This week we hear from Kate Simner, Education Projects Coordinator at Glyndebourne in Lewes who tells us all about how they created an online Arts Award offer focusing on opera.
Glyndebourne have been delivering Arts Award alongside our participatory opera projects for several years. From Discover Arts Award that can be completed during a backstage tour and workshop, up to Explore, Bronze and Silver attained by members of Glyndebourne Youth Opera as they rehearse and perform in a show.
We were really keen to create a structured, practical and creative offer that young people could engage with under lockdown (and beyond!) and so Glyndebourne’s Arts Award At Home was born. We offer Discover, Explore and Bronze Arts Award, allowing young people to self-select which level they want to aim for. Participants are then supported via detailed how-to checklists, specially-designed worksheets linked to our productions, and online meetings with a trained Arts Award adviser. We ask them to create an online portfolio which we can assess remotely and have created a private webspace for them to share work with each other. Worksheets and activities are designed to be completed independently with some parental support, giving an opportunity for self-led practice.
With some willing test subjects drawn from our Youth Opera, we have had great feedback so far! One parent noted: “The most brilliant bit was them being able to relate this back to what they are going through. It has given them another part of their toolkit to cope.”
One young person drew a diagram to explain how the COVID-19 situation has changed their life so far. We are actively using the worksheets to open up a space for dialogue to aid young people in talking to their parents or guardians about the current situation.
We took our first cohort on in May; advising the Discover candidates to complete an award in one to two weeks, Explore in three to four weeks and Bronze in six to eight weeks. These are our general guidelines but in reality will vary from child to child. Once the initial group for each level has completed their award, we will take on the next group. This will continue on a rolling basis and we are hopeful that we can facilitate a good number of young people during the lockdown period. The project could easily extend beyond this time, although we envision taking on smaller groups once other established projects are back up and running.
One of the challenges we have faced in the past has been chasing candidates to complete their portfolios - even when we were seeing them at weekly rehearsals! So we are anticipating this as a potential issue however hope to avoid it by being really clear upfront about expectations and workload, leading to us recruiting only those who are really keen and know exactly what the project entails.
The project has come together very quickly, partly because we have been able to re-use existing content to make it fit for purpose. For example, teaching resources that are already online have been adapted to speak directly to the child rather than the teacher and we have made use of online content such as streamed productions that can be watched at home. This is great learning for other organisations to mine their own existing content to see what can be adapted - you’d be surprised how much you already have in place that can work for a child isolating at home!
Explore www.glyndebourne.com/artsaward for more information