Exploring approaches to facilitating Arts Award through creative work.
I have long been a supporter of the Arts Award, it often provides a purposeful framework for approaching creative work and many young people, from a range of backgrounds, who have experienced the process have gone on to successful academic and professional creative careers.
But it can have challenges, depending on the setting, such as time constraints and the 'buy in' of the young people involved.
This is especially challenging when the core focus is to provide a personalised and creative musical experience, which also supports a range of significant personal and social needs of the young people taking part.
So far, we have delivered three five day intensives as part of Concept, at two of these we facilitated the Bronze Arts Award and through another we focussed on two criteria from the Silver Award, with a collaborating partner completing the other two criteria of the Silver Award. We also host regular drop in sessions at which the young people can continue with their music and have the opportunity to complete portfolio's.
Some of the challenges we have found include:
- How to evidence criteria without interrupting the creative work and the atmosphere of the sessions
- How to engage young people who are in challenging circumstances (may not attend mainstream education) and who do not particularly want to engage in an ‘educational process’
- How to develop portfolio’s efficiently yet retain personalisation required for moderation and ultimately successful completion of the Award
- Consistency of attendance and ability to access regular sessions can also be a challenge for some young people.
Some of the solutions that have helped so far include;
- Having a 'Scheme of Work' for the week which builds in the relevant criteria as part of the plan
- Ensure the young people are clear about what the Arts Award is and what they will be doing
- Having a dedicated ‘Arts Award’ section at the beginning and end of the day
- Having a dedicated videographer to gather evidence and reduce the need for written work
- Have someone to work one to one with the young people in short bursts (this has also enhanced variety of activity and helped to avoid any ‘downtime’ during the creative work.)
- Gathering printed material and developing portfolio’s as the week progresses
- Provide follow up opportunities where possible to complete any outstanding criteria, especially if this can be done by email/online
- Plan in additional portfolio marking sessions with the Arts Award advisor and those gathering evidence
Each residency has been very different, as have the young people taking part, Our first residency there were a range of learners, many with significant challenges to engaging in education, some not in mainstream education at all. The week was great fun and some fantastic music created, followed by an enthusiastic public performance. In terms of the Bronze Arts Award this was more of a challenge but 6 young people have fully completed their portfolio's and are ready for moderation. We have the opportunity to work with others later in the year and there will be several who will certainly complete, and some who will progress to the Silver Award supported by partner organisations and ourselves
At our Leicester based residency we worked in collaboration with a partner organisation to support a further 6 young people with the Silver Arts Award. This was very successful, we focussed on unit 2 of the Award (Arts Leadership) and gathered focussed, clear and good quality evidence. We also evidenced the Arts Research criteria from Unit 1 of the award, We collaborated closely with the partner organisation to ensure a complete Silver Award was achieved.
In Northampton we utilised a similar approach to the Bronze Award, but with a little more clarity, having learnt from the previous work. Although we had some challenges around supporting those who were less confident in speaking English, this was very successful with nearly all of the group completing the Bronze Award during the week. It was interesting that this group highly valued the opportunity to gain a qualification through their creative work. The young people were keen to engage in the process and this could be because the young people are accustomed to additional learning as part of their regular activity as part of the Association of Northamptonshire Supplementary Schools. Many of this group are keen to progress to a Silver Award.
We are now in the process of working with another new group of young people, all whom are young people supported by The Young Transgender Centre for Excellence in Leicester. We may not achieve as many Awards through this but we are just at the start of this journey and we will see how things progress by the end of August.
Best wishes, Kate