Arts Award Leadership Network

A growing movement of leaders and organisations across the South East

Led by Artswork, the Arts Award Leadership Network (AALN) is a growing movement of organisations and leaders across the South East dedicated to the sustainable development of Arts Award across all settings and levels.

Since the scheme began, combined Arts Award moderations have increased across participants within the network by up to 250%. AALN mentors come from a range of contexts and backgrounds and include NPOs, Youth Arts organisations and leading practitioners.

A set of unique qualifications for young people aged up to 25, which can be acheived at five levels: Discover, Explore, Bronze, Silver and Gold. The awards framework helps young people to develop as arts leaders. The awards assess young people’s creative, communication and leadership skills.

Mentees in the programme enjoy unique access to these peer mentors, who will support and guide them through a range of bespoke aims and objectives. These will firmly embed Arts Award into their work with children and young people.

A typical outcome we might expect to see would be the mentee to move from being a Supporter to becoming an active Centre. Or to progress from delivering Discover to Explore, or from Bronze to Silver and Gold. Previous mentees have included National Portfolio Organisations, Music Education Hubs, youth arts organisations and museums.

We are in the early stages of our Arts Gold provision and the support we have had has been superb. Despite the restrictions of lockdown my mentor has been so generous with her time, highlighting great resources, signposting training, listening to my students and advising them on how to shape and develop their projects. We are really looking forward to the first group completing the programme successfully and growing this exciting provision!

Chris Holmwood – Mentee

Headteacher, Shenley Brook End School

It’s been really valuable for me to continue as an AALN mentor during this last year. At a time when we found ourselves separated from lots of work colleagues and contacts, my mentoring role enabled me to stay connected with both Arts Award centres in the South East and with others in the Leadership Network – between us we frequently support each other and share ideas and inspiration.  I was able to carry on supporting schools, arts and cultural organisations to continue their Arts Award journey through remote and digital processes, ultimately meaning that more young people were able to achieve their Arts Award during such a challenging year.  A really important aspect of the leadership programme for me is the chance I get to actually be an Arts Award adviser and guide young people through their Gold award.  During the pandemic one of my students overcame so many hurdles to complete her Level 3 award and progress onto art college as well as being recognised in the Trinity Talent Class of 2020, what a great achievement! 

Julie Neville – Mentor

Freelance Consultant and Project Manager

This year many young people have faced challenging circumstances, changes of routine, new ways of working. But this is also true for the amazing staff and organisations supporting them. Mentoring this year has been a hugely valuable way of providing a support network – to share ideas, remember all the amazing reasons that we want to be empowering young people, and to keep up the energy that is essential to drive this fantastic work forwards. It’s been an honour to be able to work with my mentees through this time and provide some of that support, enabling them to continue to work in amazing ways with their young people.

Caz Creagh – Mentor

Creative Learning and Participation Manager, Arts and Culture, Eastleigh Borough Council


Youth Arts Leaders Network

The Youth Arts Leaders Network has a growing membership of creative young people from across the South East of England.

This unique network of young people actively feed into conversations with peers, sharing ideas and opportunities that they come across.

The purpose of the network is to enrich the career prospects of the young people within the arts sector, create a peer-based learning structure and support and fund young people through a Gold Arts Award.

Meet The Mentors

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