Debbie Beeks

Consultant and Practitioner in Creative Engagement

About

Hello, I’m Debbie. I’m a Consultant and Practitioner in Creative Engagement based in Gateshead, Tyne and Wear, working nationally.

My fundamental motivation is to work with individuals and groups to make creative, enabling and empowering spaces. I focus on increasing creative engagement and inclusive practice for children, families and professionals, as a consultant, practitioner and project leader/producer. I bring 17 years of experience in schools, cultural organisations, museums, archive, libraries and community engagement.

My background is Drama in Education and dialogic practice. Working at a local, national and international level. For example with Seven Stories; British Council Hong Kong, Danish Children’s Librarian Association, Action for Children, Norfolk Libraries. 

I work with you to design and deliver strategies and projects, to bring about organisational change. Those changes can be:

  • Creative engagement to enhance literacy and learning,
  • deeper engagement in the arts,
  • increased audience engagement,
  • increased staff skills in creative engagement.
Debbie final export-3

Main Services

I work in settings such as schools, cultural organisations, museums, archives and libraries as well as in the community.  I offer:

  • Project, partnership and programme design and delivery in education, arts, social care, and literature contexts
  • Facilitation, training, consultancy
  • Associate artists in a range of disciplines
  • Creative Engagement practice; Drama for Learning
  • Specialisms; Creative and arts engagement with children’s literature. Children’s literature and social justice

example project models

Organisational Development

Consultancy to identify creative engagement solutions to organisational needs e.g.

  • Reading engagement in schools
  • Audience development in cultural venues
  • Family participation in libraries
  • Strategy and planning for change
  • Practitioner/teacher training
  • Evaluation

school arts week

Consultancy and whole school arts engagement/staff development project towards SIP/Arts Mark goals.

  • INSET days for shared implementation of arts engagement across the school community including parents/carers
  • Dynamic programmes of arts sessions in a range of art forms with associate artists
  • Inspirational celebrations of the work
  • Post project activities to harness the knowledge and motivation into literacy

Targeted Year Group

Consultancy to design and deliver a peer mentoring model of creative engagement to enhance literacy.

  • Develop and deliver a term of arts engagement approaches to reading and writing with a targeted year group around a specific book
  • Peer mentoring with staff to design and develop the programme together
  • Weekly drama sessions
  • Post session classroom activity to progress the work
  • Sharing creative outputs with a genuine audience
  • See here for an example: What is freedom?

Experience

My practice is person-centred and based on collaborative approaches to shared learning. This has been developed in a wide range of contexts, with participants including:

  • educators
  • vulnerable and empowered parents
  • children /young people
  • adults with learning disabilities
  • artists
  • film makers
  • authors
  • librarians & assistants
  • researchers
  • academics
  • programmers
  • senior strategic arts leaders
  • venue managers
  • front of house teams

Most recently I have spent 11 years leading a Learning & Participation team at Seven Stories The National Centre for Children’s Books, a busy museum, archive and cultural venue. As Learning & Participation Manager, I established and led the professional development programme in creative engagement and children’s books.

In previous roles I have led projects and partnerships including:

  • Cultural Hub,
  • Culture Bridge Teaching school,
  • Early Arts Action for Children,
  • Northumbria University Student Residency,
  • Public Engagement with Newcastle University  – The Big Ideas Project.

Practitioner

I am an experienced facilitator of creative and dialogic processes.  I train and develop others to lead creative processes and lead creative engagement sessions myself, often in a peer mentoring framework. In my own practice, I specialise in shared enquiry and creation, where all participants become researchers and artists in their own and collective learning. I collaborate with your team and associate artists to create rich, unforgettable creative journeys. See here for an example of a previous project –  Journey to Jo’burg.

Research

Current research areas:

  • Creative engagement to explore identity and activism in the works and archive of children’s author, Beverley Naidoo.
  • The role, impact and empowerment of the orphan in children’s books and personal narratives.
  • Evidencing the impact of creative engagement.

Contact

Please get in touch if you would like to discuss your ideas and goals. 

Full CV available on request.