Running Arts Award Remotely

We recently took part in a webinar for Advisers about running Arts Award remotely – particularly in these times of limited contact. Here are some tips to support you in delivering or achieving an Arts Award.

Running Arts Award Remotely

These points come from Diana Walton, Director at Upstart Projects, Emrys Green, Projects Manager at Upstart and Jo Nead, Arts Award Achiever.

The benefits of remote delivery for young people:

  • You get a chance to experience new art forms in your local area – even in lockdown, more organisations are taking to the internet with tutorials, classes and advice
  • Your Arts Award can be more personalised as you're likely to work one-on-one with your adviser so you are free to develop your own style, tastes and opinions without having to be part of the group activity
  • You can control how much support you get from your adviser with meetings when needed rather than ‘every Wednesday evening’
  • You can build a strong working relationship with your adviser or creative mentor

The challenges of remote delivery for young people:

  • No other young people around to interact with, bounce ideas off or learn from
  • It can be hard to motivate yourself and you might need more support from your adviser to do so.
  • Remote meetings can be difficult when going through portfolio work unless you use an online portfolio
  • Remote advising can mean catch-ups aren’t always regular as there is no ‘class’ to attend – a pro and a con of having flexibility

Tips for advisers:

  • Build the online relationship  If you don't already know the young person you're supporting then make this a priority.  Share your own creative experience and find out as much as you can about their aspirations so you can offer really relevant support
  • Remote Arts Award works best with the support of a ‘local champion’ who offers creative inspiration, critical feedback and motivation - an artist, teacher, or previous adviser.  In these restricted times, this could be a parent.  Occasionally involving them in your calls can help them to provide encouragement between contact

  • Keep in regular contact to make sure the young person is managing the workload. Give clear written feedback about each part of the portfolio.  A shared ‘contact log’ can help – a template example to start with can be downloaded here  
  • Use video calls when possible so you can pick up visual or body language cues about how they’re feeling about the work. You might also have an online group catch-up or pairs/threes  to help each other to bounce ideas around
  • Consider using a group communication tool like Slack to enable young people to share progress and chat – here’s more tools you can try for digital communication
  • Organisation is especially helpful if you can’t meet up with the young person. We always set up a group/cohort overview spreadsheet that lists young people, and has columns for each part of the award - this allows you to record a status note and link to completed work. With colleges & schools this may be available in the VLE / Portfolio system you use.  Or this simple spreadsheet might be helpful

  • Use a portfolio system that works for you and the young person. You could use Google Docs or Word or Voice's Portfolio Collection 
  • Think about how to record physical art work as well as video or audio recordings
  • Some young people may want to create their own website using tools like Wix or Wordpress. Check our Arts Award portfolio examples

Important to note:

  • Encourage young people to create and save work offline before adding to any online tool
  • Always have backups of files - free storage on Google Drive or Dropbox is great.  A broken laptop should be an excuse of the past
  • Ensure you follow your organisation’s safeguarding and data protection policies.  Choose platforms that ensure everyone stays safe

A few more resources from us to support you with delivering remotely:

And if you'd like to watch the Arts Award Remote Adviser webinar use this link to Zoom

And before you go, make sure you check out the Arts Award Voice hubs where there's lots of help and inspiration for Arts Award Bronze, Silver and Gold achievement.

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