University of Cambridge Research

Pamela Burnard

Professor of Arts, Creativities & Education, University of Cambridge

"children are the future dream makers and possibility thinkers"

‘WITH the HEART of a CHILD and a PENGUIN’ is a sculpture installation which embodies a powerful set of values and a message central to solving the pressing planetary problems shared as a global community. This installation enables a novel way of responding to our globally shared problem of water conservation; a problem which has recently been identified as a focus of one of the United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Developments (Goal 6: Clean Water and Sanitation). Through our responses to it we aim to foster new creativities with wisdom to work together across generations and disciplines towards a fairer world. This installation is underpinned and supported by a global research initiative being led and conducted by researchers in the Faculty of Education at the University of Cambridge. The research pursues three goals: (i) an understanding of how diverse creativities contribute to the preparation of generative global citizens through quality education; (ii) utilisation of the arts to facilitate innovation across disciplinary (STEM-to-STEAM driven) literacies to contribute to a developing discourse of both for engaging with the pressing planetary problems ; (iii) raising awareness of the fundamentals of creative sustainable futures and developing global citizenship as we work towards educating every child about sustainability.

Water is the foundation of a healthy human body. Like water, the arts are an integral part of our humanity. The arts enlarge and enrich human understanding. Much of the value that both water and the arts offer us is challenging to articulate, to measure and to utilise in education. This installation creates an expressive form that enables the global community to secure an empathic participation in the lives of others and in their settings. In a certain sense, the installation is like a travel card, something one can use to engage and connect with and get to know other children across each continent. The installation will be our arts-based research tool, as a foundation for creating expressive forms that enlighten, enliven and engage with children as a global community, and contribute to, creative approaches to sustainable use of water and climate change adaptation and mitigation. This installation will thereby generate a global intergenerational community that contributes to the reduction of inequality (Global Goal 10) and greater planetary justice across humanity and beyond.

Martin Wright


As tough as bronze, as soft as a child’s smile.

Nicola Ravenscroft’s extraordinary sculptures stand as symbols of human hope, grace and defiance in the face of climate change.
Each set comprises seven unique figures – six children and a penguin – representing the seven continents and their inhabitants.

By being cast in bronze, they symbolise our resilience in the face of all that the winds can throw at us.
By being cast as children, they mirror our fragility amid the havoc we wreak on the world, and on all that sustains us.
By grouping children and a penguin, they call out our playfulness, that lightness of touch to refresh our work and our hopes with the heart of a child.

Each is cast to order, and can stand tall from a few feet to a hundred or more.
Imagine them now, gracing the footsteps of delegates walking into conference rooms, quiet reminders of their duty of care.
Imagine them now, rising from the waves off the shores of great cities, beacons of resolve, markers of commitment.
Imagine them in any size, in any setting, strikingly beautiful, striking reminders of our softness and our strength. And of all we might do, if we see the world with the heart of a child.

James Biddulph

Headteacher, University of Cambridge Primary School

The University of Cambridge Primary School opened in September 2015. It is the first primary University Training School with three aspirations: to be a brilliant primary school, develop initial teacher education and inspire research informed and research generating educational practice. Rooted in principles of ambition, inclusion and innovation, the school engages with diverse ways to realise the vision.

The installation, 'WITH the HEART of a CHILD and a PENGUIN' by Nicola Ravenscroft, was installed in the school in September 2016. The purpose is to inspire new ways of thinking about teaching and learning and to seek answers to questions about the arts, how the arts contribute to learning in other domains of experience, how teachers use art to develop new creative possibilities and essentially how children enact their agency to strive for their very best in all their learning.

During the year (so far) teachers and children have engaged with the work to develop dialogue and build a sense of community. Teachers are considering how they can use the installation in their planning and teaching so that children are challenged to ask complex questions about themselves, their school and their world. We aim to develop confident, active citizens who want to contribute positively to their worlds.

James Biddulph

Headteacher, University of Cambridge Primary School

'WITH the HEART of a CHILD and a PENGUIN' touches at the core anticipation and hopeful dreaming that springs from childhood. With the intention to connect us all in deeply reflecting about our purpose, our hopes and the possibilities that arise when humanity works for the betterment of all, the children and penguin invite new possibility thinking. Through the organic sculptures, questions about childhood, the future and our collective responsibility are provoked: open-ended responses are encouraged so that together there is opportunity to make a difference.

The University of Cambridge Primary School is delighted to be the first major host of the installation "WITH the HEART of a CHILD and a PENGUIN", and are passionate about developing a curriculum in response to the big questions and future issues of the 21st Century that it inspires. Heart-connecting, mesmerising, childlike, warm ... but above all full of hope from which we can draw to fill our own reservoirs of hope."

this captivating installation has been exhibited at

Churchill College, Cambridge University
July 2016

University of Cambridge Primary School
September 2016 - March 2017

HSBC global headquarters, Canary Wharf, London
March - April 2017

Musiceum Summit, Cambridge University
in partnership with the V&A Museum London
(Museum of Childhood), Fitzwilliam Museum
December 2017

M&G Group HQ, Governor's House, London EC4R 0HH
December 2017 - January 2018

Ralph Winter Gallery, Exeter
May 2018

Whitecross Street Party 2018, Barbican, London
Summer 2018

Waiting patiently in Churchill College Cambridge Chapel
'With the Heart of a Child and a Penguin'

Nicola Ravenscroft with her son,
filmmaker/visual artist Rowan While

In memory of my beautiful friend Anna Craft,
whose work, life and love have profoundly
changed the lives of children.