Arts Award and Creative Learning
BY: Guest Writer
09 Oct 2023
We catch up with Alex Rees from Trinity Champion Centre UCAN Productions in Cardiff, Wales who tells us how Arts Award strengthens their offer to young people. We also hear directly from a young person about their experience of Silver Arts Award.
UCAN Productions is a performance and creative arts charity for blind and partially sighted children, young people, adults and their friends. We are now in our second year of being a Trinity Champion Centre. A lot has happened since our previous blog post about how we introduced Arts Award into our toolkit of creative arts delivery approaches and confidence-building techniques for blind and vision-impaired young people. Firstly, we became a fully-fledged registered charity, and secondly, we've had the honour and privilege of being awarded the status of the Lord Mayor of Cardiff's Chosen Charity for 2023-24!
This was a tremendous honour, and you can see from the photo (left) showing Hannah, our Peer-to-Peer Engagement Officer, attending the award event with one of our members. Our pull-up banner featured images of some of our members with their Arts Award certificates.
Our first Silver
We've also successfully delivered our first Silver Arts Award - congratulations to our member Samiya Houston! Samiya has her own theatre blog page, https://jazzyhandsgirl.co.uk/, and her Silver Award work forms part of that. Samiya wrote about her Arts Award experience:
’I really liked doing my Silver Arts Award. The research aspects allowed me to find out about different careers in the arts and pathways to get there - as well as interviewing arts professionals to find out about their jobs. I wasn’t aware how many different ways there are to secure a career in the arts, and just how many people a theatre needs to run smoothly! I also enjoyed researching different educational establishments that offer arts courses such as the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
’I also really enjoyed the leadership project. For mine, I helped Alex and my adviser Alys lead some creative workshops at SENCOM in Cwmbran last year. I really enjoyed the drama games and sharing my passion for drama with others. I think this has given me a real taster in what it's like to be a workshop practitioner, in case I decide I want to become one in the future - which I do! In fact, I’m helping lead UCAN’s after school SENCOM workshops every other Wednesday, and I helped out during half term!
At UCAN, we have always been big on creative learning, and delivery of Arts Award dovetails neatly with this. We love the way that even evidence of the work can be a creative activity itself. For example, voice recording technology is a key feature in a lot of our work with our vision impaired members and recording a podcast to evidence an Arts Award is an integral part of the acquisition of new skills and experience.
Our Arts Award offer is a great hook for building new contacts, and is increasingly becoming a main part of our approach when reaching out to gain access to new groups of vision impaired young people. We are well known and well regarded for our creative confidence-boosting work - but when we can tell gatekeepers that this is supported by the flexible approach, accreditation and recognition of achievement that Arts Award brings, our appeal becomes even stronger.
We are currently working on plans for new projects; as the Lord Mayor's Chosen Charity, new doors are opening, and great things are afoot! Arts Award will continue to be a main tool to help our members as we embark on new projects and adventures over the coming years.
Photos by UCAN Productions