Case study: Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council
BY: Alan Lynch
05 Sep 2018
Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council are a local authority. Their cultural services team works closely with schools and the local community to support and develop arts provision and creative events. They strive to develop a reputation as a centre of excellence for creative talent and encourage community ownership of the local arts and creative opportunities. Their mission is to target priority areas to readdress the disparities in arts and cultural engagement and to increase engagement with vulnerable adults and disadvantaged young people.
In partnership with local schools, they have developed an out of school Craft Club supported by Arts Council England and UK Hand Knitting Association. Young people work towards Arts Award Discover through the programme. They are also delivering a year long programme to support children and young people from Supporting Leicestershire Families. This project will support 54 children from vulnerable families to achieve Arts Award Discover or Explore. They also work closely with Young Creative Hinckley who are a group of 13-19 year old emerging artists, fostering and developing new talent into the creative industries through Arts Award.
In collaboration with local schools, Craft Club aims to introduce more young people to yarn crafts including knitting, crochet and weaving. The programme runs over five weeks and children work towards Arts Award Discover by learning new yarn skills. Over the five weeks children make a series of textile squares which are then sewn together to make a blanket. Through a partnership with a local charity, the finished blankets are sent out to Africa for families in rural villages.
Part A (discover) of Discover is achieved through the children learning how to knit, crochet, finger knit and weave over the sessions. For Part B (find out) the children researched their favourite artist (in any art form) at home and brought in pictures and information for their arts logs. Textile artists were also invited to talk to the children. Part C (share) was met by the children sharing their findings with their peers during the club and also by holding an assembly in school to show what they had achieved over the five weeks and their finished blankets.
Hinckley and Bosworth Cultural Services’ year long programme for Supporting Leicestershire Families is delivered in partnership with The Creative Hinckley Partnership based at The Atkins Gallery, Hinckley. The programme aims to provide creative activities on a regular basis that will support a routine for the families and also aims to remove barriers to accessing the arts for children that would otherwise have limited access to arts and culture.
Children will work towards their Arts Award Discover over a six week project. Over the year there are six creative programmes, lasting for six weekly sessions. Each creative programme is themed to include therapeutic activities eg self-expression, drawing, ceramics, yarn crafts. Local artists are invited to talk to the children and the programme is delivered in a local art gallery which holds regular exhibitions, allowing children to be inspired and stimulated by the arts whilst working on their Arts Award. The children’s work is exhibited at the end of the programme in the gallery and families are encouraged to attend.
Hinckley and Bosworth Cultural Services encourage the children to use Arts Award logs (A3/A4 depending upon age) as a scrapbook or diary of their process, sticking and gluing evidence of their work as they go. To encourage ownership of their arts logs, advisers ask the children to draw self portraits on the front cover. Photographs are also taken in each session by the adviser and used as evidence throughout the arts logs.
Arts Award has enabled children and young people least engaged with the arts to discover and be inspired by the arts. Many children involved with the Craft Club have been involved with cascade learning where grandparents havehelped them to knit/crochet. Children have also taught their parents how to knit/crochet and teachers have informed the local authority that many continue to knit/crochet and weave at playtime in the playgrounds.
To date over 100 children aged 6-11 have achieved their Arts Award through Craft Club and six blankets have been sent out to Africa to families in rural villages.
The children involved with the year long programme for Supporting Leicestershire Families have been encouraged to learn new creative skills and visit local art galleries. Often these children have had no previous access to the arts and Hinckley and Bosworth Cultural Services have seen evidence of increased communication skills and wellbeing during these sessions. Some of the most withdrawn children have been more sociable and happy during the sessions as a direct result of creative activity.
Hinckley and Bosworth Cultural Services have received a high demand from schools for their pupils to be involved in the Craft Clubs, with a growing waiting list of schools in the area wanting to engage. As a result of this the local authority are also hoping to support more schools to train advisers and support them with delivering Arts Award in their settings.
‘I love being in a position as an Arts Award adviser to work with children and young people to open new doors and pathways to a creative world that can spark their imagination and allow them to express themselves through art. Supporting children and young people along this creative journey is immensely rewarding particularly if you can help to remove the barriers they may have previously had to accessing the arts.’ Jen Johnson, Arts Award adviser, Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council
‘I enjoyed the club because of the opportunity and what I have achieved doing crochet and knitting.’ Chloe, Arts Award Discover achiever
‘She has never really been keen to attend any after schools clubs but really looks forward to Craft Club’ Parent of Craft Club participant and Arts Award Discover achiever
‘He has really enjoyed the club and can’t wait to get home and show me what he can do’ Parent of Craft Club participant and Arts Award Discover achiever