Case Study: Tameside Council Cultural Services
BY: Alan Lynch
05 Sep 2018
Tameside Council Cultural Services are a local authority in Greater Manchester. They have been offering Arts Award across the Tameside borough for under two years and have so far supported 9,000 children and young people to achieve awards. Arts Award is offered to community groups, primary schools and secondary schools, as well as independent organisations working with young people.
Tameside offer Arts Award to a range of young people, so they have developed bespoke Arts Award logs to support the specific needs of the organisations and young people that they work with.
Working in partnership with the National Theatre and The Lowry, Tameside Council Cultural Services created a bespoke Arts Award log to coincide with the production of War Horse. Six primary and three secondary schools were involved in the project, with over 500 pupils achieving their Arts Award.
Stone Soup, a local arts based organisation, led on the delivery of Arts Award to schools involved in the War Horse inspired project. The project involved a variety of arts workshops relating to the themes of War Horse delivered in the schools, meeting Part A (inspire) of Explore. There were workshops in both performance and visual arts. To achieve Part B (explore), all children and young people watched the National Theatre’s production of War Horse and were able to find out and research more about the arts organisation they visited, The Lowry. For Part C (create) the students were involved in creating their own performance as a response to seeing War Horse. This involved them creating their own script, costumes, set, puppets, etc and performing this to an audience. Part D (present) was met through evaluation sessions with the children and young people, watching back their process and performance (which had both been filmed) and reflecting on this to each other.
Tameside also worked with 12 schools from across the borough on a bespoke Arts Award Discover log, relating to Scamp Theatre and Fiery Angels' one man production of the First World War play, Private Peaceful. Visits to see the play at the Manchester Opera House were enriched by Tommy Atkins, a costumed interpreter, who facilitates Tameside’s living history workshops.
Private Peaceful, by Michael Morpugo, relives the life of Private Tommo Peaceful, a young First World War soldier awaiting the firing squad at dawn. Throughout this project, class teachers had to tackle difficult discussions in response to the performance and its content. Handling this subject matter was made more powerful and accessible through the use of the Arts Award framework. As a result of the project, 500 children have achieved Arts Award Discover, and Tameside Council Cultural Services has strengthened relationships with each of the 12 schools who engaged.
To deliver its Arts Award offer, Tameside Council Cultural Services has worked with a number of organisations including; Stone Soup, National Theatre, The BBC, The Halle, Public Health Tameside and Environmental Services. They have also worked with Arts Award Supporters Hyde Festival Theatre, Oldham Coliseum and The Lowry.
A particular highlight of Tameside's Arts Award offer was Armed Forces Day in Victoria Park, Denton. This is an annual event run by Tameside Cultural Services. Joey, the horse from the National Theatre's production of War Horse, was at the event which was a huge surprise for those who attended.
Arts Award has added value to Tameside Council Cultural Services’ cultural offer and has been enthusiastically taken up by schools and other community based organisations. Prior to offering Arts Award, Tameside's service area did not work significantly within formal education. Arts Award has provided a platform for engaging with schools and enabled the service to have a far greater offer for young people in the area.
From schools, to The Scouts Association, community and church groups, Arts Award has given Tameside Council Cultural Services the opportunity to enable and empower staff and young people to engage in the arts and culture.
The service's delivery of Arts Award is still new to the area, but staff feel that it has enabled them to make a valued contribution to the borough's young people. A five year strategic plan will enable Tameside Council Cultural Services to deliver their offer to an even wider audience.
'As part of my role as Education Manager, what has always remained a priority for me and our team is having a creative and cultural offer for the young people within our borough. Arts Award has supported and assisted with this delivery, and without it our offer would not have the added value that Arts Award brings. It has revolutionised our approach' - Tracy Webster, Education Manager, Tameside Council Cultural Services
'Arts Award has become a major element of our work at Tameside Council Cultural Services. In a borough where cultural participation has historically been much lower than we would hope, Arts Award has provided us with a structure which is helping us bring about change in Tameside. We have had an amazing response from schools and community leaders and now have in excess of 8,000 children engaged, with many more due to join the journey. Arts Award has provided renewed focus on the range of high quality arts opportunities we provide and also on a network of artists and cultural organisations with whom we are now able to network to provide such experiences. Our partnerships with organisations such as the National Theatre and the BBC were something we could only dream of 18 months ago and now these are regular opportunities for young people.' - Emma Varnam, Head of Culture, Tameside Council Cultural Services
'Stone Soup are a local arts based organisation, who use creativity to support development through digital and performing arts. We have supported Tameside Council Cultural Services throughout 2013/14, by delivering and coordinating elements of Arts Award across the borough. We have been delivering Arts Award for a number of years and the momentum which is gathering pace in Tameside is so refreshing to see and we are privileged to play a part in it. Over the past year we have helped hundreds of children and young people from Tameside to achieve their Arts Award.' - Lee Brennan, Director, Stone Soup
'I have welcomed Arts Award for my students because it lies hand in hand with their performance work. It encourages them to contemplate the work of others within the whole production rather than thinking solely about their own contribution.' - Sarah England, Principal, Sarah England School of Dance