Where are they now? with Becky Lawn, Arts Award 15th birthday

Becky works as a social scientist in public health and lives in Vancouver, but she still remembers the benefits of doing an Arts Award in 2008, when she was 16 years old. We catch up with Becky to celebrate Arts Award 15th birthday

What are you up to at the moment, Becky?

I’m an epidemiologist at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health working as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow. I research the impacts of mental health on physical health in women, using large cohort data or national databases.

Do you think doing an Arts Award helped you develop your career in any way?

Yes definitely. There are times when my job requires creativity – such as creating presentations or posters to get across a scientific message. They have to be visually attractive for the audience as well as educating. Exploring and developing my creative side during my Arts Award has helped me develop these skills, which has in turn helped me to become a better scientist!

I have also taken part in collaborations with artists who have then created work about my research (which was a career highlight). Enjoying my Arts Award so much helped me to seek out these types of opportunities to be more involved in the arts world, which in turn brings scientific research to an audience in a unique way, and lets me see how my work could be explained and interpreted. 

Separate to my career, I still just LOVE fashion photography (which is what I explored for my award).

What are the highlights and challenges you’ve faced in your career since completing your Arts Award?

The biggest highlight was definitely completing my PhD!  In terms of challenges, the world of academia (I guess like many arts careers) offers lots of short-term contracts and “soft money” – meaning I am constantly trying to add to and develop the skills on my CV.

What do you hope to be doing in five years?

I hope I’ll still be conducting research with the end goal of helping women with mental health problems. I’d like to be on track for a professorship by then.

When did you do your Arts Award and how did it develop your creativity or skills?

I did my Silver Arts Award over a year or so with The Hive in Shrewsbury, starting in summer 2008. I used it to develop my photography skills which I still use today in my personal life. I also enjoyed exploring other artists’ work.

Tell us a little bit about what your Arts Award entailed? Anything you’re still proud of?

I’m still proud of the fashion photos I took and I’m sure those clothes will be stylish again one day in generations to come! I also loved the exhibition we put on and having my parents come! 

I’m also happy I took a different course than the typical Duke of Edinburgh’s Award, I think it stands out more to have done something creative and produced something tangible, and it was a good CV talking point!

What advice would you give to young people doing Arts Award who want to follow in your footsteps?

Make the most of the opportunity to explore your creative side and especially do things you might not be able to in college. Be inspired, and have some fun! 

Finally, where can people find out more about your work?

This is my profile at Bristol University: http://www.bris.ac.uk/expsych/people/rebecca-b-lawn/index.html

Arts Award 15th Birthday!

Arts Award has been supporting the development of creativity and leadership skills for all young people for 15 years. Arts Award has championed creativity, nurtured talent and offered insights into the arts world, together with a taste of creative careers.Across the UK there are over 4,000 centres and an impressive 521,455 Award achieved.

Arts Award alumni news

Read more interviews with Arts Award alumi or visit the Arts Award Voice Community Hub for exclusive alumni updates, support and discounts. If you've recently finished your Arts Award and want to let us know what you're up to, drop Nici the Arts Editor an email


Nici West

Nici West Voice Team

Nici is the an editor for Voice. She loves all things books, theatre, music, art, visiting other countries, anything creative, and sometimes attempts to make YouTube videos. Alongside Voice she writes and edits through her own pursuits.You can occasionally find her running marathons dressed as a black dog.

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  • Emrys Green

    On 22 December 2020, 09:26 Emrys Green Voice Team commented:

    Fantastic to see how Arts Award has helped a science career :)

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