Introducing the Arts Award Annual Review 2018-19

Introducing the Arts Award Annual Review 2018-19

Picture of Diana Walton

BY: Diana Walton
09 Dec 2019

An annual review may not be your first choice when you want to relax with a cup of tea and a good read… but this one shares some great stories of young people creating art work and growing their lives through the arts.

An annual review is an attempt to sum up a year; to crystallise 12 months of activity into numbers and to share headlines from the year’s successes and developments. So, what do we take away from the Arts Award Annual Review 2018-19?

Annual Review front cover image FINALWhat the numbers tell us
Over 74,000 awards were made last year, making half a million awards since Arts Award was launched in 2005. Every young person achieving an award will have enjoyed taking part in arts activities, probably met an artist, likely seen a professional show and possibly led their own arts project.

So, Arts Award continues year on year to support more young people as participants, audiences and leaders. ‘Cultural citizens’ are the current buzz words for those who engage in the arts of their community. Arts Award has always supported young people to be cultural citizens: supporting young people to become aware of what’s on offer, gain new experiences and grow in confidence to identify and choose creative activities they enjoy.

Diving into those numbers, it’s good to find the following facts:

  • 25,000 awards were made in the 20% most deprived wards
  • There’s only a slight bias towards girls achieving rather than boys (53% / 47%)
  • A fair range of ethnic diversity can be seen from the monitoring information available
  • Despite the challenges facing arts education in schools this sector continues to represent 52% of Arts Award’s registered centres

One of Arts Award’s strengths is its flexibility which allows young people to explore several art forms: hence the Hollingworth_Academy-07largest art form category in which awards are achieved is ‘combined arts’. It’s interesting to note that music and visual arts, two national curriculum subjects, are ranked next, reflecting Arts Award’s foothold in schools. Of course, Arts Award also welcomes young people working in non-traditional art forms such as photography, website design or journalism which are often offered by arts and media organisations and may open the doors on new experiences outside the curriculum.

A pathway to careers…

Arts Award has always aspired to be a universal programme that can inspire one young person heading for a creative career and support another who feels excluded but is motivated by taking part in their chosen arts activity.

In this annual review we meet Grace Smith, now a successful young folk musician touring internationally after achieving her Gold Arts Award with Newcastle’s Juice Festival a few years back. She speaks about how Arts Award built up her leadership skills and led her towards running music workshops alongside her performances.

We also hear about The Wales Creative Industries Academy, in which the University of South Wales and eleven FE colleges are working together to provide creative challenges that stretch high achievers, raise their aspirations, and develop leadership skills, using Gold Arts Award to open the doors to career options.

…and an award for all

IMG_6945 editJust as exciting is the lively mural from a group of young travellers in Herefordshire who worked with a Romany poet to explore their culture and for whom Bronze Arts Award was their first qualification. And we glimpse an amusing rendering of Banksy’s work on a cushion by an innovative young woman at Kibble Care and Education Centre in Paisley, where Arts Award is integral to a wider achievement programme for young people who find more mainstream qualifications challenging.

The annual review points out that Arts Award has thrived for nearly 15 years by holding true to its core principles which place each young person at the heart of their own learning, connect young people with artists and cultural experiences and ensure that Arts Award is genuinely accessible. Read it to find out more.

Let’s finish by sending congratulations to all the young people who achieved their award last year and to the artists, teachers and youth workers who supported their journey!

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