15 years centre stories | Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra
BY: Guest Writer
18 Aug 2020
We head south for the third in our series of posts marking Arts Award's 15 years where we meet the Orchestra of the South West, serving young people from across the south coast. Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra have an enterprising approach to using Arts Award to support employability and professional development - younger employees are offered the chance to work towards Gold and 'Bronze with BSO' builds transferable skills as part of their outreach programme.
Arts Award is a core part of Bournemouth Symphony Orchestra’s offer for young people through our outreach programme, BSO Participate. Over the years we have widened our offer from embedding Discover for hundreds of children into workshop days, to offering Gold to all employees under 25, providing young professionals with career development opportunities.
Last year, we facilitated seven ‘Bronze in a week’ sessions. We welcomed the 14-18 year olds for a week of work experience where they would be supported through Bronze Arts Award.
To apply, candidates submit their CV and cover letter before taking part in a telephone interview, which aims to provide them with valuable interview experience. We aimed to gain insight in the areas they are interested in, whether they are a budding musician who would like access to the musicians and rehearsals, or they are an aspiring arts administrator/events manager.
We carefully scheduled their week to enable them ample time with different teams completing various tasks from helping out at events to writing press releases and repairing scores in the Music Library, as well as enabling them time to put together their portfolio of evidence.
‘Bronze with BSO’ evolved from a leadership project carried out as part of an employee’s Gold Arts Award in 2016 and has helped embed the offer through our work experience programme. Having the resource of the Orchestra is fantastic, particularly for the research task: We encourage students to watch rehearsals and interview our professional musicians, conductors and artists, as this utilises a different research method they can include in their portfolio.
(Freya doing her Bronze Arts Award: she chose to research James Rose, conductor of BSO Resound)
A recent development in our offer has been delivering Arts Award Discover and embedding this into our project planning. For example, in October 2019 we ran a ‘Discover Day’ in Swanage for 143 children from five primary schools. We offered a carousel of workshops covering all parts of Discover, including a singing workshop, creative composition with instruments, and listening to a mini concert by BSO musicians. We created a new worksheet specific to the day, making it easy for children to document their evidence and with some time built in for them to communicate their learnings. They all completed their Discover awards within a school day. During lockdown, we built ‘Discover at Home’ into our online BSO Young Explorers programme, creating an online programme for children either in school or at home to complete their award.
To support our rising talent scheme we offer the option for employees under 25 to complete their Gold Arts Award with us, as an opportunity for professional development within existing roles. This is something I personally did last year, and it was a fantastic opportunity: it gave me the opening to make contacts with others in the music industry to research a topic that interested me (I researched gender in conducting). I also developed leadership skills through fully organising and evaluating a schools project; it was great to document every step of a project. In addition, I spent a week of work experience with another organisation and was able to develop presentation skills and put them into practice. A number of colleagues at the BSO have also now completed their Gold Arts Award and it is great to have a physical portfolio and qualification that demonstrates the personal development we have been on.
(Participate Coordinator Alison, Participate Programme Manager Jess, and Marketing Officer Sophie with their Gold Arts Award portfolios and certificates)
Overall, Arts Award is a core part of our offer and we keep learning and thinking of new ways to offer the qualification alongside our engagement with young people. Happy 15 years of Arts Award and may young people continue to gain valuable experience in the creative industries.
For any questions please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.