Isobel’s Arts Award Gold Journey

Arts Award offers children and young people a journey of personal, creative discovery; the results of which continue to echo through all aspects of their lives for years to come. 

With a focus on independent working and entrepreneurialism, Arts Award encourages young people to not only seek new opportunities but create their own. South East Dance Producer, Community & Participation, Rose Kigwana, reflects on the Arts Award journey of Isobel, who undertook her Gold Arts Award whilst also training to become an Arts Award advisor:

In 2017, Isobel joined South East Dance as a Placement Student for 9 months. She is studying a BA Hons Degree in Dance at University of Surrey and was keen to join us. The aim of her placement was to gain some professional work experience. As a young person, Isobel has had a significant impact on South East Dance as an organisation and on our artistic programme and the artists and participants we support and work with.

When she arrived at our offices, Isobel had many skills and experiences she wanted to develop so we worked out an ambitious work plan for her placement. South East Dance had just started to work on a new partnership programme with Artswork as the Surrey, East & West Sussex representative for the South East Arts Award Leadership Network. As part of this programme, she trained to become an Arts Award Advisor. We also decided together that she would do her Arts Award Gold with myself as her advisor. Her placement required her to plan and deliver a project and to set herself learning and development goals so we both felt Gold could work well.

Having years of experience with Arts Award but never having delivered Gold I relished and was slightly daunted by the challenge, and Isobel took the challenge in her stride. She extended her own arts practice by learning and then throwing herself headfirst into Dramaturgy and working with young professional artist Katie Dale-Everett to develop her new live dance piece. Half way through we both had the wobbles about aspects of the Gold Arts Award so we had a bit of support along the way from Trinity and other Arts Award Leadership Network members.

Isobel supported a group of girls to achieve their Explore Arts Award, which included work on South East Dance’s Men & Girls project with Fevered Sleep (pictured, photographer Matthew Andrews)

For her leadership project Isobel designed and planned a young ambassadors project with 10 children and young people aged 8-14, giving them opportunities to explore the arts, be creative, work with professional artists, meet the quirky Artistic Director, Miguel Iglesias of Danza Contemporánea de Cuba and review his amazing triple bill dance performance at Brighton Dome. They all got their Arts Award Explore as a result and the moderator stated that Isobel’s project and her role as an advisor was exemplary. He also congratulated Isobel and myself on her Gold portfolio which became a case study on Trinity College, London’s Arts Award website. In addition to this, Isobel supported a group of 17 talented 12-15 year olds to gain Arts Award Bronze.

Without Isobel and her endless passion and commitment, South East Dance would not have got their first 28 Arts Awards in 2017.

This blog post was originally posted on the artswork website.

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