An Arts Award case study

Want to work towards your Arts Award with us? Here's an example of the exciting opportunities we can offer young people.

For six weeks in 2019, Greenvale School – a community school in Lewisham with pupils who have profound and multiple learning difficulties (PMLD) – worked with the Museum of London to offer its students a Bronze Arts Award.

This dress is made of white cotton woven with pairs of very fine red silk stripes.

An 18th-century dress

Made of white cotton woven with pairs of very fine red silk stripes.

Students explored artistic and mark-making techniques under the guidance of artist Angela Wright, drawing inspiration from the museum’s fashion collection, from historic dresses and jewellery to Roman mosaics.

Since we’re keen to understand how our museum can support students’ employability – particularly those with PMLD – we worked closely with the school and partnered with A New Direction to ensure a rigorous evaluation to support this work in the future.

For one student, the project was particularly enlightening. She immediately took to the techniques being taught: fan making, drapery, print making, embossing and in particular the intricacies of weaving.

As part of the award, the students were invited to I Am TATE Exchange, a celebration of the end of their projects and an opportunity to teach other SEND students their learned skills. A few weeks before, the students had made a banner and practised the session they were planning to lead. It was evident here that this particular student had a knack for leading and a deep interest in helping people.

19th-century shawl

19th-century weaving

Shawl produced on a Jacquard loom.

At the event, the students didn’t have a lot of time to prepare their session, or practice – a feature important for this group – and yet, when it was Greenvale’s turn to lead, our example student took charge with quiet confidence and led a successful weaving session.

We had assumed that the students might find it a challenging environment and need support, but this was debunked as the adults became the assistants to her. With self-assurance and talent, she patiently guided students through the technique and encouraged individual creativity.

Through learning new art-making skills, researching, and teaching a skill to another person, this student has earned a Bronze Arts Award. On top of building valuable transferable skills which will help inform her creative thinking, as well as practical skills, she displayed good leadership, which the Arts Award values highly.

After the TATE exchange event, the museum team were pleased to find out that she has applied and been successful to a textiles course at a local college. In response to this, we are attempting to provide opportunities for her and others like her to get involved in leading sessions so SEND students can be inspired by people who they can relate to.

Up-and-coming opportunities include learning at SEND Quiet days at the museum, work experience placements and project-based work.

Find out more about Arts Award

Find out more about Arts Award at www.artsaward.org.uk or contact us to discuss how the Museum of London can support your Arts Award at [email protected].