INSPIRATION | Artsmark school has visit from Canadian artist Robert Bateman

Date Created: 24th May 2016

Robert Bateman speaking to students and teachers at Artsmark school

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On Thursday 19th May, Highfield School in Hampshire had the pleasure of meeting artist, conservationist and environmentalist, Robert Bateman, and his wife, artist Birgit Freybe Bateman. The pair were visiting the UK from Salt Spring Island, British Columbia, to deliver and present in person one of his wildlife paintings to the Royal Family.

The visit came about after a student in Year 7 wrote to Robert Bateman asking if he would like to visit Highfield whilst in the UK; he kindly agreed, and offered to lead a whole school assembly as well as taking an art masterclass in the afternoon. Bateman’s talk to the pupils emphasised the importance of putting technology ‘away’ and reconnecting with the natural world.

An advocate for children’s mental health and wellbeing, Bateman believes that connecting with nature keeps us young and healthy and helps us realise that “worrying is useless, taking action is useful”.

Olga Houghton, Head of Art at Highfield School, said:

“We are extremely lucky to be situated where we are as a school community – we can enjoy our natural setting. I was so humbled to have met one of my favourite childhood artists in the heart of leafy, green Hampshire. It was a day we will all remember and cherish.”

To commemorate the special visit, the school is planning on installing a sustainably sourced teak bench with a plaque dedicated to Robert and Birgit, where children can enjoy a moment of reflection or sketch the wildlife around them.

Why not take a sketchbook out on your family walk? Stop, look, listen and…SKETCH! As Robert Bateman says, “in order to learn how to draw, you have to make at least 2000 mistakes. So get busy and start making them!”

Highfield School are currently working towards their Artsmark. Find out more about about Artsmark, and how your school can get involved here

Are you working towards your Artsmark or using Arts Award in your school? Have a story to tell like this one? We’d love to hear all about it – email us


Artsmark South East Bridge

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