We continue to explore Pathways into the Arts this month with Chloe Hughes, Engagement Lead at Cornwall Museums Partnership. Chloe shines a light on the great work conducted her organisation, particularly focusing on using Gold Arts Award as a framework to introduce young people to careers in museums.
Cornwall Museums Partnership is one of Art Council England’s National Portfolio Organisations, helping to develop and manage collaborative programmes of work which are designed to support museums engage with more people. One of our key aims is to help museums work with and reach more people, including younger people, who we know are key to the future sustainability of museums. That’s why we’re working with museums across Cornwall to support more young people achieve an Arts Award through museums. We feel that Arts Award is a great way to get young people who might not usually visit, into museums as it offers creative new experiences and the ability to achieve a valued qualification.
This year, through a collaboration with St Ives School of Painting and Cornwall College, we are working with young people to help them achieve a Gold Arts Award through activities taking place at Wheal Martyn, Falmouth Art Gallery and Penlee House Museum and Gallery.
The young people taking part in the project are currently studying UAL Level 3 Art and Design courses at Cornwall College, where their in-house Creative Futures team are now embedding Gold Arts Award into the curriculum as part of the study programme to offer a tangible framework for the employability elements of the course. Arts Award not only supports their young people’s progression into creative careers, but also provides experiences that open up their thinking around what those careers could be.
The Gold Arts Award has been supported by Cornwall College through their ESF-funded Cultivator Programme at St Ives School of Painting, where young people have been developing their life drawing skills led by two local artists to push their own arts practice and hone their observational skills. The impact of the partnership has been such a great success that it has resulted in Gold Arts Award now being embedded in all creative courses at Cornwall College Camborne and St Austell.
For Unit Two the students are now leading on creative projects at Wheal Martyn, Falmouth Art Gallery and Penlee House, all of which directly help new people to take part in or experience what the museums and galleries have to offer. Students are leading on inter-generational activities aimed at engaging both visitors to the museum and others in the community through outreach programmes. There’s also a marketing campaign using jigsaws inspired by objects on display, which will be tested as a way of encouraging local visitors.
We are passionate about using Arts Award and the benefits it offers both to young people and to museums. We want more young people to be excited by museums – whether they see them as a potential career, as inspiration for other art forms or simply as great places to visit. Essentially, we want more young people visiting and getting involved in everything museums have to offer.
For the participating museums young people bring fresh thinking, a new approach to designing products and experiences and time to test these with different audiences. They reinvigorate and reimagine our collections and communicate these with more people in new and different ways. Working in partnership has meant we can offer more opportunities than any of us could offer individually, as we can share the resources between us. This has also provided the young people with a richer experience whilst completing their award, as they have been involved with more organisations throughout and produced work that will be used as part of the visitor and learning experience at each of the museums.
The project has also increased our confidence in delivering Gold Arts Award opportunities for the future. It has allowed us to trial and test ways of working and act as a sounding board for one another as we expand our Gold Arts Award offer later in the year. We also have adviser training planned for this year which will enable a wider range of the staff at museums in Cornwall to be able to facilitate more young people through their Arts Award.
Arts Award makes sense - for young people, for colleges, for cultural organisations and particularly for museums. Arts Award is now firmly embedded into our work and we have ambitious plans for the future – watch this space!