Our History

Wave Arts Education Agency was originally established in 2003, under the slightly clunky name, Partnership Education Programme. A partnership between Borough of Poole and Bournemouth Borough Council’s Arts Development and Education Directorates, alongside Arts Council England, the aim was to facilitate creative arts projects in Bournemouth and Poole’s schools.

Wave, as it soon became re-branded, rapidly develop an excellent reputation and became a key player within a network of arts education agencies across the South West. A new portfolio of artist opportunities for schools and creative projects were developed, CPD for teachers organised and an array of schools helped in developing their creative offer.

From 2005-8, Wave became the lead partner for a prestigious new Department for Culture, Media & Sport funded Cultural Hub for Bournemouth and Poole, allying leading local cultural organisations with local schools. One of only three such projects nationally, a significant budget saw an array of fantastic and highly ambitious partnerships developed, reaching some 20,000 young people and leading to some 50+ projects. The end of the DCMS phase culminated in an enormous showcase and party on Bournemouth Beach, entitled ‘Hubworld’, which drew regional and national acclaim.

Despite the loss of DCMS funding, the Cultural Hub continued to flourish, sustained by contributions from its membership. In 2010 Wave continued to grow, supporting young people, schools, teachers and artists, with an array of exciting projects. These culminated in the summer of 2012 with nominations for two awards, one for Wave’s role in developing the memorial for Red Arrows pilot, Jon Egging; a second for Wave’s role (alongside SoundStorm) in creating Bournemouth Olympic Torch Relay celebrations.

Wave was awarded a Grants for the Arts Award by Arts Council England in 2014, to enable it to strengthen its sustainability and develop new areas of work. It is currently exploring expanding its offer, particularly the Cultural Hub, across wider Dorset and possibly beyond.