How Arts Award can work for you
Whether you are a teacher in a hospital school, an artist or arts organisation working in a hospital or health setting, or an arts therapist Arts Award provides a flexible framework for structuring and accrediting your work. Young people enjoy being identified as an artist and not by their medical condition, and the certificate or qualification is something positive to share with friends, family and school.
Children who spend a long time in hospital can sometimes feel they are missing out, and Arts Award can give them a sense of purpose, and that their time spent in hospital has been productive. Arts Award’s time flexibility means that it can be delivered quickly in one or two week admissions, or can be something that young people who have regular, recurrent admissions can pick up where they left off over extended periods of time, or as an outreach programme for children who are being cared for at home. Taking part in and achieving Arts Award has been found to increase confidence and wellbeing of children and young people in health settings, and can inspire others around them.
What they say
Suzie Tidy, Teacher, Chelsea Community Hospital School: 'Staff in our settings are well aware of the therapeutic benefits of art and how it can be one of the only things a child wants to do if they feel unwell. As such, we do offer to pupils a range of arts activities but we have found that the structure of Arts Award enables students to work towards a goal, and to feel that they have achieved something.'
Art therapist, Sussex: 'It has enabled the young person to transfer some of the therapeutic benefits of the work outside of the arts therapy session in developing [their] ability to work at home.'
Chelsea Community Hospital School regularly deliver Arts Award in a variety of ways, from bedside work involving parents, carers and siblings to regular Arts Award Weeks linking with arts and cultural partners. They now have more than 20 Arts Award advisers on their teaching staff, working across four hospital sites.
Sussex Partnership NHS Foundation Trust tested an approach to delivering Arts Award in therapeutic settings. Therapists found the process of taking a young person through Arts Award deepened their relationship, or therapeutic alliance, with the young person and their knowledge of the young person’s wider life. In some cases observing the young person’s response to the Arts Award elements provided greater insight into their difficulties. The project has resulted in a set of Guidelines for Arts Award in therapeutic settings
Oxford University Museums and Collections worked in partnership with The Highfield Unit, taking a pop-up museum into an acute mental health unit for teenagers.
EOTAS (Education Other than at School) have produced a resource on delivering Arts Award with young people who are out of mainstream education due to illness.
Information about adviser training and planning your Arts Award delivery
Information on how we can support you including extensive case studies, resources, and online and face-to-face support offers
Share your story
We are interested in hearing more from advisers and centres working in health settings – please fill in our questionnaire about your work.