Case study: Neha Lakhanpaul, Arts Award Activist, Bronze and Silver achiever

Neha has just joined the Youth Network as an Arts Award activist. She also studies Law at Brunel University.

Case study: Neha Lakhanpaul, Arts Award Activist, Bronze and Silver achiever

What was your first experience of Arts Award?

I first started Arts Award at my dance school, completing Bronze level at 13 years old.

Which levels did you complete, (or are you currently working on)?

I have completed Bronze, Silver and I am currently working on my Gold Arts Award.

Which is your favourite level and why?

Gold is definitely my favourite level so far, I think this is because of the involvement that it creates between an individual and the arts world, both industry and interest wise.

What was the best thing that you have learnt — about the arts, or yourself — while completing your Arts Award?

The best thing I have learnt while completing Arts Award is what I want to do with my future, learning about Christopher Bruce's choreography "Ghost Dances" was a pivotal point in my education as I realised that art has the ability to make a difference. His dance piece raised awareness of the oppression of Pinochet's regime in Chile internationally, allowing the people of Chile to have their voices heard and find help. From this I realised that I wanted to become a human rights activist. I am now studying law at university, alongside completing my Gold Arts Award. In the future I want to travel and do case studies on controversial issues while creating art pieces that will raise awareness of these issues for others so that action is taken to create a positive change.

Without the Arts Award, I would never have come across this piece, which has been monumental in allowing me to decide what I want to study at university, what I want to do with my future and shaping my interest in the arts.

Did your Arts Award take you to any unexpected places?

My current Arts Award has lead me to find a new interest, that is graffiti. I have always been interested in political art, and artists such as Banksy, yet I never thought it was something that was generally accessible or commonly practiced. However, after some research I ended up in Shoreditch on a very cold January morning doing an Alternative London Street Art tour and workshop. This was an experience I thoroughly enjoyed and would recommend; I learnt so much about different artists, periods of art history and the messages that these pieces could convey. As well as this, I also discovered that I was actually pretty good at doing some myself, which lead this to become the new art form I am learning as part of my Gold Arts Award.

Why did you decide to join the Arts Award Youth Network?

The Youth Network was something I had no idea about until the opening came up, I applied to join straight away with the hope that I would meet other people doing their Arts Award. Coming from a very small centre, I didn't know much about the different paths Arts Award could take you on, and I'm happy to say that being part of the Youth Network has already given me inspiration and friends to share ideas with.

What do you hope to experience in your time on the Youth Network?

I hope to make a difference for other young people interested in the arts while on the Youth Network, whether this be introducing people to Arts Award or helping someone to complete their Arts Award. I would also like to develop my arts involvement as much as I can in terms of my future career, by finding out other people's views and opinions on how art can make a difference.

What advice would you give to anyone thinking of giving Arts Award a go?

I think that Arts Award is a great experience for anyone and everyone, whether you consider yourself to be creative or not, it really doesn't matter. In terms of choosing a level, be realistic about other commitments and whether you'd want to progress through the levels, or go straight into one of the higher ones. For all the work that you put in, you get just as much out of it, if not more. It could also be a chance to work with friends or develop a hobby, and remember, this is the time to get involved!


Read more about Bronze, Silver and Gold Arts Awards

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