I'm Bhav, and I'm going to take you through your Bronze Award. So this is a fun bit. Part A of your Bronze Arts Award is about taking part in an arts activity you enjoy and getting some new skills. Bronze is a great way to find out how to do what you can with what you have. Spend as little money as possible, call in the favours and expand your creativity! I did my Bronze seven years ago and I was dying to do photography but didn't have a camera with a million millimetre zoom and billion MP sensor - so it was about making the prettiest pictures I could with a scratched up old digital camera.
Take part in one or more arts activities and watch your skills develop - why not try something new to you? Keep a diary of what you do and how you progress. Take pictures or video or audio of your art work and you doing it. All this goes into your Bronze portfolio.
On Voice, we have lots of How To Guides to help you to explore a wide range of creative things from animation to xylophone playing! Here are just a few of those.
See the full list of How To Guides on Voice.
Have a look at our Bronze Video Hub, which is a mix of advice about how to approach your Bronze and some examples of Bronze Arts Award portfolios.
And finally some examples of successful Bronze portfolios. If you want to shout about your own Bronze portfolio and get it featured here, email us on firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet us at @AAonVoice.
Be the audience
This is the bit where you get to sit back and relax while you enjoy something someone else has created. For Part B, you find an arts event or exhibition or experience that sounds interesting and may also be an arts area you're not used to. You can find local events run by Arts Award Supporters (more info below). So, for instance, I watched a play at my local theatre because I never really went to the theatre growing up. That kind of thing. Then you review it and share your opinions with others.
There are lots of ways to review - it's not just a case of writing. You can record yourself talking about the show on a podcast or make a video or a presentation. However the traditional blog-style review is the most popular and there are lots of examples in Voice's reviews section You'll need to share your review with other people by posting it online, publishing it in your school magazine or discussing it with your group. Sharing opinions helps us to understand the art work, and can feed our own work. What makes something good or bad? Do we all react in the same way?
Here's my advice on how to write a good review:
You'll get a lot of people telling you that writing a review is easy, but the simple fact of the matter is that if you've never done it before, it definitely isn't going to be. We'll all have done some textual analysis in school for English but after that exam, it escaped our memories quicker than, well… you can remember.
Here's an article about how to write reviews of Shakespeare performances. Shakespeare's a big deal and his plays are performed by professionals and amateurs alike. So, there's a good chance that you're going to see one sooner or later so read what Emily has to say about preparing yourself for it:
Shakespeare Schools Festival is the largest youth drama festival in the UK! Whether your school is taking part or not, there's no reason why you can't get to a performance in your area.
Finally, it's likely that you'll publish your review online because many young people make digital portfolios or include weblinks in print ones. So, Jake Orr specifies how to write reviews for the web:
Before you review: What is it? Make sure you know exactly what it is that you are reviewing. This might be obvious at first...
Supporter Organisations are arts and cultural organisations which offer activities you can use towards Arts Award and they welcome contact from young people. You can search for Supporters near you or by art form. Click through to a Supporter's profile to read about current opportunities and reviews from other young people. Please review any Supporter you visit or work with and select their name when you post your review so that it appears on their profile.
Get your research skills in here. For Part C, you choose an artist or craftsperson whose work you admire and which inspires you and you put together the reasons. You can research a well-known artist, like an author, a potter, an actor, or someone as obscure and as unknown as your gran who knits her own designs like a machine or your neighbour who plays the sitar. Tip - they have to be a real person, though they don't have to be alive! But Mickey Mouse doesn't count...
First, fairly obviously, choose your inspiring artist or maker. You can challenge yourself to find an artist that you don't know much about yet or research an artist whom you've loved for as long as you can remember - your choice. Find out all you can about them through internet research or - if you're lucky - writing to them or meeting them. A good interview with your beloved artist gets you noticed! (On the other hand, they don't have to be alive...) Then decide how you're going to present your inspiration for your portfolio. Some people choose the classic approach of a good ol' poster. Put their name or their picture in the middle of a piece of paper and write all about it/them. Alternatively, another blog-style piece works well in which you write up your research and explain why he or she inspires you. Or Powerpoint is great as you can include photos and video as well as facts. Tip - don't just download reams off Google or Wikipedia...it needs to be in your own words!
On Voice, we have a three series in which we profile professional artists and arts organisations, all ready for you to use for your research...
Previously, we've featured Olivier award-winning playwright of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time, Simon Stephens, Lin Manuel Miranda's In The Heights's star, Aimie Atkinson, and songwriter and vocal coach, Georgia Train.
Recently, we featured Waterhead Academy in Oldham who run the Bronze Arts Award.
"We provide one hour per week of careers advice including a carousel of sessions, which they choose to attend a subject area of their interest. They are also visited by industry professionals in the other Career Pathways, e.g. the NHS, an astrophysicist, or a vet, to find out more about careers they are interested in."
Always wanted to know how an author writes their books? Interested in how sound design works in theatres? We give you a sneak peak behind the scenes and into the creative process. Basically, find out the nitty gritty behind what these people and organisations do!
Previously, we have featured places like the Royal Opera House, venues from the Brighton Fringe Festival, and Rachel Freeman, Lead Artist of disability focused dance company, everyBODY dance.
We also run lots of interviews asking questions of interesting creative people about their lives and work. Here is a tempting selection:
Hear about the experiences of other young people who've achieved their Bronze Arts Awards here...
A while back, we were involved in a project called Off The Shelf, a series of video interviews with some high profile names who with impressive careers in their respective fields. They can be used as inspirations for your Part C so we're basically feeding you the stimulus! Even if you choose to go for someone else, these interviews are fascinating for their insights into some talented people.
Share your skills
We're almost there. Part D is about passing on one of your (many) creative skills to someone else. Your job is genuinely to just teach them a thing or two.
It doesn't have to be huge like teach someone how to play the drums as in the film Whiplash (which is phenomenal, by the way). No, it can be small but clearly demonstrable. For example, I taught my neighbour how to use the macro function on a digital camera. Make sure you plan your skill share and keep a record of how it went, including yourself teaching and them doing their new skills. I used the pictures my neighbour took as evidence. You can also record them playing or making something. Very simple - the important thing is to think about what you're trying to teach, what you need (like materials) and how to make it fun and interesting.
Other ideas for a skills share?
- Run a workshop with your group to teach them a new dance routine
- Teach a friend how to rig a theatre light up
- Create a tutorial video about how to draw a certain way (share this with friends online & get feedback still!)
- Teach a friend a monologue and how to present it on stage