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Creative Learning

We reach thousands of people through our year-round creative learning programmes.

We believe that creativity is for everyone! It inspires self-confidence and improves the way we communicate with one another - qualities that permeate all aspects of life, not just art. 

Our programmes empower people to express and challenge their opinions through art practice and critical thinking. 

If you would like to discuss opportunities to work with our Creative Learning team, please contact Caroline Donald, Head of Creative Learning, or Neil Fox, Creative Learning Project Officer, on +44(0)131 473 2076 or

Our Programmes

The Art of Listening

For twenty years, The Art of Listening been teaching young people how to communicate about classical music. The workshops employ a mixture of listening and practical drawing exercises, that challenge preconceived notions about the art form and teach children how to communicate their experience.

In spring 2016 we travelled with the project from Edinburgh to Melbourne, Australia to present it to teachers, students and other music professionals from Independent Schools Victoria. In May 2017 we were invited back to showcase the Art of Listening at the inaugural Arts Learning Festival.

Herald Young Critics

The Herald Young Critics programme has been running for almost fifteen years. It offers S5/S6 pupils – many of whom have never engaged with the International Festival before – the opportunity to see and review a piece of work at the International Festival during August, covering opera, music, theatre and dance.

In June, each group of students receives an in-school workshop, delivered by journalists from The Herald. One review from every category is printed in the paper alongside professional reviews and each of those is then eligible for the Herald Cherub Award at the end of the International Festival. In addition, all of their work is available to read online.

Watch Herald Young Critics at the Standard Life Opening Event: Bloom
Soul Boxes

Soul Boxes is a visual arts project that works with pupils in their final year of Primary school, as they move towards Secondary education, and looks at how art can be used to understand who we are, and the experiences that shape our lives.

In a half-day introductory workshop with artists in schools, pupils are encouraged to explore autobiographical material (photographs, images, objects) through art and writing. 

In the second full-day workshop in The Hub, pupils use their material to create an artist book or a story box as a record of their lives and experiences.

Drama Workshops

We also offer free, bespoke workshops to schools that cannot offer their own drama curriculum.

We tailor workshops to the abilities and age of the group being presented – from first-year secondary students understanding the basics of drama; right through to supporting Advanced Higher classes with specific texts which they have been studying such as The Glass Menagerie.

Virgin Money Fireworks School Concert

This annual event - presented in partnership with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra - brings almost two thousand young people to Princes Street Gardens for a private performance on the day of the Virgin Money Fireworks Concert.

As this is often the children's first exposure to live classical music, they are guided through the programme by a conductor, who directs them on what to listen out for.  


Between 2015 and 2017, we partnered with Castlebrae Community High School in a groundbreaking, three-year residency programme. 

We are delighted to announce a new partnership with Edinburgh secondary school Leith Academy, which will commence from January 2019.

You can read more about both Castlebrae and our upcoming partnership below.

2017 Programme Launch at Castlebrae

Castlebrae Community High School Residency 2015-2017

Leith Academy

Edinburgh International Festival Announce residency in Leith Academy