All for Arts and Arts for All: observations from a series of visual art workshops for young people
The impact of arts education and its need for funding and resource provision is an ongoing debate in the UK. There is an established trend in awarding funding to organisations that deliver projects to young people with societal impacts. This dissertation reports and analyses the results of artistic participatory workshops on 11 to 13 year olds within Arbroath, Scotland in order to determine results for the participants, analyse the influence of the presence of an artist to deliver these workshops and form recommendations for how secondary school education, arts organisations and artists can work together effectively in future models. The research aims have been met through an extensive study of relevant literature and the in-person observation and analysis of a visual arts engagement project. This research produced a number of key findings: the result of participation in the visual arts project was a contribution to the young people’s skills in creative and critical thinking; the role of the artist was to use her expertise to achieve ‘artistic democracy’ and allow for the voice of the participants to be heard; and that schools in the local area are fighting a battle to maintain the expressive arts as part of the broader curriculum. The main conclusions drawn from this research are that art activity leads to creative and critical thinking which is useful to young people in everyday and adult life; artists’ skills are vital in breaking down barriers to creative and artistic democracy; and arts educators, artists and organisations must utilise their expertise and work in partnership to provide meaningful opportunities for young people to engage and participate in art. This research argues for recommendations including; • moving away from the evaluation of projects based on societal, health or economic impacts. • the creation of an environment for secondary age pupils, out of school curricula, where they can participate in projects led by artists. • Schools, artists and arts organisations should utilise their skills and own areas of expertise to work together to create time and space for creative democracy and critical thinking.