15 years of supporting creativity to flourish

15 years of supporting creativity to flourish

Picture of Catherine Sercombe

BY: Catherine Sercombe
01 Sep 2020

In celebration of 15 years of enabling the development of creativity and leadership skills, Head of Arts Award, Catherine Sercombe, looks back to the qualification’s early days and highlights what’s on offer this academic year to mark this important milestone.

Arts Award’s mission for 15 years has been to enrich the lives of children and young people through the arts and culture. After its launch in 2005, the programme was quickly established in schools, arts & cultural organisations and youth projects and now flourishes in a wide variety of settings. A community of committed and passionate centres, advisers and Supporter organisations has championed Arts Award throughout the years and contributed to ensuring the programme has not only survived - but has thrived.

As we mark 15 years of the qualification, over 500,000 awards have been achieved in over 4,000 centres across the UK. And so, in a series of posts on our blog this year, we are pleased to be shining a light on some of the centres who have put Arts Award at the heart of their arts offers.

We are of course, also grateful to Arts Council England and their ten regional Bridge organisations. Conceived through partnership, this spirit continues to be upheld by the founding organisations and alongside them, the Bridge organisations through their active underpinning of Arts Award’s growth.

An impact study conducted by London South Bank University in 2016 found that Arts Award has been true to its principles of being a qualification that works for all young people, where their needs and interests come first, and is underpinned by experiences of the professional arts. It was found to be universally appealing across gender, ethnicity and socio-economic status across all award levels. There were clear positive outcomes demonstrated, both in terms of transferrable life skills and more tangible impacts - such as boosting grades or helping secure work or training places. And young people who had achieved Arts Award were more likely to consider a career in the professional arts. The research suggests that the skills and experiences gained through Arts Award are equipping young people to realise their ambitions.

This is borne out through Arts Award’s ever-growing cohort of alumni who are now finding their own way in the arts world, or navigating creative careers more widely – and we are delighted to be hearing from some of these first achievers on our youth site Arts Award Voice this year. To highlight young people’s creativity more widely, we are delighted that Voice will be offering a platform for their artistic talents to be showcased through a special competition.

Whether you are an adviser, centre, young person or more general supporter – thank you for your contribution to Arts Award’s story so far. We look forward to continuing the journey with you this year, and for the next 15 years.

If you would like to contribute to Arts Award’s 15th anniversary, here are five ways that you could show your support:

  1. Continue to offer Arts Award, which may mean challenging yourself to deliver in a different way due to the current situation – there is support available for digital delivery and blended learning to help you.
  2. Learn from the approaches of organisations who have placed Arts Award at the heart of their offers, and help young people be inspired by the stories of young creative professionals.
  3. Offer Gold Arts Award to young people or get ready to deliver it through completing Arts Award training.
  4. Encourage young people to share their talents by creating art and sharing a snippet online using #LoveArtsAward15, especially for Voice’s social media competition in September.
  5. On social media, follow #ArtsAward15 and share, comment and like posts.

    You can find out more about all these opportunities on our website.

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