Creative learning opportunities inspired by British Art Show 9 and Arts Award

Creative learning opportunities inspired by British Art Show 9 and Arts Award

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BY: Guest Writer
21 Jul 2022

Becky Thompson, Arts Award Manager and British Art Show 9 Learning Engagement Manager at Arts Connect, shares with us how over 300 young people achieved a Discover or Bronze Arts Award as part of their experiences of British Art Show 9, a national visual art show exhibiting in Wolverhampton, in 2022. This is a great example of how groups can be supported to respond to an exhibition in different ways and how this can count towards Arts Award.

Arts Connect is a development agency connecting and supporting communities across the West Midlands, to enable children and young people (from 0-25) to enjoy a rich and meaningful arts and cultural life. We deliver the Bridge programme in the West Midlands for Arts Council England and we are part of the Faculty of Arts, Business and Social Sciences at the University of Wolverhampton.

In 2020 we started working with local schools and arts and cultural organisations in the West Midlands to develop the Inspired by British Art Show 9 Arts Connect Learning Programme shaped around this nationally acclaimed art show that would be exhibiting in Wolverhampton in 2022. I knew straight away that Arts Award would be a great way to support teachers to structure and add value to their British Art Show 9 projects and create opportunities for young artists to develop their creative skills.

Bespoke Arts Award logbooks for schools across the region
Our first goal was to create unique Arts Award resources inspired by British Art Show 9 that would guide teachers and students on their Discover and Bronze Art Award journeys. We worked with two amazing illustration students from the University of Wolverhampton to design the resources which also formed a module of their illustration course.

‘We created logbooks that will engage, excite, empower and encourage young people on their creativeFibbersley Discover journey through their Arts Award.’
India Birtwistle, Illustration Student at The University of Wolverhampton.

The resources were created as free, hard-copy and downloadable which made them accessible for teachers across the West Midlands.

Fibbersley Discover in ME spaceOne of the schools who made use of the resources was Fibbersley Park Academy in Willenhall, Walsall. Year 5 and 6 students used the British Art Show 9 inspired Discover Arts Award maps to guide their Arts Award journey whilst visiting the show and taking part in a creative workshop.

Will Dewar, Teacher and Creative Arts Leader at Fibbersley Park Academy in Willenhall, Walsall said: ‘My class and children have absolutely loved visiting British Art Show 9. Having these resources to work with, having that hands-on opportunity to create, is really valuable and we will be able to use these when we’re back at school.’

Above left image of Fibbersley Park Academy students during their exhibition and above right a close up of a British Art Show 9 inspired Discover Arts Award log book.

Equipping schools to achieve Arts Award using British Art Show 9Thorns Collegiate Academy 1
We wanted to help as many schools as possible to explore British Art Show 9 and use Arts Award as a framework for their activities, so we provided training and funding to eight local secondary, SEND and primary schools to support teachers to embed Arts Award within their activity plans.

Thorns Collegiate Academy 2Year 10 students at Thorns Collegiate Academy in Dudley undertook Bronze Arts Award as part of their British Art Show 9 inspired projects; they worked with a local artist to create visual and digital contemporary artwork for Part A and explored the artwork and themes of British Art Show 9 for Parts B and C. This project formed an important part of the schools Artsmark application.

Images of Thorns Collegiate Academy artwork: cans (left) and banner (right).

Arc School Old Arley, a specialist day school near Nuneaton, Warwickshire, joined the Inspired byArc School Old Arley 2 British Art Show 9 Arts Connect Partner Schools Programme and used British Art Show 9 to inspire their Silver Arts Award programme. As part of this, they worked with local artist Mark Riley to explore contemporary art thinking and making techniques.

Mark said: ‘Young people brought in three objects that they felt represented themselves so that they could explore ideas about their identity. They photographed these objects and then used clay to re-create a simplified version, finally setting the clay object into crystal resin. The aim of the work was to give students the feeling that these ordinary objects, that represented themselves, had become something special and important.’

Arc School Old Arley 1Hazel Wills, Art and Design teacher at Arc School, said: ‘Pupils at our school find it very challenging to investigate the identity of others and themselves. Visiting the British Art Show 9 show really opened their eyes to the possibilities of communicating this through art.’

Images of artwork by Arc School Old Arley

We also partnered with the Children’s University and three local primary schools who were able to gain Discover Arts Award and three stamps towards their Children’s University passport by visiting British Art Show 9 and taking part in contemporary art activities linked to the exhibition.

Celebration of the students’ responses
All students that created artwork inspired by British Art Show 9 were invited to exhibit their artwork as part of a public exhibition at the University of Wolverhampton and Wolverhampton Art Gallery in the Inspired by British Art Show 9 Young Artists Showcase which took place in 2022 and was opened by Cold War Steve, a renowned local artist.

Through Arts Connect’s Inspired by British Art Show 9 Learning Programme, over 300 young people have gained their Discover or Bronze Arts Award.

You can learn more about the Inspired by British Art Show 9 Arts Connect Learning Programme on the Arts Connect website.

Access our Bronze 'off the shelf' support resource
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