Arts Award Blog

Create, Share and Debate with Generate - Delivering Arts Award with Towner's youth arts and film team

Author: Esther Rolinson

Date: 29 Feb 2016

Esther here, Learning and Participation Coordinator at Towner Art Gallery in Eastbourne, an Arts Award Good Practice Centre. I lead on a programme called Generate which is the gallery's long-standing arts programme for young people aged 13-19. In its fifth year, Generate forms an integral part of the gallery's engagement and objective as a gallery ‘for the people’ as intended by the gallery’s philanthropic founder. I want to tell you about our Arts Award work, including how we deliver Bronze and Silver alongside each other...

Film Crew - clapper board

Generate – How we started

As an independent artist and filmmaker, working in the gallery education has enabled me to share my enthusiasm and skills with others. I started my present role as coordinator having freelanced as an artist educator at various galleries on the south coast including Towner and London’s Hayward Gallery. My first project at Towner was to design a new programme for Generate and I was thrilled to be able meet existing members and involve them in the design process. Through a series of meetings, discussion and a very light survey (and of course pizza), I consulted the group on what they would like the year ahead to look like.

In July 2015 the Generate arts and film team was born. The programme combines visiting artists’ workshops, all voted on by the young people and related to our current exhibition of programmes, with micro-film productions thrown into the mix. Generate is a year-long programme and young people can apply to become members.

 Gallery vox pop film shoot

Film Crew - gallery film shoot 1The sessions which run fortnightly during term time, alternate between 'Art Space' workshops with visiting artists and 'Film Crew' sessions which I lead on. During Film Crew sessions, the group assemble into roving video reporting teams, shooting spotlights on our exhibitions, interviewing the general gallery-goers to gather visitor Vox Pops (Vox Populi - Voice of the People) and shoot their own art tutorials, all of which are uploaded to Towner's YouTube channel. Via creating, debating and sharing the group are naturally evidencing their Arts Award.

Julian Germain, ‘The Future is Ours’ gallery vox pop video by Generate youth arts and film team

Same but different – an approach to delivering Bronze alongside Silver

Learning production techniques for shooting films in and around the gallery has proved perfect for structuring a Silver Arts Award. Half of the members in the group have progressed on from the previous Generate project and achieved their Bronze Arts Award and are now working towards their Silver. The new recruits in the group, are on their way to completing their Bronze. Delivering both awards as part of the same programme doesn't come without its challenges: differentiation of individual needs and an understanding of friendship dynamics are crucial. And let's not forget this is a Saturday afternoon after all, and everyone wants to do things at their own pace and style.

I have found a delivery approach that allows members in the group working towards their Silver and Bronze to work together on the same projects. The Silver group will often pool together to provide the film department for the 'Bronzers' when they are sharing their skills for Part D, via the production of video tutorials.

Generate Bronze Arts Award – Part D Skill Share video tutorial

Whilst the group take on individual roles towards the production of their films, they are also demonstrating new skills and setting themselves individual challenges which tie in perfectly with the more employability focused elements of the Silver Arts Award. Arts Award offers a malleable way for young people to gain the experience they may not be getting at school, working with their peers, supported by creative practitioners and arts professionals. 

John Napier - Q&A film shoot

We hope to build on the strengths of the Generate programme and continue to put experiential learning, creating, sharing and debating the heart of Arts Award at Towner. Coming up next on Generate, organising an online exhibition and planning an open studio weekend…

How do you simultaneously deliver Bronze and Silver Arts Award with your groups? Do you have any smart techniques for planning your sessions? We’d love to hear your stories in the comments!

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For more information on Arts Award activities at Towner, contact


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