#MyArtsAward: Arts Award for every young person, by Rachael Rickwood

05 February 2018

#MyArtsAward: Arts Award for every young person, by Rachael Rickwood

Our focus for day one of Arts Award Celebration Week is Every Child, as Arts Award can and should be be for every child and young person. 

In this blog, the first of our dedicated pieces of content to celebrate Arts Award this week, Rachael Rickwood, Assistant Producer (Children and Young People) at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, explains how she works to deliver Arts Award to include every young person.


BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, which is based on the south bank of the Tyne in Gateshead and is the UK’s largest dedicated contemporary art institution, is an Arts Award Supporter and as such provides a range of offers that can support schools, colleges, organisations, and individuals, through Arts Award.

In September 2017, BALTIC began working with a group of Sixth Form students from The Northumberland Church of England Academy (NCEA) in south east Northumberland, to support them through Gold Arts Award, with monthly advice and target-setting sessions. 

These sessions have been personalised to each individual, as the students involved have a diverse range of interests, with some working towards a career in the arts and some who are simply curious about or enjoy the arts as an extra-curricular activity. 

As part of their journey to achieve Arts Award Gold, the students have been invited to participate in our ArtMix sessions, which have a focus on inclusivity. ArtMix is a creative group that's both for, and shaped by, young people aged 14 to 19. It is an accepting space to create, connect, and chat about art and the world around us, including the issues facing society, and marginalised groups within it. For example, a recent film made by the ArtMix group explored equality and inequality

As made clear in the Imagine Nation report, not every child is born with the same chance to achieve and thrive, but the arts - through groups like ArtMix and initiatives like Arts Award - empower children and young people, regardless of whether their future career ambitions lie in the arts.

Outside ArtMix, the group members are developing their confidence and have been working on exploring new practices and opportunities within in the arts, reviewing arts events and further exploring arts issues. They've been working incredibly hard, and some of the things they've participated in so far include a creative careers day, exhibition reviews, a takeover day at Woodhorn Museum, and a school based ceramics project with artist Alan Vinters. And they haven't yet started Unit 2!

These young people are now well on their way to achieving their Gold Awards, and as they progress, they'll be leading on some exciting events soon to be happening in the south east Northumberland area, so keep an eye out.


Rachael isn't the only Arts Award Adviser who feels the scheme can apply to every child and young person. Read our archive blogs about Arts Award and family learning from Clare Smith, Learning Programmes Manager at Tyne & Wear Archives and Museums, and Building positive learning relationships at Hebburn Comprehensive School.