Arts Award at the Royal Albert Memorial Museum
“Thanks to the Bronze Arts Award course I feel more confident in experimenting with different types of art, and I’ve learnt many new things about the museum I didn’t know before. I also met a new bunch of friends!”
According to recent national figures, schools have increasingly limited quality access to the arts, and there has been a decline in the number of schools offering arts subjects such as music, drama, art, photography and dance. This is partly due to the introduction of the English Baccalaureate Certificate (EBacc) in 2010, as secondary school students can only choose one arts subject at GCSE.
Not everyone thrives in a traditional classroom, and RAMM provides a safe, welcoming and different environment for creative learning. Museum objects inspire and spark curiosity amongst young people regardless of background or age, and provide an ideal flexible base for arts activities and qualifications.
Arts Award can be offered at five levels: Discover, Explore, Bronze, Silver and Gold. Learners progress through all five levels, or start at the level most suited to them. Four of the levels are on the RQF (Regulated Qualifications Framework). Arts Award is managed by Trinity College London in association with Arts Council England, working with 10 regional bridge organisations that help connect the arts and cultural sectors with the education sector.
Bronze is the third level, which is a Level 1 qualification on the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) and is open to young people aged 11 to 25.
RAMM wanted to pilot its first Bronze Arts Award level with a group home-educated young people aged 11–14, who would have the flexibility and enthusiasm to attend most or all of the sessions over the course of 10 Tuesday afternoons. The museum has done very little targeted activity for the home education community in and around Exeter, especially for the secondary age group, so the programme was well received especially on
social media channels.
The pilot Bronze Arts Award course ran between January and March 2019 at RAMM with 10 young people. Each week offered something different, including object handling, meeting real artists, visiting the galleries, meeting an exhibition curator and learning new art forms and techniques.
To achieve a Bronze Arts Award, participants had to collect evidence in an individual arts log and sketchbook, including:
- Actively participating in an art form inspired by RAMM’s collections and exhibits, such as printmaking, clay, digital art or Indian ink.
- Having a guided tour of the Criminal Ornamentation contemporary art exhibition
at RAMM, and reviewing their experience of visiting the gallery.
- Researching the career and work of an artist or craftsperson of their choice.
- Passing on an arts skill to the rest of the group, which involved running their own hands-on workshop or giving a 20 minute presentation towards the end of the course.
RAMM moderated all the booklets and applied to Trinity College London for their Bronze Arts Award certificates over the Easter period. All 10 children achieved their award and received their certificates.
What do people say?
“My son enjoyed learning new art skills such as using Indian ink, using clay to make masks and finding out about specific artists.”
“This is the best part of my week!”
“I enjoyed the buzz that my daughter comes home with after her classes. It sounds like a really enriching experience and a lovely group of kids.”
“These were well put together portfolios. Within this framework of the Arts Award log books there has been a good range of evidence clearly showing both the development of skills and enjoyment in the process. Assessment is accurate throughout and the young people have been well supported.”
Arts Award Moderator, Trinity College London
RAMM is collaborating with local non-profit arts education organisation Daisi to deliver further arts award workshops including a Saturdat Arts Club for young people to achieve their Explore award.
Many of the participants from the pilot session have shown great interest in progressing to achieve their Silver Arts Award at RAMM. The museum is currently considering the viability of running the next level up in the next couple of years.