Collaborating with circus performers for Arts Award with Creative Briefs

Collaborating with circus performers for Arts Award with Creative Briefs

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BY: Guest Writer
16 Jan 2024

In this blog we hear from Project Manager, Yasmin Holmes, at Creative Briefs, and young designers in their Junior Design Factory . They share how they collaborated on a live design brief with circus performers, roller-skaters and even dancing hippos and share tips for compiling written evidence for neurodiverse young people. Creative Briefs is a Trinity Champion Centre that offers specialist support for neurodiverse young people - particularly those with dyslexia. The centre has delivered Explore, Bronze, Silver, and Gold Arts Awards. 

In September 2023, Creative Briefs’ young designers at the Junior Design Factory were set a Live Design Brief from Freedom Festival Arts Trust, an Arts Award Supporter in Hull, to become ‘Exclusive Freedom Festival Reporters’.

‘Our live design brief included a workshop from Freedom Festival Arts Trust CEO, Mikey Martins, about how the festival is managed - which helped me with my Gold Arts Award (Unit 1, Part B and Unit Unit 2, Part A, B, C & D) as I was able to ask questions relating to organising my own arts events’ - Josh, Arts Award Gold achiever

Mikey also shared his career journey - from being an escapologist and street performer to organising a festival with global performers, opening young people's eyes to the wider world of creative careers available to them.

Their brief also included interviewing a range of international performers - such as ‘Zum Zum Teatre’ and their dancing hippos, ‘Collectif Malunes’ and their acrobatic circus troupe, and ‘Primus’ a rollerskating, unicycling duo, alongside many others’.hippos performing Zum Zum Teatre

The live brief built confidence skills for young people who interviewed performers from across the world, and also built literacy skills by formatting interview questions and recording facts and information as part of the event.

Compiling written evidence can be challenging for neurodiverse young people. Our team and their young designers share their top tips in evidencing their experiences:

  • Podcasts are best for me, I forget it’s being recorded and can talk about my ideas however I like. Especially knowing there are no wrong answers.’
  • Supporting their youth-voice is key - asking ‘Why?’ helps young designers explain what they have learnt - and making sure questions are broken into smaller parts helps them to process their thoughts’
  • Asking questions straight away after they have experienced the events helps our young designers answer the questions naturally. If they have to read from notes, even later in the day, they can get frustrated with the task’

‘This has definitely helped his vocabulary, thinking, and reasoning as the process has made him think more about his Arts Award portfolio, and give reasons for his decisions’ - Parent


The success of working with an Arts Award Supporter has allowed us to plan these activities into future programmes, including our ‘Creative Thinkers in the Classroom’ project funded by Paul Hamlyn Foundation, supporting neurodiverse young people in schools across Hull to achieve their Explore & Bronze Arts Award alongside their peers in full-class settings - with real-world industry experts and by taking part in meaningful arts events within the curriculum.

Alongside this, we plan to incorporate this learning into our work with Artful Alliance - an initiative to support looked-after young people with North Yorkshire Virtual School through trauma-informed arts-practices.

Our programmes all aim to build confidence and raise aspirations about careers in the creative industries. Our team is made up of qualified teachers, creative industry professionals and those with lived experience of neurodiversity - and they work to connect young people to meaningful projects that build real-world creative industry skills.

You can listen to the young people’s reviews for their Bronze, Silver and Gold Arts Award portfolios here.

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