#MyArtsAward: A fulfilling leadership experience, by Diana Karikis

07 February 2018

#MyArtsAward: A fulfilling leadership experience, by Diana Karikis

Today's #MyArtsAward week theme is youth leadership, so we're celebrating the contribution Arts Award makes in creating confident and creative leaders among our young people. Diana Karikis 19, is a member of Team Juice, and in this blog talks of her own leadership journey to achieving Arts Award Gold.


Why do an Arts Award? Well first off, I wouldn't do it to gain an award. Arts Award is about so much more than making your CV stand out. For me, it's a motivational tool to get you to finally complete all your wonderful creative intentions (but an extra 16 tariff points from UCAS upon completion of your Gold Arts Award come in pretty handy)!

I’m a photographer/painter/spur of the moment type of artist, meaning I will literally make anything with my hands at any given time. But, it has always been my intention to document all the crazy creations I make and my experience of ‘making’, in a blog. However, as life plods along, it's easy to get distracted from goals such as these, and for me, that’s where Arts Award has come in! It's been my ‘creative bucket list’.

Before I looked into Arts Award I had creative ambitions I wanted to achieve. I wanted to:

  • Organise and deliver my own artistically themed workshop with guidance from professionals
  • Plan and fully risk assess that workshop to develop supercool admin skills and more importantly learn a transferable skill that helps bulk up my CV
  • Actually start a blog. This is one of those intentions I've been putting off for almost a year. I want it to act as an online portfolio for employers, so they can easily see who I am and what I’m about, while also platforming myself as an artist and generally pushing myself to have more fun by creating content I like
  • Develop my photography skills into video art and learn editing techniques to make high quality content I can post on my blog.

With all those intentions in mind, I looked at the specification for Golds Arts Award, and realised the criteria didn't require too much work on top of what I already had planned, so all I could see were advantages.

Once I'd started my Arts Award, I realised I was ticking off the items on bucket list with varied support from a number of different professionals, as well as networking with new people, and being challenged to share my opinions on art - things I never intentionally thought I'd do, but have benefited from massively.

Through a fantastic and supportive learning team at the Laing Art Gallery, who embrace Arts Award, I was offered the chance to compete in ARTiculation, a national public speaking award for 16 to 19-year-olds. Not only did I win the regional finals, but the experience also contributed to Part C of my Unit 1 Gold Arts Award in a monumental way. 

I now use experiences I’ve gained through Arts Award and working with the Laing when I go for interviews and talk about the different ways I have engaged with art. This shows my passion, commitment, and competence.

So, how do you know if you are going to enjoy doing Arts Award? 

Well, something that helped me figure that out was supporting others; I worked with five to 18-year-olds in the midst of their own Arts Awards, and I’d recommend, if you're feeling unsure if Arts Award is for you, you do the same. You’ll see the different focal points Arts Award has to offer, and you can find volunteering opportunities to support others through Arts Award with Tyne & Wear Archives & Museums

From what I’ve seen and experienced, Arts Award gives you the chance to create and make art, to share art, and to think about art in its broadest sense. At the more advanced levels - Bronze, Silver, and Gold - students start to plan how they make and share art and then reflect, using their own views as well as those of others. 

Because Arts Award is offered at these different levels, a qualification or certificate in the case of Discover, is accessible to all young people under 25. If you decide to start at Discover level and work to Gold, you'll have all the more opportunity to develop your confidence and experience within your own creative passion, because Arts Award includes all art forms. It will grow and grow!

To me, sharing is probably the most daunting part of my Arts Award. If, like me, you're nervous about sharing, I’d say embrace that feeling, and be brave. Questioning yourself and whether the art you produce or your ideas are good enough is probably a clue that they are, as well as the fact you've developed solid critical thinking skills along the way.

I am always happy to share advice, or if you need a pen pal or sharing buddy to help you complete your own Arts Award, you can email me at karikisdiana@gmail.com.