Joshua Lewis-Handley, Bronze, Silver and Gold achiever

Joshua takes us through his highly detailed Gold Arts Award portfolio wherein he produced the Alderbrook School's 'Spotlight' show all the while finding his feet with photography.

Joshua Lewis-Handley, Bronze, Silver and Gold achiever

What level(s) of Arts Award have you done?

Bronze, Silver, Gold

What art form(s) did you take part in?

Bronze (Completed July 2014) – specialising predominantly in Music. Silver (Completed July 2016) – Predominantly specialising in Music and Sound Design. Gold (Completed July 2017) – Specialising in Lighting design, technical theatre.

What events did you go to?

For section 1a I decided to expand on a skill I have particularly been interested in for many years, Photography. I wanted to learn how to use the manual features of my Nikon bridge camera to produce more creative and better images; whilst also expanding on my already strong skill set which is image editing within Adobe Photoshop. For Section 1b I focussed on my primary Art Form of Lighting Design by receiving training in an advanced lighting system which my school has now invested in.

I chose to do this to expand my employability skills as this is the lighting system often installed in professional theatres throughout the country. Furthermore, the system allows me to produce higher-quality designs for practical examinations within my study of A-Level Drama, as well as for school productions, which I assist with.

In section 1c I explored a theatre group known as Splendid. Section 1d was open across all art forms as I researched the effect of government education reforms on the popularity of all art forms in schools. Within Unit 2 I focussed on technical theatre and events management by organising with a team a charity talent show at school and I took the lead as designer and technical manager.

Anything about your arts hero, or artists you worked with, or cultural organisations you visited

Throughout my Gold Arts Award I had the opportunity to work with a variety of different people within the arts, which was a fantastic opportunity for me to network! For section 1a I predominantly worked with a teacher at school (Mrs. Sonya Oliver) who is a professional photographer outside of the classroom and she opened my eyes to the creative process of taking good photos. There are so many rules regarding composition, which can totally transform a photo and simply do not strike the mind at first glance and learning about this fascinated me and has definitely improved my photography.

For Section 1b I utilised a contact I already had at the Core Theatre, Tom Fuller, who is extremely proficient in design and the use of the ETC Lighting System; he is a fantastic teacher, and has definitely improved my design skills in the future by exposing me to advanced techniques which I am now able to utilise.

1c: I had the amazing opportunity to work with Splendid during a workshop and post-show interview (following a performance of Macbeth) which was an eye-opener for a technician with very little experience of acting and it was also interesting to hear their views of lighting and technical aspects as well (as a company who use nothing!).

I got to see so many theatre groups and artists within 1c which I reviewed; to be completely honest I've been exposed to so much theatre and concerts this year through my involvement in the arts I didn't get chance to review them all but I covered a range from am-dram to West End companies to international pop stars. Finally for 1d, I worked with a wide variety of Arts professionals, especially within the teaching industry, who I sent my debate to and received responses from.

How you shared your arts skills or led your own projects

I led the 'Spotlight' talent show, organised by sixth form students from the committee, where acts from across the school can take part in a light-hearted evening to raise money for Comic Relief. It's main aim was to raise money but also to improve links between the sixth form and the lower school as well as to promote the arts and other talents within the Alderbrook community.

I am happy to say the event was successful at all of those objectives! I thoroughly enjoyed leading the talent show as it improved my confidence and communication skills whilst also challenging me to produce ambitious designs to a set brief. The role of technical manager, don't get me wrong, was stressful but one of the most rewarding projects I've had the pleasure of working on. This event is now planned to be a regular feature in the school calendar so I will take the opportunity to help with the next one if all goes to plan!

What kind of portfolio did you create?

A mini-site: read my opinion piece here.

What was most valuable to you personally?

The ability to extend my leadership skills through the unit 2 arts project, I gained confidence and communication skills which will help me with everything I do in future life. Also the training I received in the advanced lighting software has provided me with industry leading skills, which will help my future career prospects.

What did you find inspiring?

Having the oppurtunity to observe shows of numerous art forms and attend workshops. I got to learn a variety of techniques and viewpoints for a variety of art forms, which I could implement into my own work. I was also inspired by the people I engaged with during the feedback collection I carried out when exploring my arts debate.

What was most challenging?

My biggest challenge was definitely the leadership of the talent show.

What are you going to do next – and has Arts Award helped you?

I hope to continue with lighting design in future and continue to expand my skills and get involved within the arts. I also have gained a new hobby in photography!

Who gave you the most help and inspiration?

The performing arts department at my sixth form.

Image courtesy of Joshua Lewis-Handley


Bhavesh Jadva

Bhavesh Jadva Voice Team

Former Media Editor on Voice and former Arts Award Editor on AAoV covering film, TV, music and comedy.

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