As one of the few adult ‘gate-crashers’ at Arts Council England’s #cypquality consultation event on 3 November I am unable to tell you much about what went on as I was kicked-out (politely I must add!) so that the young people could get on with their task of debating the thorny issue of quality. We were allowed back in however at the end of the day to hear participants present their ideas.
The Arts Council’s Young people’s quality event was a great 24 hours of performance, networking and finding out what other young people feel about the arts industry and how it can be improved to benefit us. The event was pretty full-on and we were literally thrown right in. We were divided into different groups to find out what type of things the younger generation of the artistic world want and need to make the most of whatever talent or skill they have, and then we were asked to consider how Arts Council England and other arts organisations can help them.
Pass It On is a short film by Company of Angels, with a ‘target audience’ of children at primary schools – though hopefully everyone can enjoy it. We made it for the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC), and it is distributed through YouTube.
I’m confident that the event on Friday ‘How do we know it’s propa belta?’ would have convinced any cynic of the true value of actively involving children and young people (which is one of the seven 'quality principles' to come out of Arts Council's work on young people, the arts, and quality).
One of Arts Council’s five long term strategic goals is focussed on children and young people. A key priority within this is 'raising the standard work produced by, with and for children and young people'. This is inherently challenging, it raises many issues such as ownership, authenticity, purpose, and who defines ‘excellent’.
This Thursday young people from across England will come together at the Sage Gateshead to reflect, discuss and debate the quality principles of the artistic experiences they have taken part in. The event is the next step in a wider project being undertaken by Arts Council England that hopes to develop a shared approach for the Arts Council and arts and culture organisations to understand and compare the quality of work by, with and for children and young people.