Case study: Bath Festivals
BY: Alan Lynch
04 Sep 2018
Bath Festivals have been delivering Arts Award over the last two years alongside their Young Curators Programme with schools, and their Building Bridges music project in collaboration with a Youth Service. During this time, 15 participants have achieved Bronze Arts Award. This case study will focus mainly on their delivery of Bronze through the Young Curators Programme.
Bath Festivals is the charitable organisation responsible for the Bath International Music Festival, the Independent Bath Literature Festival and the Telegraph Bath Children’s Literature Festival. Bath Festivals also runs Bath Box Office ticket agency.
The aim of Bath Festivals’ Young Curators Programme is to involve young people in all aspects of the curation and production of the Bath Children’s Literature Festival as well as achieving their Bronze Arts Award. Students with an interest in literature, reading and writing were invited to apply for the programme. The sessions were led fortnightly by the Learning and Participation Manager at Bath Festivals.
The sessions began with reading, discussing and reviewing books written by authors who were attending the festival. Part C (arts inspiration) was completed first by discussing the authors attending the festival and the participants’ individual arts inspirations. During the festival they completed Part A (explore the arts as a participant) by attending a workshop with the writer, Beth Webb. Some of the group used their experiences of visiting the festival and others visited animation studios, art galleries, concerts, etc to achieve Part B (explore the arts as an audience member). Part D (arts skill share) was completed through creating and delivering a short series of writing workshops inspired by the session they received from Beth Webb. These were delivered to fellow students at school lunchtimes and open evenings.
The young people all used sketchbooks to create their portfolios, and some used film to record their activities. This group were confident communicators in the written word, but with other projects Bath Festivals have used film to capture participants’ reflections and thoughts about their work and their participation.
‘[When recording evidence] The key thing to do is take a few pictures of what you see, so that you don’t ruin your time at a concert or an exhibition, and make a small diary on the day(s) that you are doing things for Arts Award. This way you will always have some evidence of what you are doing without losing time at the place that you are visiting.’ Harrison, Young Curator and Bronze Arts Award achiever
The project involved a number of arts practitioners, including writers, musicians, a poet and a guest artistic director, who spoke with participants, led workshops and took them on visits to cultural centres.
Across their delivery of Arts Award Bath Festivals have had support from:
- SoundSplash at Colston Hall who provided reduced priced tickets, and transport
- The egg Theatre offered free tickets to events and opportunities for young people
- Holburne Museum offered a tour of the museum for free for children taking part in Bath Festivals’ Arts Award Discover club
‘Arts Award has given the young people an opportunity to succeed, to work at their own pace and in a way which suits their learning style and their particular needs. It gives young people access to cultural organisations and provides safe ways to experience the arts. It gives an opportunity for the young people we work with to gain a nationally recognised accreditation, and therefore also gives our projects this national recognition.’ Hazel Plowman, Arts Award adviser
Arts Award has been a validation for Bath Festivals’ work, highlighting the benefits the arts can offer young people, within the subject itself, but also in their growth in confidence, self-belief, commitment to a project and their ability to overcome challenges and prejudices.
The Young Curators were able to work at the festival during school hours from Monday 28 September - Friday 2 October 2013, gaining invaluable work experience. They also contributed to the planning and devising of two discussion events that took place at the festival, entitled: ‘Are iPads the new school books?’ and ‘What are we eating?’
Bath Festivals’ young people who achieved the Bronze Award are keen to continue their Arts Award journey with the Silver Award demonstrating the positive impact the award has had on their lives.
‘Arts Award is a good thing to get into because it helps you realise that art comes in different shapes and sizes, and it can be inspirational; seeing all of the things that great artists do is intoxicating. Arts Award isn’t a project where people will constantly remind you of what they think is correct, it is a chance for you to show your knowledge of the arts and go out to places to see your favourite arts in the making!’ Harrison, Young Curator and Bronze Arts Award achiever
‘The Young Curators project has provided our pupils with a voice in the world of their literature, a world in which previously they were only consumers. Not only did they share their love of books but they developed their understanding of the wider world of literature, from event design, marketing and management to the process of writing and publishing. They developed their communication skills, their confidence and their ability to work effectively in a variety of teams. They were challenged by the tasks and opportunities to meet writers and the public, experiencing first-hand the thrill and demand of speaking publicly and managing the needs of the guest writers and their public. These young people have had a fantastic and life-enhancing experience which they will never forget and it will contribute to their own future success.’ Lindsey Thompson, Head of English, Wellsway School, Keynsham
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BY: Alan Lynch