Bridging the Divide: ARCO Project


2nd December – 7th January 2020
Curzon Building Atrium

This inaugural exhibition, celebrates Arco, an innovative alliance, established in 2015 between the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire and Morris Isaacson Centre for Music, an inspiring institution in Soweto, Johannesburg, South Africa.

Arco provides regular distance-learning opportunities for talented children in South Africa, who for multiple reasons, do not have access to the same level of musical education as students in the U.K. Weekly individual instrumental lessons, mentoring and string quartet coaching are delivered by a group of current students and recent graduates from Royal Birmingham Conservatoire via video conferencing system, ZOOM.

Regular events occurring within Royal Birmingham Conservatoire’s String Department, such as masterclasses, workshops and performances are streamed live to South Africa for the benefit of the MICM students. While throughout the year, Arco teachers from the UK travel to South Africa for ARCO festivals - an immersive musical experience, building on and solidifying skills learnt throughout the year.

In 2019 ARCO has seen months, days and hours of tuition from RBC staff, students and alumni through online lessons in the Distance Learning Hub, two live festivals held at the MICM and two exchange opportunities for our senior ARCO musicians to the UK. Here, Birmingham City University are pushing our Social Responsibility policy, where we are committed to transforming students’ lives and enhancing opportunity through education and advancement. We play a key role in supporting the economy and public sector in Birmingham and the West Midlands, as the University for the City. Whether helping talented children in South Africa reach their musical potential, or developing research to enable people to lead healthier lives, BCU undertakes a wide variety of work to ensure that we operate as a socially responsible University.

The exhibition was created to highlight and help build awareness to the work of students, teachers and supporters of the ARCO Project, including photos, stories, information, fundraising efforts, exchanges, festivals and much more. It also features bio testimonial video from all ARCO students in the Morris Isaacson Centre for Music, describing what the project means to them.

More information about the project can be found via;
Twitter: @arcobirmcons
Instagram: @arcobirmcons

The ARCO Project is always seeking to collaborate with individuals and projects who would like to get involved with what we do. If you have any ideas or thoughts about how the ARCO Project could help you, or how you could help us, please get in touch through either our social media channels or email: