Case Study: Brighton and Hove City Council Youth Arts Project

Case Study: Brighton and Hove City Council Youth Arts Project

Picture of Alan Lynch

BY: Alan Lynch
05 Sep 2018

Brighton and Hove City Council Youth Arts Project is part of Brighton and Hove City Council Youth Service. They have been delivering Arts Award across the city for more than five years. Over 100 young people have achieved awards to date, with the centre offering opportunities in a wide range of art forms from music, to photography and theatre.

Two art clubs and a youth theatre run each week and all participants are offered the opportunity to do Arts Award. The centre also offers an ‘Arts Award in a week’ summer school.

‘We deliver Arts Award one to one with targeted young people and also at a local sixth form college to young people with learning disabilities. I think that our strength lies in the variety of ways that we deliver the award. We are able to work with young people in the way that most suits them. This approach enables us to access a wide range of young people’ - Julia Box, Arts Award adviser and Youth Arts Development WorkerBrighton and Hove City Council Youth Arts Project Pic1


The ‘Arts Award in a week’ summer school enables young people to achieve Bronze Arts Award across five days. This is delivered in collaboration with Brighton Museum and Art Gallery who offer a free venue and an ideal creative learning environment.

The programme runs for a maximum of 10 young people, many of whom have been referred through other agencies such as the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS) and Mind.

For Part A (explore the arts as a participant), young people take part in a variety of art and drama workshops including comedy improvisation, animation, printing and stage make up. Advisers photograph the young people taking part in activities for their portfolios.

As the project is based in the museum, the museum exhibitions are used as the arts event for Part B (explore the arts as an audience member). A recent exhibition was about Brighton and Hove during World War 1, so participants gained the WWI Special Edition Arts Award certificates. Brighton and Hove Youth Arts have created a template for young people to use in the museum which ensures they think about what they like and dislike about the exhibition and that they share their views with others.

On the first day of the summer school, participants are informed about Part C (arts inspiration) so that they can start thinking about their ideas straight away and begin carrying out research. Young people receive a template with a variety of questions to think about when researching their arts inspiration to ensure they are meeting the evidence requirements.Brighton and Hove City Council Youth Arts Project Pic2

On the last day in the morning each participant plans and delivers an activity to the rest of the group for Part D (arts skills share). This may be a drama game, art exercise or something else of their choice. Young people use the Part D templates from the adviser hub for the planning and evaluation of the sharing session. They also have a feedback sheet so that each participant can give feedback to their peers.

Participants have literacy difficulties and others may have a learning disability statement so advisers offer a variety of ways for the young people to evidence their Arts Award journey. These include scribing for a young person, making voice recordings and using video. The centre has a high ratio of staff to young people, so that they can give extra support, providing evidence of participation and reflection.

‘We find templates a really useful way to guide the young people through all aspects of the award and ensure that they provide suitable evidence that is clear to the moderator and meets the criteria to pass the level’. - Julia Box, Arts Award adviser and Youth Arts Development Worker


Brighton and Hove City Council Youth Arts Project works with a wide range of young people including those with mental health issues, some who are isolated and have social phobias and some who love the arts and come along to attend the regular clubs. Arts Award gives participants a solid recognition of their achievements and in some cases, is the only national accreditation they have received. The boost in confidence this gives is immeasurable.

Mike’s story - The centre first worked with Mike when he was 11 years old at a local school on an estate in Brighton. The school was closing down and the centre was asked to deliver drama workshops to support the pupils in their transition to new schools.

When he was 14, Mike joined one of the weekly art clubs run by the centre and eventually completed Bronze and Silver Arts Awards. At 18 he decided that he would like to start Gold. He showed an interest in youth work and in particular youth arts, so he began to volunteer with the youth service.

Mike completed his Gold Arts Award and since that time he has been employed by the Brighton and Hove City Council Youth Service as a part-time youth worker. He delivers youth work in a couple of different clubs and also works with the Youth Arts Project delivering Arts Award to other young people. Taking part in Arts Award was life changing for Mike as he gained self confidence and self esteem, undertook other training and is now a paid youth worker.

‘One young woman with a learning disability volunteered with us for a year and by the end of that time she completed her Gold Arts Award. She went on to do a couple of arts based college courses and has gone from strength to strength since starting her Bronze Award aged 16.’ - Julia Box, Arts Award adviser and Youth Arts Development Worker.

‘Being able to offer accreditation to the young people we work with is high on our agenda and forms part of our Children's Service's Plan to offer safe spaces, educational opportunities and high quality activities for young people with special needs.’ - Sue Feighery, Youth Service Practice Manager

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