quality principles

Understanding the value of arts and culture

When I arrived at the Arts Council a little over two years ago, I discovered (with some alarm!) that I was going to be the Executive Board member with responsibility for Goal 1, for ensuring that ‘excellence is thriving and celebrated in arts, museums and libraries’. Who was going to determine what was ‘excellent’ – our arts and cultural leaders? The professional critics? …Me? Would it ever be possible to agree within the Arts Council – let alone amongst arts and cultural organisations – what are the key determinants of ‘quality’? 

Curve Theatre’s Young Arts Entrepreneurs programme

Tim Ford explains how one programme is enabling young people to experience ‘excitement and engagement’ by taking their own artistic ambitions and making them reality.

The 7 quality principles: an artist responds…

1st principle: Strive for excellence

Absolutely. No problem. Happy to do that. It's what I live for.

2nd principle: Be authentic

Quality principle number 3: 'Being exciting, inspiring and engaging'

The wording of this principle implies not only a deliberate distinction between the three elements (excite, inspire, engage) but also a degree of serial progression through these three forms of experience.

To ‘excite’ a young person is to provide them with an experience which is likely to be highly enjoyable and thought-provoking, possibly frightening or even disturbing, but invariably positive and life-enhancing.

To ‘inspire’ is to go further – to suggest new ideas or discoveries and to provoke an urge to take some form of action or decision arising from them.

Striving for excellence...or not?

I've been part of the Arts Council's Working group on Quality of work for, with and by children and young people since its inception 18 months ago.

To youth board or not to youth board…? Creating the right environment to hear young people (part one)

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.

Young people's quality event: What did we think of the day and, more importantly, where is this going?

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.

Quality principle 5: Actively involving children and young people

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).

Continuing the quality conversation

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’.

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