Get Gold by reaching out

Outreach programmes and 'making art accessible' are not about belittling it, relying on 'amateur' work, or squeezing it into strange places.

Get Gold by reaching out

It's been another busy month and I'm cutting it fine with the blog this time round. But blimey, all you contributors have been busy as Emily's round-up shows.

Voice is really 'reaching out' now and this pleases me substantially. The idea that anyone and everyone can access "great art" is appealing to me. And Voice is just one of the growing platforms that can connect you with this through events being advertised, the reviews you all share, and our features on projects and organisations.

A recent opinion piece posted on The Stage's site, "4 ways to make the arts for everyone, not just the chosen few" highlights some thoughts about getting art out to communities. Although as Jill Adamson (Arts Award Moderator) put it "there is something fundamentally wrong with [the] assumption that work made by community artists should be delegated to corridors!! Why not lobby for more work made by the community to be programmed in the main spaces or are these reserved for Opera Stars?"

And I whole heartedly agree. Outreach programmes and 'making art accessible' is not about belittling it, relying on 'amateur'/volunteer work only, or squeezing it in to places around the lives of others.

But outreach work can be about using 'found spaces', transforming the lives of communities and indeed not always be about 'excellence' in the quality of art produced by young people. But should very much be about the 'excellence' in the process used to provide the opportunity to young people.

Participation is not just about the result, but about the process to get there. If you're considering what to run for a Gold Arts Award leadership project, then just think about what you know how to do well, or those that can do something well. Passing on your knowledge and skills to a group of younger students can still be a very fulfilling experience for them - and a unique chance to learn something new that they otherwise might not. You may not be the choreographer of the English National Ballet, but you may well be an exceptional young dancer who's had the opportunity to train. What about younger students who can't afford the same training, or who's school has got rid of such subjects in the devastation of arts subjects so rife in some schools today?

You as an individual, and using the planning and preparation framework afforded by Arts Award, can have a big influence on the lives of other young people in your community.

So, when thinking about what to do for your Gold Award. Think "what do I want to get from this?" and then make a consideration for "how can I help others experience the arts or grow skills themselves?"

Good luck with your projects and enjoy!


Emrys Green

Emrys Green Voice Team

Emrys is the Business & Projects manager at Upstart who runs Voice.

Alongside managing Voice and its related programmes of work Emrys manages web builds and live events through his own pursuits - with a wide encapsulation of the arts sector. Theatre, Dance, Circus, Spoken Word and a combination of contemporary and shakespearean work would all be in his wheelhouse.

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