‘But Miss, how do we actually do it?’ Making Arts Award happen in your school

Laura Shepherd, Arts Award Adviser at Queen Elizabeth School in Lancashire (Good Practice Centre 2015-16), shares how they approached running Bronze, Silver and Gold in her school this year

AA good practice centre logo 2015-16

“But Miss…… how do we ACTUALLY do it…..??”

This is a question that I get asked on a regular basic from my Arts Award groups and even more so since we have began investigating how to develop our status and identity within the community as part of the Good Practice Centre programme.  But the wonderful thing about Arts Award is my reply is more often than not: “I’m not too sure, why don’t you work it out…”

IMG_3290After our Community Event (part of the GPC year) we had endless ideas about how we can develop relationships with local artists and what can be done to raise the profile of not only Arts Award itself, but also the art forms in which we explore. But which ideas are the most effective?

Advisers meetings, Artist speed dating events, free events, face painting, dance workshops, working in primary schools, exhibitions and work displays are just a few of the ideas that my young people thought of.  I spent a number of hours working out the logistics, what could be done at what costs, with which resources and what staff when I realised, this isn’t about me; this is about the young people.  So at this point I turned back to them and asked, “but folks……how do we ACTUALLY do it….??”

It seemed to ignite a new passion, whether it was because there was potential for bossing me around or because they enjoyed stepping up to the challenge, but we soon developed our main aims for the next 5 months.  The four main strands were:

  • Exhibiting work created through Arts Award
  • Linking with local Primary Schools
  • Supporting other advisers
  • Creating an Adviser Hub

Settling on four areas allowed us to dedicate more time in each area and divide up the work.

Our Gold members took on the challenge of coordinating with Lancaster Arts, based at the IMG_5267University of Lancaster, to create an exhibition.  This was as part of Lancaster Arts community month called OPEN16.  It was a wonderful chance for the young people to display their own creations plus display artwork from local Primary Schools.

The Silver group took the opportunity to go and run their leadership project in a number of feeder Primary’s.  It was a Mayan art project with the end artworks evidenced as part of the Lancaster Arts exhibition.

The last two points came under my remit along with pointers suggested by the Bronzes.  I met with a number of newly trained advisers offering support, advice, areas of development and good practice ideas.  It was really lovely seeingIMG_5269 different ways that others are working in the community and the regular pit falls made by advisers.

Which brings me to the final event happening as part of my Good Practice Centre status.  I am holding an Arts Award Advisers Hub alongside Curious Minds Cumbria to offer support, standardization, best practice suggestions, brainstorming and bridge building.  I hope that from this we are able to continue the good work in our area and endeavor to ensure we are all centers of good practice.

And after a lot of hard work, many sleepless nights and numerous paper cuts that, ladies and gentlemen, is how Queen Elizabeth School ACTUALLY do it!

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