Using the arts to achieve #DofEWithADifference

Using the arts to achieve #DofEWithADifference

Picture of Annabel Thomas

BY: Annabel Thomas
10 May 2020

For the last few years Arts Award has been a proud Approved Activity Provider for The Duke of Edinburgh's Award (DofE), meaning that young people can link their Arts Award to DofE and that Arts Award is a recognised activity as part of the skills section of DofE.

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We know that many schools and youth groups run DofE and Arts Award, and the transferrable 21st century skills which both opportunities develop are vital to ensuring that young people leave education supported and well prepared for their future lives.

During the Coronavirus pandemic, DofE, like Arts Award, has been exploring how they can continue to support young people to achieve as much of their DofE as possible while being at home, and we fully support this.  In fact, many levels of Arts Award can be completed almost entirely from home! Our blog looking at how you can achieve Bronze Arts Award remotely provides lots of ideas for how you might be able to achieve this while schools, youth groups and other activities are not accessible.


What is particularly exciting about #DofEWithADifference for young people completing an Arts Award, is that they may be able to achieve both their Skills section, and their Volunteering section. To recognise that young people don’t have the same opportunities as usual available to them at the moment, DofE is allowing them to volunteer remotely or by teaching siblings or other household members. This ties really nicely with Bronze Arts Award Part D, or even a Silver Arts Award Unit 2 project. Young people can pass on and teach an arts skill for Bronze Part D, and if they are working towards Silver this is a great way to achieve their Unit 2 at home. Some of the ways to achieve this might involve: leading a series of art workshops, dance classes, or other creative lessons for siblings or household members and broadcasting these online to a group. Many young people are also group leaders for Scouts, Guides or Youth Theatres. They could lead a workshop programme online for these groups and achieve their Arts Award and Skills and Volunteering sections for DofE in one go!

Arts Award, at its core, encourages individual personal development in the arts. Young people don’t need to be experts in an art form, and don’t need to have any prior experience for Discover-Silver levels. This means it provides a great framework for creativity at home, featuring clearly structured steps to guide young people through their creative journey.

By achieving Arts Award, young people are not only developing arts skills and an understanding of the arts world, but they also acquire important life skills such as communication, resilience and metacognition (the skill of learning how to learn and self-reflection which is vital for success in any subject). Linking Arts Award to DofE means that young people get a truly rounded experience by developing or starting a new arts skill, haveing the opportunity to give back to their community, and pushing themselves to achieve this through their DofE excursion.

Young people looking to achieve their Arts Award will need to be supported by an Arts Award adviser. Many schools and youth groups already offer Arts Award, and our Arts Award Supporters are a good starting place to find local support. For more guidance, contact the Arts Award team. If you are aged 18+ and would like to train as an Arts Award adviser, we’d love to hear from you!

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