Our History

2011-12: The Pilot Year

From July 2011 to March 2012 we piloted the youth network with a team of nine young people from across England. Known as the "Participation Project " they collectively helped to design and develop Arts Award Voice, ran a number of local events and consultations, and got involved in other activities throughout the year, bringing the voice of young people to the front of Arts Award. This team won a British Youth Council Youth on Boards Award for the impact they had.

2012-13: The Arts Award Youth Network kicks off

April 2012 to March 2013 saw us build on the Participation Project to create the foundations of the Arts Award Youth Network. During this time our major achievement was the build and launch of Arts Award Voice, a new online platform to enable young people to share their experiences, get ideas and find out more about the arts. We took on Trinity College London's first Community Arts apprentice - working full time to to support the network and Voice and work with Trinity's marketing team. We also employed three Voice sub-editors from Youth Network members. And we ran a parallel programme for Arts Council England to recruit and train 12 young arts assessors. This paid team assessed the quality of work from a number of Arts Council National Portfollo organisations in three pilot regions.

This was a great year for advocacy and idea development with youth network leaders attending national and regional conferences to inspire the Arts Award community. With 15 Youth Network Leaders through the year we managed to engage with 33 professionals for guest articles and interviews on Voice, ran 12 consultations and 3 exchange events. The Youth Network Leaders utilised over 50 opportunities through the year and significantly developed as young artists and arts leaders.

2013-2014: The Arts Award Youth Network grows

Throughout this year we recruited new team members and they helped us attend 39 live events and stimulate nearly 27,000 visits to Arts Award Voice, finishing the year with 730 registered users. We also took on our first Voice Content Editor.

We now had funding for a two year programme so were able to make relationshjps with partners and develop a festivals programme. We sent members to both the Edinburgh Festival Fringe and Latitude Festival, offering great opportunities to profile Arts Award. We also helped to develop an updated Arts Award brand and the new Artsbox platform.

2014-15: New teams and new beginnings

A pivotal year ensued in 2014-15. We refined the Youth Network by taking on new team members into a new structure. For the first time we recruited dedicated teams for live advocacy work – Activists and for Voice, Reporters.

We also recruited a Voice Editor and this new resource helped us achieve a staggering 138% growth in visits to Voice of nearly 64,000 across 47,000 users.

We attended 45 events and opportunities through the year to help promote engagement with Arts Award, including 12 festivals. Of these festivals they included Edinburgh Fringe where we reviewed over 70 shows in less than a week, and also Latitude Festival, where we helped run an Arts Award Discover Club onsite so that over 200 children could explore the festival using our framework.

During the year we also 'moved home'. Still working very very closely with the teams at Trinity College London, the Arts Award Youth Network moved to a new charity called Upstart Projects. Upstart Projects can develop new opportunities for young people to engage in the arts, apply for independent funding and run projects accredited by Arts Award without potential conflict of interest. The staff and support remains the same, but we can grow the ideas of our young people moreso. We continue to be very grateful for financial and practical support that Trinity provides.

2015-16: Arts Award is 10 and a focus on Gold

This was a pivotal year for Arts Award and we are so pleased to have been a part of the drive to achieve over a quarter of a million Arts Awards! The teams have been out and about interviewing celebrities, reviewing Arts Award Supporter organisations, being panel members & speakers at various events, reviewing for Brighton Fringe Festival & Edinburgh Festival Fringe and we also ran our very own GOLDExpo event. We've also helped create resources for building your own portfolio, ran competitions on how art can change the world & how your word is gold and created a dedicated GOLD Hub. We also launched the new face of Arts Award Voice - with extra features, new functions and a more image led design.

2016-2017: Digital, Hubs and Education

The summer switchover from the 2015 team sees 11 days of Edfringe madness - with well over 150 shows for the team to review planned! Then through the year we have a lot planned to further develop our work on Digital Arts (how you are creative with digital resources, and showing your Arts Award through digital platforms), build on GOLD Hub and develop a dedicated area to supporting Bronze - a BRONZE Hub, and also a focus on helping those achieving Arts Award through formal education settings too.

Edinburgh Fringe advert test