Sam Russell | TrinityTalent 2020

Sam Russell was selected for a Special Mention for TrinityTalent for his achievements in Arts Award. 

16-year-old Sam was nominated for TrinityTalent 2020 for his work towards Arts Award Explore focussed on his passion for anime and playing the bass guitar. He completed his Arts Award with Nottingham Children's Hospital School.

Sam was nominated by his English teacher Karina Williams. Karina said: "After a discussion about Arts Award, I discovered his passion for anime and playing the bass guitar (talents which he cannot pursue at school as he is studying mainly science-based A levels). Despite his punishing treatment regime, he worked hard to produce a project based on 'JoJo's Bizarre Adventure'. This included research about the music used to open anime movies, focussing on the work of the musician Coda. Sam could not find the bass guitar tabs for the opening of 'JoJo's Bizarre Adventure' so learned it off by heart, watching the anime opening repeatedly until he could play it independently and with great skill. He embodies the Arts Award ethos to provide inspiration for young people to connect with the arts world and to grow as artists."

The Trinity judges said: "Sam showed great resilience and motivation to do and learn things on his own, and showed an incredible awareness of how the arts can help get through tough times, which is reflected in his personal journey."

How has your Trinity College London qualification influenced your progress with your art? 

I appreciate being recognised externally for an achievement that so far I have been proud of by myself. It has increased my own self-confidence added to my enthusiasm for playing the bass guitar. 

Has taking part in a Trinity qualification helped you to develop wider skills?  

Learning how to perform on an instrument has been a useful skill that I would like to put into practice in the future. The work conducted as part of Arts Award has allowed me to use my GCSE Media, Computing and Graphic Communication skills, combining with my largely self-learnt musical knowledge in the genre of anime which is a real interest of mine. My A levels are all science-based so Arts Award has given me the opportunity to continue with an arts-based topic to add more balance to my learning.

Would you like to tell us anything about the challenges you’ve faced this year, and how you’ve overcome them to achieve your qualification? 

I was diagnosed with a cancerous germ cell tumour in September, and undergoing chemotherapy meant that quite often I was too exhausted to play bass. However, my passion remained so at any opportunity I was able to I practised and recorded my playing. I completed the work for Arts Award during a period when I was spending large amounts of time in hospital and I was physically and mentally unable to engage with my A level studies. By conducting a topic on an area of the arts that I am passionate about brought me a lot of enjoyment and a positive distraction in a time where I really needed it. Receiving a certificate for my efforts also provided a sense of achievement.

What are the next steps for you following your qualification? 

I would like to perform or record music in a band, whether it be cover or original work.

What are your career aims? 

I am aiming for a career in computing.

Have you got any advice for other young people working towards an Arts Award or Trinity qualification? 

Present something that you’re both proud of, and that you enjoy doing.

More from Sam

Watch Sam play the bass guitar on his YouTube channel Smul

Read more about the talented young people selected to be featured as part of the TrinityTalent Class of 2020.


Trinity Talent

Trinity Talent

TrinityTalent celebrates talented young people achieving Trinity’s music, drama and Arts Award qualifications in the UK.

Teachers and students can nominate young artists aged 13-25 who have shown excellence in one of the following categories during 2021: CREATIVE FLAIR | PROGRESS | LEADERSHIP

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    On 19 March 2021, 15:47 KARINA WILLIAMS commented:

    Congratulations Sam from all the teachers at Nottingham Children's Hospital School! You totally deserve this award and will inspire lots of our current students who are starting their Arts Award journeys.

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