Ripon Evolve is a centre for young people aged between 16 to 19 who are disengaged from mainstream education, training or employment and require extra support in order to progress to further education, apprenticeships or employment. They engage in a variety of activities, volunteering, community projects, and skills and work towards personalised programmes that include qualifications that suit their individual needs.
12 young people have recently achieved Bronze Arts Awards at Ripon Evolve and explored a mixture of art forms including: costume design, sculpture, theatrical makeup, music, design, painting, origami, carnival props, acting, drawing, video editing and creative writing.
Arts Award is delivered in a manner that encourages engagement and motivation. Each young person is encouraged to select an art form that is of interest to them and will motivate them to work on a project that builds a variety of applied and transferable skills, and develops their confidence and self-esteem.
Each of the young people at Ripon Evolve is encouraged to participate in Volunteering in the Community. The local museums depend on volunteers and many of the students have been involved in different projects.
Museum staff and the Evolve students worked together to think of different ways to encourage young visitors other than the established educational visits to the museum. They decided it would be exciting to open the Workhouse Museum during the evenings for a week and have candlelight visits and that art installations within the museum cells would add to the atmosphere, and used sellotape as a medium for creating sculptures. They discussed how the delicate sticky tape sculptures reflected life in the workhouse as it was fragile, transparent and deteriorates quickly.
The sculptures created a shadowy effect that evoked people from the past. The students used photographic images of the workhouse inmates from the past to recreate poses and also developed some using their own creativity. The students dressed in traditional workhouse costume to set up the exhibits (see pictures on our website: www.riponevolve.co.uk follow link: ‘Shadows of the city’).
The Workhouse Museum promoted the week’s event as ‘Shadows of the City’ in the local press and the Yorkshire Post and the visits also included a magic lantern show, puppet workshop, and archaeology session www.riponmuseums.co.uk
Ripon Evolve continue to work with the Ripon Museum’s Trust on a weekly basis and feel that it offers a great opportunity for the students to develop their skills, learn new skills, inform their CVs and portfolios, support the community and have a public platform to display their art work.
All young people involved are at different levels of ability and different stages of the process. Arts Award is offered though a weekly sessions and opportunities to work on individual projects outside of the classroom are offered with specialist artists in their chosen fields. This can be complex and challenging to orchestrate but the rewards of their individual achievements outweigh any of these challenges.
The young people who were involved in the ‘Shadows of the city’ event gained an opportunity to work with older members of the community who were volunteering at the Workhouse Museum. They also had an opportunity to show their work to primary and secondary school children on educational visits. The young people dressed in Victorian costume and workhouse attire and presented their art installations. This project has forged further links with all members of the local community and has been a major success in supporting community cohesion.
The moderation was a wonderful experience and very special for the young people. They were given a lot of time to discuss their experiences with the moderator, who had a genuine interest in the work that they had completed, in the work of Ripon Evolve, the young people’s lives and educational journeys. She asked about their aspirations for the future and the ways that they could continue to develop their creativity.
‘I really enjoyed doing Arts Award. I developed my creative writing so I feel more confident in my art form. The moderation process didn’t make me feel uncomfortable and it gave me good ideas for Silver and I received really good feedback that helped me creatively.’ Beccy, 17 Bronze achiever
‘Arts Award was a real eye opener to the creative side of education. We had four stages to complete. I made a 20 minute lesson on how to make a piece of music. It was so productive and enjoyable that it inspired me to go on to do music production at Leeds College of Music. Overall it was a great experience and I’m glad that I did it’. Shane, 18 Bronze achiever
‘Arts Award allows young people to explore and demonstrate their creativity in ways that they had previously thought impossible. It is a fabulous way to engage and motivate young people to develop their skills in a positive and exciting manner.’ Bev Skaife, Arts Award adviser at Ripon Evolve
‘What an interesting group of young people all following their own art form. There is some excellent work there. It is very creative and there is good use of communication skills using both photos and DVDs. Fantastic sellotape bodies. The work also engages the young people with the community especially as these young people have often been so disaffected at school’ Susie Barrett Arts Award moderator