What is Artsmark?

Posted by Leonie Harris

What is Artsmark?

We are excited to have our first guest post, written by Dr Nick Owen, the CEO of the Mighty Creatives. This post focuses on ArtsMark and how important it is to get creative!

LOV is a proud supporter of ArtsMark and we are open to discussions with schools on how our network can support them in the future.

Now, over to Nick...

People often ask me, what’s The Mighty Creatives all about then? And what’s an Arts Council Bridge Organisation when it’s at home? And what does being an arts infrastructure organisation actually mean?

Having been CEO of The Mighty Creatives for about five minutes now, I finally get it and it’s simple. An arts infrastructure organisation builds arts infrastructure much like architects and civil engineers build roads, railways and the national grid.

Without civil infrastructure, people would never have travelled, economies would have stalled and public health would have been an impossible day dream. Infrastructure is not a particularly sexy subject and although there is some romance to roads, railways and wind turbines, we generally don’t enthuse about how wonderful infrastructure can be – until it goes missing.

Arts infrastructure has similar functions: it gives young people the chance to learn and progress, provides opportunities for them to experience cultural richness on a hitherto unimaginable scale and increasingly is providing opportunities to earn income and sustain an independent economic life. Without artistic infrastructure, cultural health and well being would be unimaginable.

Philosophers such as Plato, Aristotle, Kant and Nietzsche used to put the question of what constituted “the good life” central to their philosophies. Organisations like The Mighty Creatives help do something similar. By helping young people open doors to knowledge, connect to cultural experiences and catalyse relationships with their histories and futures, we ask the question of what constitutes ‘the creative life’.

The creative life isn’t just about developing young people as artists, performers or other creative types: it’s much more about improving their personal, economic and not least their educational prospects. And to do that, we work in partnership with Arts Council England to promote Artsmark.

Artsmark is a framework to support schools to plan, deliver and evaluate high quality arts and culture in the classroom. It supports the delivery of the Arts Council’s Cultural Education Challenge and cultural organisations can support Artsmark schools to achieve their cultural objectives by providing high quality arts for their staff and pupils.

Redesigned in 2015, the new award is designed by schools, for schools and supports deeper connections with schools’ own strategies, by aligning with school curriculum and planning cycles. It does this by:

  • Emphasising the need for forward planning not retrospectively auditing;
  • Using the arts as a mechanism for overall school development
  • Providing the richness and variety that arts can offer to balance the drier school diet of exams and tests
  • Develops young people’s well-being, creative skills, and resilience
  • Generating outcomes of value to the school

Now in its sixteenth year, the Artsmark award has helped schools to ensure all children and young people have access to high quality arts and culture.

Whilst being an infrastructure organisation may not be a particularly a sexy job, someone has to be the cultural architects of the future: and in supporting the Arts Council goal of achieving Great art and culture for everyone through the Artsmark programme, it’s a pretty romantic thing to aspire to, too.

Written by Dr. Nick Owen FRSA MBE, CEO of The Mighty Creatives.

If you would like to get in contact with us about how we can support your school, please email Emily.Bowman@litc.org.uk for more information.