Pavilion Dance South West

Arts Award is a real pull for parents and schools to want to work with us because children and young people can leave here with a qualification after engaging in really enjoyable experiences. I believe it makes what we offer even more special and I feel really privileged to be able to do that.”

Claire Reilly is the Young People’s Producer at Pavilion Dance South West. The company holds more than 40 dance classes a week and presents live dance performances, screenings and exhibitions from its Bournemouth base.

Claire has been working with Arts Award for a number of years, and when she joined Pavilion Dance South West in April 2018 she says she was determined to incorporate it into all of their work:

“I’m really passionate about the qualification and want to integrate it into as many different projects as we can.


We have three different work experience students a year, plus our Summer School, which can see about 40 children coming into the venue for a week-long experience. Our Coast Youth Dance Company has 13 young people in it. They’ll now spend a year working on their Bronze or Silver Arts Award.”

The Award works over five levels. Explore, Discover, Bronze, Silver and Gold. The young people, up to the age of 25, gain experience by creating and participating with arts and cultural organisations.

They are assessed while taking part in practical and creative activities, gaining qualifications and even UCAS points. The awards can help them to pursue their future careers – whether that be in the spotlight, backstage, project management or even in more or even in a more ‘traditional’ roles. Arts Award also support young people to develop a range of transferable skills such as leadership, communication and project management that are beneficial beyond the sector.

Claire says the experience is beneficial both ways: “I think it’s a really great way of getting to know the young people you are working with because you’re allowing them to have their independent journey, to be led by their own interest, and by default we show interest in them as people.’

“It gives them a chance to take part in a range of different art forms and to work out what they like – and what they don’t like, because I think that’s important as well.

It’s in our gift to provide our young people with the chance to take something into their future, as well as the qualification, that may be an inspiring memory, a discovered interest or new friends who they have worked with. All are totally valid and important. It usually only takes a bit of careful coordination to turn an engagement project into a project which integrates arts award time. They’re doing the hard work anyway, it’s just a case of evidencing and reflecting on it.”

16-year-old Eva Goodall took part in one of the work experience programmes last year. She has since successfully completed her Bronze Arts Award and is now working on her Silver. She’s been dancing since she was three and has been involved with Pavilion Dance South West for most of her life.

She says taking part in Arts Award has given her an insight into another part of the organisation as well as boosting her confidence:

“It’s a massive motivator. Part of the Silver Award is you have to do something slightly out of your comfort zone and record it. For me that was doing a freestyle at my dance class, which I’ve never done in my life. But because it’s part of the project I pushed myself and I did it. So without that motivation I wouldn’t have done it. It’s a massive motivator. And you get recognition of all your hard work.


I also got to help lead the Summer School, that was an amazing opportunity and it allowed me to see the behind the scenes of the industry. So I’ve seen how to lead things, I’ve seen the choreographer come in and work with them. That’s part of what I want my future to be.


Because of Arts Award and because of work experience I’ve seen behind the scenes. Doing the lighting for the show, reviewing it, all these different things I would never have normally done – I got to do and I got to experience that. So, it’s been a massive help.”

Pavilion Dance South West (PDSW) is the National Dance Development Organisation for the South West of England, supporting dance and related art forms across the region. It aims to champion dance, be a regional hub for specialist dance services, expertise and opportunities, and to offer a programme of local participation and engagement, which acts as a model of best practice regionally and nationally.

Trinity College London, the body behind Arts Award, have announced PDSW as one of their Arts Award Trinity Champion Centres for 2019-20. Trinity Champion Centres inspire existing and potential centres by sharing their practice and advocating for the qualifications in their communities and more widely. In return, Trinity celebrate achievements, profile their success and promote their work as part of their support offer to teachers and centres.

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