Quality in practice

When Paul Hamlyn Foundation developed the original ArtWorks: developing practice in participatory settings special initiative, one of the things it wanted to achieve was 'a better understanding of what constitutes quality in the work, thus ensuring better experiences for participants'.

Connected to the ArtWorks Scotland pathfinder, Creative Scotland commissioned Developing a Foundation for Quality Guidance, looking at research and learning across ArtWorks, the UK, internationally and beyond the arts sector, to act as a stepping stone to the development of quality tools for the sector.

Both ArtWorks Scotland and ArtWorks Cymru have used this to inform their toolkits.

 

In Scotland, Is this the best it can be? encourages artists, partners and participants to discuss what is important to their project through a series of prompt questions. Partnerships can build these into their projects creating a bespoke compass for their work, taking them on a reflective journey and ultimately asking the question ‘is this the best it can be?’

Pilots showed that it can help them to:

  • explore and agree the nature of a collaboration
  • support curiosity, questioning and being positively critical
  • encourage reflection and give breadth and depth to discussions
  • recognise where good practice exists and celebrate it
  • promote a true sense of partnership between artists, partners and participants 
  • gather qualitative information about the project

Creative Scotland are running an event about the toolkit on 4 December 2017 and eight case studies relating to the use of the toolkit will be published shortly. 

 

In Wales, the ArtWorks Cymru Quality Principles set out nine best practice principles across three key areas: Intention, Activity and People. The online toolkit provides a range of different tools that support reflection on practice using the principles.

ArtWorks Cymru have now created a Quality Principles checklist for teachers with A2 Connect (Arts in Education Network) and is working with Voluntary Arts Wales to explore making a Quality Principles checklist for voluntary groups.

They are also working with Arts Council Wales to re-develop their Quality Assessment Form to make it more suitable for participatory arts, using the ArtWorks Cymru Quality Principles as the key tool.

ArtWorks Cymru Quality Principles training sessons are currently being rolled out with various ArtWorks Cymru partners. Check the ArtWorks Cymru website and the latest Alliance newsletter for details!

 

You can search our Knowledge Bank for all the ArtWorks resources about quality.

Also recommended reading:

Seidel et al, (2009) The Qualities of Quality: Understanding Excellence in Arts Education

What does “quality” look like in arts education? Harvard Graduate School of Education’s Project Zero explored the challenges of achieving and sustaining quality arts learning.