Hi there, Durham Sixth Form Centre. Why don't you start by introducing yourself?
Hi all, I'm Victoria Scholfield, a dance teacher and Arts Award Advisor at Durham Sixth Form Centre.
Which Arts Award levels do you offer?
We offer Gold Arts Award to Year 13 students. Our ambition next year is to increase participation by offering Gold Arts Award as an option to Year 12 students, as well as extending our work with partnership organisations.
What do you think it is about the Arts Award appeals to your students?
Gold Arts Award offers our students an alternative qualification option, especially for those students who are interested in pursuing a career in the creative industries. Achieving Gold means our students also have impressive applications for UCAS, apprenticeships and future careers.
Can you tell us a bit about the Arts Award creative projects your current and previous students have done?
They have specialised in different art forms such as creative writing, photography, acting, dance, sculpture, graphic design, curation and fine art.
Some of our students participated in an installation titled 'Anon' by Walter & Zonial at Lumiere 2017. Previous arts events the students have led include public graphic design workshops, a contemporary dance performance in our theatre and a thought-provoking art exhibition our students curated titled 'Art is..?'
Sounds great! What kind of things have you got in mind for your future Arts Award students?
Our current students are about to embark on Gold Arts Award, Unit 2: planning and leading an arts event. We aim to have a carousel of different arts events taking place before Easter. Our future aim is to use Arts Award as an opportunity to develop our students’ leadership skills for The Big Draw, the world's biggest drawing festival from the Campaign for Drawing, as well as for annual exhibitions, for building links with businesses, for hosting their own online shops and for BTEC Art and Design.
What would you say are the greatest challenges for your students undertaking their Arts Awards?
When our students begin their Arts Award, they notice a clear difference in how they approach their Gold Arts Award, compared to their other subjects. It can be challenging for students to understand my role as an advisor and not a teacher. It can also be a challenge for students to work independently on their portfolio and therefore be organised in their spare time.
This is a fantastic challenge that develops our students into proactive, confident arts leaders, and I notice a considerable change in their independence and time management as the year progresses.
What would you say is the greatest benefit in both yourself delivering the Arts Award and for your students in undertaking it?
Previous Gold Arts Award students have noticed a strong development in their organisation, communication and creativity and have become confident and articulate leaders in their art form. I thoroughly enjoy delivering Gold as it means I get to know and support other students outside the dance department, and it challenges me to understand their art form and give them the specialist support required.
In what ways do you think your students Arts Award achievements will help them in their next steps?
Our students want to embark on many different career pathways such as university, apprenticeships, foundation courses.
Regardless of their subject or art form they are going to pursue, they will need strong leadership skills, work ethic, creativity and communication and their Gold Arts Award experience certainly equips them well with such skills to move forward.
Do you have any advice to schools considering delivering Arts Award?
Offer it! The qualification will develop their cultural, spiritual, creative and social wellbeing, equipping them with a unique arts education and experience. It has huge benefits in terms of students’ self-esteem, transferable skills and it is a creative opportunity all students deserve to experience.
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