Celebrating Arts Award Achievement
BY: Guest Writer
11 Dec 2023
To round off the year, Louisa Clements, Learning Officer (Arts) at the Historic Dockyard Chatham shares with us how their young people complete Part C of Discover, by celebrating the achievements of their young people through events at the end of their projects. The young people generally surprise themselves with the confidence they have developed over the course of the programmes.
At the Historic Dockyard Chatham we run many different Arts Award programmes from Discover to Bronze level. We have been a Trinity Champion Centre for several years, running projects which contribute to our formal learning and outreach offers. Our Arts Award programmes take inspiration from the history of the Dockyard and cover a range of different art forms.
The Dockyard Project
The Dockyard Project is an Arts Award programme that was established eight years ago in collaboration with a local school. We have run the project many times with the school, and due to its level of success it has become a regular part of their academic year and has now been run with other local schools as well.
The project is aimed at young people in Year 7 and 8 who have been identified as needing additional support, lacking in confidence, having challenging behaviour, or being disengaged at school. Each week, the students attend with their parent or guardian in the hope that sessions will encourage both the students and their parents or guardians to see the value in positive educational experiences and develop a stronger relationship with each other and the school.
Each project lasts six weeks in total, with the students or parents attending sessions at the Dockyard for the first five weeks. During the sessions, the students work towards Arts Award Discover by taking part in creative workshops and activities inspired by the Dockyard and our collection. They learn about different art forms and visit our exhibitions to identify them (Part A), they tour the site and learn about the history of its fantastic buildings and warships and take part in creative workshops (Part A) to learn how artists and designers were involved in the history of the Dockyard (Part B).
On the final week of the project, the Dockyard staff visit the students at school as part of a celebration event. At this event, the students each deliver a presentation about their experience of taking part in the project. This is a key aspect of the programme, and the students work towards this during their sessions at the Dockyard by taking photos and recording what they get up to each week. Delivering these presentations also completes Part C of Arts Award Discover where they are required to share with each other what they enjoyed and learnt through doing their Discover.
Presentation day is a celebration, with parents or guardians attending along with members of the school Senior Leadership Team and Dockyard staff. Each student delivers their presentation and shares their Arts Award experience. The students are usually creative with their presentations - in the past we have seen some fabulous 3D posters, Tik-Tok posts and scrapbooks as well as PowerPoint presentations. Care is taken to ensure the students are aware that they are in a supportive environment, with a big round of applause for everyone. The school also provide lunch and cakes to make the students feel extra special and reward them for their hard work. At the end of the presentations, we present Dockyard Arts Award certificates to the young people. We also use the celebration event as an opportunity to collect feedback from the students, school, and parents/guardians, which is great as it allows everybody to reflect on the experience.
This celebration is a lovely event, and it’s amazing to see how the students have developed and built confidence over the duration of the six-week project. On many occasions we’ve seen students nervous about the prospect of a presentation on week one, but they then surprise themselves by delivering it with happiness and confidence on the final week which, to us, is the perfect result.
Photos by the Historic Dockyard Chatham, showing examples of some of the young people's presentations.