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Arts Award

Two images, left image shows ink roller with red handle, rolling gold ink on yellow tray. Right image shows two relief ombre prints of a book cover, with the text Fantastic Mr Fox and an image of a Fox.

What is Arts Award?

Arts Award inspires young people to grow their arts and leadership talents: it is creative, valuable, and accessible. 

How does it work?

Arts Award can be achieved at five levels: Discover, Explore, Bronze, Silver and Gold. Each level is designed for an age range between 5-25 years old, and can involve, but are not limited to, visiting arts events, learning about different artist and art forms, and creating your own artwork. Durham University Library and Collections is an Arts Award Centre, as well as registered to deliver and assess Arts Award at Discover, Explore, Bronze and Silver levels.  

Audience impact

Since 2018, Collection Outreach have facilitated and assessed over 250 Arts Awards, from Discover to Silver level. Explore some of the most impactful projects of recent years:  

Cosins’ Library Project (2021-22)

Cosin’s Library’s Artist in Residence, Sofia Barton, created a virtual workshop for 5–7-year-olds at Diamon Hall Infant School. Creating a downloadable Discover Cosin’s Library worksheet and an instructional video on Matchbox Art, Sofia explored the idea of heritage and storytelling. Resources were posted to the school, including worksheets; pens; glue; blank match boxes and paper. The children were encouraged to think about what precious treasures they would keep in their match box. 
Coxhoe Primary also took part in a live online session streamed from Cosin’s Library, using a printing press and specialist paints. 

Altogether, 72 children from three Year 2 classes at Diamond Hall Infants and 26 children from two Year 3 classes at Coxhoe Primary received their Discover Level Arts Award Certificates. 

“I think the children have really appreciated the opportunity this art has presented to them to be creative. Some have experimented with colour, presentation and style, and others have even opted to tell a story through their work. Seeing them take this opportunity to be creative and explore storytelling in their work has been a treat!” - Mr Shanks, Diamond Hall Infants 

Silk Road and Summer in the City Bronze and Silver Arts Award (2020) 

Durham University Library and Collections delivered Bronze and Silver level Arts Award to 23 young people, aged 12- 17, through The Girls’ Network - a charity established to inspire and empower girls from the least advantaged communities - in our first virtual program of this kind. Three artists, Bridie Jackson, Kirsten Luckins and Isabella Carreras, were commissioned to create online workshops or downloadable resources for students from The Girls’ Network to participate in from home. 

“What I enjoyed most about this activity was the theme of forgiveness, as sometimes it is not just about forgiving others, it's about forgiving yourself.” – The Girls’ Network young person. 

Other Arts Award projects

In order to enhance our engagement programmes, we have acquired funding for, planned, facilitated and assessed Arts Awards for temporary exhibitions such as Catch your Breath, Norman Cornish: The Sketchbooks, Cosin’s Library Project and Scaling the Heights with local schools as well as through clubs such as Durham Archaeology Explorers. We have supported organisations such as Helix Art and been funded by Culture Bridge, Arts Council England and Northern Heartland for Arts Award. 

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