What I fail to establish on this blog sometimes is my passion and love for Arts Award. But why? Does it seem sad? Well to be honest I meet many other people who share an equal passion and so I believe that if you truly believe in the value or purpose of something then why not throw yourself at it? We've seen plenty of activism over the last few weeks with the refugee crisis, gun issues in America, the suffragettes film only this week and something I feel a little more closer to (purely out of friends and the knowing how the NHS has saved my own and my families' lives countless times), the debate over the Junior Doctor contracts.
These are all big topics, but not so long ago the UK was in uproar about the education system. STEM vs STEAM for example, the English Baccalaureate and so much more. But what did these mean? The devaluing of Arts Education. I'm not saying arts education is any more important than other key subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths say) but I thoroughly believe they should be presented equally.
Over the past 10 years I have had amazing opportunities. I've grown up not being handed any sort of silver platter, having a supportive & loving family but whom were all hard workers, always seeking to make the most of our lives wherever we can through simple hard graft. I recall some amazingly fun times travelling to London at about 13 and making some great friends whilst we did our bit to support charities, influence government policy on youth issues & develop research. Since then I've been fortunate to travel the country to meet yet more friends on all sorts of projects, deal with urban design, mental health issues, votes at 16 and so much more. The time has included a reception at Number 10 with the Prime Minister, a weekend at the London Hilton as an English delegate for an international convention on civil society and taking part in youth theatre summer schools. All of these bringing fond memories.
A very recent memory is some new work. In about 2004 I co-created the Bury St Edmunds Youth Council. 10 years later a new tranche of young people re-established it as the Bury St Edmunds Youth Forum. Last month was their 1 year anniversary and they had the Leader of the Green Party there to speak; that is quite a coo! It was great to be there and get her opinion on the value of arts education!
What I can never forget also is the support I had when doing my Silver & Gold Arts Awards especially. Working with friends to create a lunch time drama club at school was brilliant. Creating a public arts festival in the town's abbey gardens was such an achievement, and very much the start of something I will be loving for many years to come; creating events.
10 years is a long time. Lots can be achieved. And Arts Award has. And Arts Award Achievers have. That is evident through the developing case studies of achievers we're starting here on voice (view Case Studies).
So now is the time for me to flag the 10th Birthday Pledge. By pledging to complete your Arts Award between now and July 2016 you will join a community that we will be supporting and getting involved to share your journey if you like. That's extra support on top of what is already on offer from your Centre & Adviser. It's a great way to become part of a bigger network from around the country, and combine this with the soon to come Gold Hub, there is no better time to be doing your Gold Arts Award.
The key thing to remember if you're going to do your Gold is this, commitment. It takes a big commitment from your adviser to support you through your Gold Arts Award. It's a personal journey their helping you with, they invest in your success with you. So respect that too, help them to help you, and strive to make your journey fun, exciting, valuable and unique.
I'm a Gold Arts Award achiever and Adviser. I'm qualified to deliver apprenticeships too, and have delivered many training & qualification courses with groups and individual journeys. And I've been delivering web & arts management work for several years now. I want to create a useful set of blogs to feature in the Gold Hub which answers your questions, which offers you useful support, and gives tailored advice. So feel free to email me on firstname.lastname@example.org with any suggestions, questions or ideas and then I'll do my best to fit them in to my blogs over the coming 10 months.
Happy Birthday Arts Award!