learning.

As we prototype and test different models with young people across primary, secondary and SEND settings, we will learn from their engagement and gather feedback (using visual and digital methods as well as traditional pupil voice approaches) before refining and reviewing approaches to ensure that young people’s voices shape thinking.

Regular learning events will bring practitioners together throughout the research programme to share insights and knowledge and continue/refresh CPD. By focusing each CPD iteration on separate school phases, beginning with primary, then working with SEND and then secondary school partners, we will ensure that skills progression is tracked across all settings. Learning, knowledge and insights from the programme will be shared widely across Durham Schools Heads Networks, through relevant HE educational and ITT networks, and through online events and digital platforms to influence and inspire change across all learning ecologies.

Programme Process

  • Research – The Co-ordinator will work alongside the schools to understand better how the school operates and to co-develop a proposed research question and programme.
  • Delivery – Informed by the research phase, an appropriate creative programme will be developed in partnership with cultural providers and teaching staff and will reflect the digital and creative needs of the school and pupils.
  • Evaluation/Dissemination – Review and reflection will be a key aspect of this programme. A range of evaluative tools will be used by the team to collect evidence. This will also inform the shape of the second and third years of the programme.

The Forge will be the lead umbrella organisation overseeing the project and will support the Co-ordinator by managing artist recruitment, contributing to programme design and outcomes, and leading on financial reporting.


  • To work with The Forge to support the recruitment of the ten partner schools
  • To undertake a period of desk research to understand best practice in digital, visual and multiliteracy and the possibilities afforded by AI in school settings
  • To work in partnership with the school leadership teams to identify a clear focussed area of creative digital development that has relevance and importance to the school
  • To identify and initiate an appropriate methodology to support pupil voice in the project
  • To explore creative, realistic and tailormade approaches to developing that area of work to produce an enquiry framework, unique and specific to that school
  • To develop programmes in ways that maximise the active participation of a broad range of partners in a truly inclusive manner and supports schools to develop ownership of and responsibility for the programme
  • To work with schools and The Forge to contribute to the recruitment of creative practitioners
  • To broker partnerships with creative practitioners and digital practitioners who can work with the school to turn their enquiry framework into an action plan for a creative learning programme of work
  • To work with young people, teachers and school staff, and where appropriate, parents and the wider community, to develop an inspirational long-term programme of activities in partnership with creative practitioners which reflects the aims and objectives of all partners
  • To support schools to identify and embed the learning that has emerged into their planning in order to sustain the development of creative learning across relevant aspects of the school
  • To ensure the project is kept focused on the key questions
  • To programme planning, delivery and reflection activities with creative teams and school partners
  • To share learning with The Forge and the Into the Light network so that it can inform future projects and approaches
  • To initiate and oversee the evaluation process in partnership with The Forge
  • To provide evidence for external evaluations
  • To provide quarterly progress reports for The Forge

Additional – Child Protection

  • Successful applicants will need a current Enhanced DBS check (which can be organised by The Forge) and understand and adhere to The Forge’s safeguarding, child protection, health and safety, and equality and diversity policies.


The key competencies (knowledge, skills, experience, qualifications etc) the role is required to demonstrate:


  Essential Desirable




Knowledge of creativity, the creative process and creative learning

Knowledge and understanding of collaboration and effective partnership working

Understanding of schools’ organisational structures and the challenges facing schools

Understanding of the importance of advocating for the wider use of creative learning methodologies with key partners of influence

Understanding of reflective practice

Understanding of the learning process and awareness of constructivist approaches to learning that build on pupils’ existing digital skills

Knowledge of current education context and initiatives impacting on the creative learning agenda across primary, SEND and secondary settings

Understanding of curriculum and school needs

Understanding of pupils as co-participants in learning and child-centred learning

Understanding the value and potential of multiliteracy  approaches to learning



Experience of establishing confident and productive relationships with a range of stakeholders

Demonstrates a varied interest in cultural practice and networks

Experience of project managing school-based programmes

Experience of building long-term, sustainable relationships with individuals and organisations

Experience of working with the cultural sector

Experience of photography-led programmes


The ability to seek out collaboration and engage dynamically with a range of partners

Project planning, including strong budget management skills, attention to detail and ability to work to deadlines

Ability to advocate for multiliteracy, digital literacy and creative programmes

Ability to devise with colleagues, a broad range of needs-based programmes of activity that are aligned with the individual or group learning needs or broader development issues in the school

High level of personal organisation and excellent time management

Excellent facilitation and negotiation skills and understanding of contracts and partnerships

Ability to work with children and young people as equal partners in an exploratory process

Strong facilitation skills



 Key Dates


Deadline for Applications Friday 7 June 2024
Shortlisting Completed and Candidates Notified Wednesday 12 June 2024
Interviews/Assessment Monday 24 June 2024

Information Session

We will hold an online information session on Tuesday 28 May from 17:30 – 18:15, including time for questions. Please email for the Zoom details.

How to Apply

Please send a CV, together with a supporting statement (no more than two pages) demonstrating in detail, how you meet each of the requirements of the Person Specification.

Applications can be posted to The Forge, Stanley Education Centre, King Edward VIII Terrace, Shield Row, Stanley, County Durham, DH9 0HQ or emailed to All applications will be acknowledged.

Shortlisting and Interviews

Once shortlisting is complete, we will inform every applicant – successful or otherwise – whether they have been successful in making it through to the next stage.

Interviews will be with Michael Gilbey, The Forge Chair of Trustees, Tony Harrington, Executive Director of The Forge, Bev Briggs, Creative Producer of The Forge and held in person at The Forge’s offices in Stanley, County Durham.