Tips for creating a hard copy Bronze portfolio

Tips for creating a hard copy Bronze portfolio

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BY: Guest Writer
11 Mar 2024

This week on the blog, Director of Arts Award Initiative, Carol Leach offers some tips and strategies you could use when supporting young people to create a hard copy Arts Award Bronze portfolio within the duration of a holiday club/school. However, Carol’s advice can be applied to any delivery style of Bronze Arts Award and is especially useful if your young people enjoy taking part in arts activities but are reluctant to create a portfolio.

At Arts Award Initiative, we deliver Arts Award to all young people online and for almost 20 years we have been offering art clubs and holiday schools. We provide extensive, supported, online study opportunities for anyone to participate in and work towards achieving an Arts Award. We give young people opportunities to explore their own creativity in a safe, sheltered and supportive environment.

Imagine your feeling of achievement! Your last holiday school was a resounding success, with brilliant art sessions, and exciting trips to local galleries. The young people created excellent posters of inspiring artists (Part C), and their Part D Skills Share projects were almost professional! They communicated and collaborated to create an end-of-school exhibition of their work, and the parents loved everything and couldn’t praise you enough.

It was all so good…

However, it’s 3 months later and not one of the young people has produced anything that resembles a Bronze Arts Award portfolio!

If you can identify with the scenario I’ve outlined; rest assured you’re not alone. Amidst the excitement of creative activities, it can be hard to encourage young people to complete portfolios and collect evidence. However, with these tips, you’ll find that you’re able to capitalise on their enthusiasm and get them interested in recording their achievements, as well as taking part in the hands-on activities.

If you are planning to accredit creative work at your holiday school with Bronze Arts Award, then my advice is that you build into your planning the work needed to achieve the award.

Once your portfolio template is completed, look at your activity schedule and include the following for Bronze Arts Award:

  1. Time after Part A (explore the arts as a participant) when young people can:
    • discuss their experiences,
    • share their artwork,
    • and answer the questions on the template to create a summary of what they learnt and how their interest, knowledge and skills have developed
  1. Time after Part B (explore the arts as an audience member) when young people can:Graffiti sheet comments from Bronze PD workshop
  • discuss their experiences
  • answer the questions on the template to create a review of the event where they reflect on the event/experience and the creative impact it had
  • share this review with others
  • don’t forget everyone who shares a review needs feedback on this review and a simple method is to create a graffiti sheet for everyone to scribble something, or give a feedback note from yourself
  1. For Part C (arts inspiration), your young people could make a poster, which involves writing and sticking! Preparation for Part C starts the day before you do it, as you should encourage all young people to enjoy some research time the night before. Whether the class votes to look at one artist, or they each choose their favourite artist. Bear in mind that some young people might need extra support from you with this. As the adviser, you should also aim to get familiar with their chosen artist. When it’s time to create the poster, you can present them with a template which could include:
    • Photos of the artist
    • Examples of their artists art (photos, lyrics, stills from movies etc)
    • Quotes from the artist, or about the artist
    • Facts about the artist’s arts practice, career, life and work
  1. For Part D (arts skills share), some young people might be reluctant to present their skills share in front of the whole group, so give them some options:
    • Break down a large group into pairs
    • Suggest small activities that require few materials, such as teaching how to sketch something
    • Ensure each young person completes a ‘planning’ page, and collects the materials they need to offer this skills share
    • Suggest the first of each pair delivers their skills share to the other
    • Have the second of the pair review this skills share on a graffiti sheet, while the first of each pair is clearing up after their skills share
    • The second young person can then repeat the process
    • If a young person is reluctant to undertake a ‘live’ skills share, then they could instead create a ‘how to’ guide (written, audio or video), which they can share with someone, who could then report back on whether they were able to learn the skill.

Working in this way will cover all the basic requirements of the Bronze Arts Award and should enable your young people to produce some great portfolios. You could choose to have a final exhibition of work, but this is not a requirement.

Here are a few ideas to help you encourage young people to create excellent portfolios during their time at your club:

  • There are lots of ways you could record the young people’s learning journey. Make sure you pick a form of evidencing that resonates with the individual, so they are more motivated to do it. Consider their age, ability, and the resources you have available.
  • Read through the latest edition of the adviser toolkit until you are familiar with all the evidence requirements and assessment criteria. Factor in time planning and look at creating milestones for completing the evidence of each Part within the duration of your holiday club.
  • Visualise what you think the perfect Bronze Arts Award portfolio should contain. Then think about what the young people have to do to create an Arts Award portfolio and what resources they will need to do this.

Writing about Bronze PA workshopArts Award offers some excellent resources to help you to create a perfect hard copy portfolio, you could:

  • Buy the arts log booklets available on the online Arts Award Shop – they are available for Discover, Explore and Bronze
  • Explore the adviser resource hub, where you will find free downloadable log book templates for Discover & Explore levels and portfolio building templates for Bronze

You could also create your own templates, charts and proformas, use sketch books or any other hard copy resource you can think of that works for you and your young people.

Here are my tips for using your own paper-based portfolio templates:

  • Create a template for the portfolio you want your group to complete, personalise it and adapt it to suit the young people attending and the activities being offered
  • Create an advert for your holiday school where you fully describe every activity taking place, and add a copy of this advert to the front of the template
  • Leave plenty of space to add evidence (much of this is likely to be in the form of photographs)
  • Create a hard copy of this template for every young person attending

There is one more important thing you need to think about - evidence.

Even though cameras have probably been clicking all day, every day and the young people have been trying hard to capture everything, you will need to create a ‘safety net’ of photos to ensure all the required evidence is captured. You need to provide relevant evidence for every young person's learning journey. I would recommend that you take the following photographs, as a minimum:

Part A:

  • A photo of each young person working with the artist
  • A photo of each young person participating in their arts activity and with their artwork

Part B:

  • A group photo at the venue
  • A photo of each young person sharing their review with the group

Part C:

  • A photo of each young person creating their poster
  • A photo of each poster

Part D:

  • A photo of each young person leading their skills share
  • A photo of all artwork created in each skills share

If you have an exhibition of young people's work:

  • A photo of the exhibition
  • A photo of attendees at the exhibition
  • A photo of the comments on the graffiti sheet left at the exhibition

My final photography tip is to make a checklist of the photographs you need for each young person, so you don’t miss anyone out! Print these out, and the young people can add them to their portfolio.

Although these suggested preparations may feel like a lot of work initially, you too will soon reap rewards as your young people will more easily achieve their Arts Award through this structured approach. You will have the confidence to offer a holiday club which is both brilliant and successful.


Top right: Example of a graffiti sheet

Bottom right: Example of a Bronze arts log booklet available to buy from the Arts Award Shop

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