IT has become a beacon for the arts and creativity in Huddersfield.
Colne Valley Specialist Arts College is drawing on the area’s rich creative heritage to take students on a journey to pursue and develop their artistic talents.
It will see students taking a major role in next month’s Slaithwaite Moonraking Festival.
And 16 students from the college and from other schools across the district are studying for the innovative Creative Arts and Media Diploma SPACE2CRE8.
The diplomas give 14 to 19-year-olds practical, hands-on experience as well as classroom learning.
They are the equivalent of five GCSEs and are designed to help young people develop the knowledge and skills employers and universities want.
Diplomas in 14 subject areas are currently available in selected schools and colleges.
The diploma is being taught with Kirklees Collegiate and local arts company Satellite Arts and is based at The Watershed arts centre in Slaithwaite.
Teachers Sky Burton and Fiona Coe lead the programme and students from Almondbury, Fartown, Moor End, Castle Hall and Mirfield Free Grammar Schools take part in addition to those from Colne Valley.
Suzanne Hamilton, assistant headteacher at Colne Valley, said: “We are really reaching out to our community and using the strengths of our arts specialism to give students the opportunity to pursue and develop their creative and artistic interests and talents through professional arts practice.
“We are already several weeks into the course and it is already a huge success.”
Students have formed their own creative arts company called New Discovery to promote their work and talents and will be mentored by local arts professionals so they can benefit from Kirklees’ rich and vibrant arts scene.
In their first term students have focussed on creating a range of promotional material for well-known local jazz/hip-hop band Extra Curricular.
They have produced T-shirts, billboards, posters and a life size photo statue which will be presented to the band at the end of the module for their feedback.
The college is also strengthening its community support by going Wild About Wool as part of one of the major events of the Colne Valley calendar, the Slaithwaite Moonraking Festival.
It has had a long tradition of working with organisers over a number of years and this year it is involved in the Lottery-funded heritage programme.
Year seven students are becoming history detectives to help create a memory bank of oral histories, anecdotes and experiences contributed by Colne Valley woollen mill workers and their families.
On Saturday, February 4, The Watershed in Bridge Street, Slaithwaite, will be hosting the first Wild About Wool Memory Bank event from 2pm to 4.30pm.
During the February festival, which culminates in the procession on February 26, students will be involved in a wide range of activities and workshops including song, sound, film and lantern-making.
This will be followed by a programme of craft workshops and a Wild about Wool exhibition which reflects the whole project.