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Research into impact of Arts Award national qualification

Researchers from LSBU's Weeks Centre for Social and Policy Research are exploring the impact of the Arts Award on young people

This three-year project is running from August 2012 until October 2015. It's led by researchers at LSBU's Weeks Centre for Social and Policy Research to explore the impacts over time of the Arts Award on young people aged 11-25. Arts Award is a set of national qualifications for young people aged 7-25 that supports them to grow as artists and arts leaders, developing their creativity and communication skills.

The research examines the extent to which participating in Arts Awards impacts on young people's:

  • personal and social skills
  • arts-related and creative skills
  • knowledge and understanding of the arts and cultural world
  • enjoyment, enthusiasm and participation in arts and cultural activities and opportunities
  • aspiration and motivation for arts-related further study, careers, or other progression

The research, funded by Arts Council England and Trinity College London, is also exploring the wider impacts of the programme on Arts Award advisers, the settings in which awards are delivered, and other stakeholders. To gather feedback on these topics, the research is involving:

  • surveys of young people
  • surveys of Arts Award advisers
  • case studies of 15 schools and organisations delivering Arts Award
  • longitudinal qualitative interviews with 50 young people over 2 years
  • in-depth reflective interviews with 10 Arts Award 'alumni':  young people who completed an Arts Award qualification three or more years prior
  • analysis of existing Arts Award data

Interim findings

Year one findings suggest that some of the key benefits of Arts Award include encouraging leadership development and peer tutoring skills in young people as well as fostering independent learning. A further key strength appears to be the way the award fosters 'meta-cognition', allowing participants and leaders to reflect on what's been learned. The mix of activity undertaken for Arts Award leads to achievements in communication, creativity and leadership skills and is what makes the award a unique qualification.

In years two and three of this study, the research team will further test identified 'key mechanisms' which appear to underpin Arts Award's success to date. These will be placed in their wider educational, societal and political context. They will track the impact of doing one or more Arts Awards on individual young people over a period of time. This will examine Arts Award's leverage in relation to sustained skills development, access to new opportunities, and pathways into further qualifications, FE, HE, training and employment.

Download a report of interim research findings from year one of the project.

Project team

The project is led by LSBU's Dr Sumi Hollingworth from our Weeks Centre for Social and Policy Research. Her team includes Dr Yvonne Robinson and Evangelia Chaligianni from the Weeks Centre, Dr Anna Paraskevopoulou from the Working Lives Research Institute at London Metropolitan University and Dr Ayo Mansaray from Brunel University.


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