Goal 5 in Great art and culture for everyone states our aim for every child and young person to have the opportunity to experience the richness of the arts and culture. One of our immediate priorities underpinning this goal is to raise the standard of work being produced by, with and for children and young people.
Since 2012, we have been working with a range of arts and cultural organisations, devising and testing a set of principles to underpin high quality work by, with and for children and young people.
Our approach is one of facilitation, and to develop bottom-up solutions built upon practitioner experience and expertise, through a series of commissioned research activities, sector workshops and development of tools to help signpost the way to existing good practice and frameworks.
The seven quality principles are:
striving for excellence
being inspiring, and engaging
ensuring a positive child-centred experience
actively involving children and young people
providing a sense of personal progression
developing a sense of ownership and belonging
Testing of the quality principles with fifty organisations is underway. We are working with National Foundation for Education Research (NFER) and Shared Intelligence who have designed an evaluation approach which includes skills development for sector practitioners. The approach encourages critical thinking about the goals and theories of change which underpin their pilot, supporting the research to leave a valuable legacy of practice, not just a report. The principles encourage greater critical thinking about goals which CYP arts/culture practitioners seek, and what ‘great’ and ‘excellent’ look like.
The testing is far reaching. Phases 1 and 2 of the research involved 15 projects working with 725 partner organisations including arts and cultural sector organisations and schools. 47,596 children and young people have been involved in the pilots to date. In phase 3 we have invited another 35 organisations to work with us.
In late July we held a seminar in Birmingham bringing together practitioners from each of the testing phases to share practice, discuss the concept of quality and launch phase 3 of our testing of the principles.This strand of testing will end in November and in early 2015 there will be a report of the findings and plans for next steps.
The quality principles project links closely to other Arts Council work on the impact of engagement in arts and cultural activity and how participation can add value to people’s lives. We are working with the quality metrics project, artistic assessment and the self-evaluation framework.