Apps are a great way of bringing the arts to young people in a way that’s accessible, immersive and – even better – free! They offer experiences which might otherwise be out of reach, letting curious artists in Britain view a gallery in New York. They can turn everyday devices into mobile film or recording studios. It’s also a great way of bringing together different organisations and art forms, helping to meet The Cultural Education Challenge.
Here are five apps that we think work really well alongside Arts Award.
Gamar is an award-winning DIY platform that allows museums and cultural organisations to create incredible interactive tours using pioneering 3D augmented reality technology. Arts Award participants can use the Gamar app whilst visiting a participating arts or cultural venue. For example, they might explore the Parthenon Gallery at the British Museum through the ‘Gift for Athena’ game. As they play the specially designed augmented reality game, they learn about the parts of a Greek temple, the importance of Athena and how the Parthenon communicated and celebrated Athens’ greatness in the 5th century BC. Included in the game are opportunities to piece back together parts of a sculpture such as a jigsaw, focusing on its layers, shape and form and considering how the sculptor made the piece. Young people save screen shots from the game to use as evidence or download their work from the app to add to their log or portfolio.
An app, also available online, which takes young people through each section of an orchestra. Created for Britten 100 to celebrate Benjamin Britten’s centenary year this interactive guide is based around Britten’s piece The Young Person’s Guide to the Orchestra, using it as a starting point for young people to learn about the instruments involved; it even includes a game where you can create your own fugue! It could support participation in arts activities, or add to young people’s research into the work of artists.
Do you work in an area with limited access to the arts? Are the young people you work with unable to attend events or organisations in person, or would they like to explore arts exhibitions unavailable in this country? This is the app for you. Google Arts & Culture brings together a vast range of art works, collections, tours and performances from around the world. There are virtual tours of places like The National Gallery in London, or the Sydney Opera House, which allow anyone access to a host of art experiences no matter where they are.
Artsbox has been developed by Trinity College London as a way for young people to complete their Arts Awards online. The free app allows young people – and their advisers – to add photos, videos or audio files into their portfolios on the move. Evidence can also be shared and commented upon, making it easy for advisers to keep track of how portfolios are coming together. Once completed, everything can be assessed and moderated online which allows for a flexible approach to delivery.
One of our Good Practice Centres, Staffordshire Libraries, recently posted about their Artsbox experience.
For any young people struggling to plan an activity, Trello is a great tool that they can use to get organised. Trello allows users to create “cards” where they can add comments, attachments and checklists. The ability to add people to a particular group makes this app particularly useful for young people’s leadership projects in Silver and Gold. They can use Trello to support their planning; to delegate tasks and monitor their progress; to collaborate with others who might be leading on a different element of the project; and, crucially, to gather evidence. As comments and updates are recorded within the app – and associated website – young people’s work will be easily accessible when they need it.
These are only some of the many apps available, and more are emerging all the time – even as part of an Arts Award project! As museums, galleries, schools and others embrace digital technology the future promises some exciting and creative approaches to blending the arts and technology.