This month we’re looking at pathways into the arts, including insights from different organisations and how their work leads young people to discover themselves as artists, or even prepares them for a career in the arts.
Our latest blog comes from Emma Maudsley, and looks at how her Brownie unit’s creativity was explored through their Arts Award journey.
Our region, Girlguiding North West England, has just introduced Arts Award to their members and as part of this I decided to work towards Arts Award Explore with my Brownie unit.
The 5th Lancaster Brownies is a large unit, made up of 44 seven to ten-year olds. As a volunteer I knew embarking on this project was very ambitious, especially as we only meet with the girls one hour a week. But this is Girlguiding… and we can do anything!
To kick-start our Arts Award journey, the girls took part in a jewellery making workshop. The Brownies were overwhelmed with beautiful beads and the opportunity to use their own colour schemes to create headbands and keyrings. Throughout the term, we delivered a number of different creative sessions for the girls, with one of my favourites being the ‘junk modelling’ evening. For this, we dug out all the crafty bits and pieces from our store cupboard, piled them all into the centre of the room and let the girls run riot with their creativity.
We explored different art forms, including a dancing session with a teacher from a local dance school in which the girls learned a Bollywood routine. This was a fabulous unique experience, as a lot of the girls hadn’t done it before.
For our Part C (create), we decided to make soft toys. After a week of designing and planning we invited an army of mums to help oversee the sewing and cutting. We definitely needed the help as there were so many girls undertaking the award; many who hadn’t sewn before. But after a bit of half term homework we had 44 completed soft toys!
Before we knew it, we were heading for moderation. This was a time to share all our experiences and learning from the last few months and an opportunity to showcase all the fabulous creative activities we’d completed. Going through all the logbooks reinforced what an amazing qualification Arts Award is. Whether a girl was 7 or 10, they had all achieved a wonderful collection of evidence, having participated in everything to the very best of their abilities.
We are a very diverse unit with girls from different ethnic and social backgrounds, but creativity cuts through all of this. The hard work they each put in to achieve their Arts Award puts them all on a level playing field and it was a real pleasure to see them receive their certificates.
One of the best parts of this experience was realising how creative my Brownies are in their own free time. We asked parents to provide photos of their daughters for their log books showing them participating in creative activities. We have dancers, musicians, artists, singers, actors and many more hidden talents… they truly are a creative bunch!