Tips for creating personalised digital portfolios

Tips for creating personalised digital portfolios

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BY: Guest Writer
22 Apr 2024

Continuing our portfolio building and creative evidencing theme on the blog throughout April, we hear from Kim Hutchinson, founder and Director of Arty Artisans who tells us how she encourages young people in her visual arts-focussed groups to create digital portfolios which are unique and individual.

At Arty Artisans I deliver Bronze, Silver and Gold Arts Award to home educated young people, both through live online sessions and in person. I provide creative, individual and personalised learning and development opportunities for anyone to participate in; in group settings and/or one-to-one. I give young people opportunities to explore their own creativity in a safe, relaxed and supportive environment.

My art sessions are very much individually-led as I am passionate about giving my students the freedom to be expressive and unique. The young people choose their topic/theme based on their interests and passions, which forms the basis of their Arts Award portfolio whilst developing their art skills, understanding and knowledge within the visual arts. Arts Award is a great opportunity for young people who are engaged in alternative education, as it enables their achievements to be formally recognised through gaining a qualification and they produce a portfolio of work they are proud of. Through their Arts Award journeys the young people I’ve worked with have grown in confidence, ability and understanding of a subject they enjoy.

One of the aspects of how I deliver Arts Award to home educated children is that the young people within the online groups work independently to each other, which means they are all working on different levels, Units and Parts of Arts Award whilst being part of a group. This approach results in vibrant, creative, personal and independent outcomes. It also creates an interesting space to learn, build confidence and share their portfolio developments. This gives precedent to the ethos of how every individual approach, idea and opinion matters, and pays homage to the sentence I use a lot ‘there is no wrong way in the world of art; art is personal, individual and expressive to the individual who creates it’.

My approach also allows the group to be very diverse in subject matter and portfolio direction and every young person’s portfolio is personal to them. Within one group there will be young people working on portfolios based on a range of topics, themes and subject matter. For example, young people will be exploring and developing their knowledge, understanding and skills in interior design, photography, fine art, illustration, tattoo design, digital art, animation, ceramic and textiles all within one group. I enjoy guiding the young people as they create personal, unique, meaningful and high-quality digital portfolios that are individual to the young person.

Not only are the young people developing their skills, knowledge and understanding of the visual arts but they are also developing their computer literacy skills by creating their own digital portfolios. Some of the digital platforms that have been used include Google Drive (specifically Google Slides) and website developing using Some young people are also developing social media awareness by using platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. In this way, young people develop their awareness of the digital space and how to use this in a safe, positive, constructive and professional way and as a tool for developing and building their skills.

The portfolio building and log book templates available to download for free from the Arts Award resource library are a fantastic starting point and help provide a clear structure to build and guide a young person's exploration and experimentation within the visual arts as well as making sure all the evidence requirements for each part are covered. The templates can be used to help plan, research, reflect and evaluate. Below are some examples of how young people have used them within their digital portfolio and also in their sketchbooks.

I am passionate and enthusiastic about ensuring all young people create unique and individual art work and portfolios. I find that starting with Part C of Bronze (arts inspiration), Unit 1 Part D of Silver (Arts Research) and Unit 1 Part C of Gold (research practitioners) really facilitates this. It gives me a real insight and understanding as to what the young person is interested in and who/what inspires them. This in turn lends itself beautifully when guiding and assisting the young person. It also helps them individually when they start to think about what they want to do when exploring the arts as a participant, setting their arts challenges and/or planning their own arts practice.

For further inspiration on creating digital portfolios, check out the examples on Arts Award Voice and this blog post about digital portfolio platforms.


Using the Bronze portfolio building templates in a digital portfolio

33Using the Gold portfolio building templates in a digital portfolio


Sketch book example

3 (24)

Sketch book example

All images by Arty Artisans

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