IVE Celebrates #LoveArtsAward

10th February 2020 - Jenny Moscrop

This week we are celebrating #LoveArtsAward, marking 15 years of supporting young people to build creative skills through the arts.


Arts Award provides a framework to develop practical, employable skills, while bringing young people into conversation with their local arts and community, through placements, volunteering, training and research. It is evidence of independent skills and learning, and Arts Award Gold is formally recognised as 16 UCAS points.

We spoke to Arts Award Gold artist, James Thomas, and asked him what he loves about Arts Award…

Tell us about your Arts Award

“I enjoy my own form of collage art using recycled materials. I had an exhibition venue in mind for the public showing of my artwork for the Gold Arts Award course in July 2019, which was the Durham World Heritage Site Visitors Centre (WHSVC) near the Cathedral. I worked with a great team to prepare for the event – the Youth Theatre Director at York Theatre Royal, the co-ordinator of the Durham WHSVC, a printer, website designer and many different people involved in marketing and publicity.”


What skills did you really feel you developed?

“Being involved in writing a survey to find out people’s opinions on whether using art from recycled materials should be encouraged and interpreting the answers. I also wrote the press release for the exhibition with the assistance of the Communications Officer of Durham University. Communicating with the press and contact with BBC Look North East, who filmed me at the event.”

What was the highlight about doing your Arts Award?

“Feeling part of a team and producing something at the end that the people who visited my exhibition said they really enjoyed. They wrote very positive comments in my visitors’ book. I felt more confident as a result of doing my Gold Arts Award. I now have my own website www.jamesowenthomas.com”

What did you feel challenged you?

“The artistic challenge of learning how to create another form of art that would look professional enough to sell to the public at the Durham exhibition. I learned how to create an interesting print from a copper plate etching when I worked alongside the artists, David and Heather Cook during a placement with them in their studio.”



“I also created an art installation in the red phone box near the centre to display my photography, which then became an advertisement to guide visitors into the main exhibition. On the day of setting this up in the phone box, it poured with rain and I found it very difficult to work.”



“Meeting deadlines of setting up the red phone box display and also hanging my artwork in the WHSVC in good time before the preview event. Luckily, everything went well in the end and I met all my deadlines.”

You can see more of James’s work at his website, www.jamesowenthomas.com

To learn more, visit our Arts Award page, or the Arts Award Website.

To train as an Arts Award Adviser for your organisation, book onto one of our training sessions here.

To become an Arts Award adviser and support and assess children and young people through Arts Award you need to successfully complete a training course. You can find out everything you need to know about training as an adviser on the Arts Award website.

Read the Arts Award adviser person specification to find out if Arts Award training is right for you.

You can also use the Arts Award levels at a glance resource to determine the appropriate level for your young people.

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