Worcestershire Arts Partnership Blog

Thursday, 27 April 2017

Worcestershire Arts Partnership (WAP) Membership

Worcestershire Arts Partnership (WAP) Membership



We are contacting you because you are in some way involved with Worcestershire Arts Partnership (WAP) – maybe you’re on the Steering Group, or attend sub-group meetings, or have taken part in WAP events, or maybe you just have an interest in Arts across the county and follow us on social media….

However you’re involved, we want you to know about an exciting new development for WAP, as it prepares a Membership option for anyone who wants to become an official WAP Member and receive a range of benefits. 

Once you’ve read the information below, please take 2 minutes to complete the survey in this link by 12th May 2017 (the survey is not committing you to anything but it is important to help us understand likely numbers).



What will I get?

A while ago the WAP network were consulted on what they most wanted from WAP.  Results included networking, training, brokering projects.  This has influenced what we are now offering within membership.  By becoming a WAP member, you will get:


-          Free place at a minimum of 4 WAP CPD training events each year – and a say in topics to be covered (NB: previous training events have included crowd-funding, social media, income generation)


-          Free or subsidised place at annual WAP Conference with keynote speakers – and a say on themes


-          Full involvement in and access to any of the 4 WAP sub-groups


-          Access to online resources in a WAP member area (includes case-studies; latest national/regional initiatives; arts business advice localised for Worcestershire)


-          Full use of WAP branding on your promotional material


-          Ability to quote WAP membership in your funding bids


-          Automatic notification of any projects or funding bids being co-ordinated by WAP (and WAP has had many recent successes with Jump Start, CYP and Health sub-group bids)


-          Greater publicity of your organisation over WAP’s social media channels


-          We are also exploring the possibility of WAP offering administration of DBS checks


-          The satisfaction that you are enabling the continuation of the only county-wide arts infrastructure partnership across Worcestershire, a collective voice for the arts, and the great arts development work that this brings for artists. 


What will it cost me?

We know that many arts organisations and artists provide their time and energy now to drive WAP forward in its work.  But, as with all organisations, WAP can’t sustain its exciting activity, enabling and providing all sorts of opportunities for artists, unless it develops sustainable funding streams.  Arts Council funding for infrastructure support has now come to an end.  Membership is an essential avenue for continuing WAP’s work and will be part of a number of different ways in which WAP will continue to fundraise and develop.


These are the planned annual costs of WAP Membership, to receive benefits listed above:


Individual members:

Annual earnings of £40,000+                          £60 p/a


Annual earnings of £15,000 - £39,999            £40 p/a


Less than £15,000, students,              £20 p/a

not in paid employment, retired


Organisational members:

Turnover of £100,000+                                   £250


Turnover of less than £100,000                      £100


NB: Organisational members funding WAP at £250 will automatically be included in WAP’s Steering Group, informing decisions that drive forward the work of WAP



What will you do with the money?

The money will go directly into funding WAP’s work for you, specifically….

-          Funding the artist leads of each sub-group (Health, Artist development, Children and Young People, Economy) to co-ordinate and drive forward eg: writing funding bids and organising artist workshops

-          Funding all costs associated with artist training sessions and annual conference

-          Funding online resource development for members

-          Funding an increase in social media promotion of WAP members’ work



What happens if I don’t join?

You will still receive WAP newsletters and information, but WAP will need to start charging non-members to attend WAP CPD training sessions, annual conference and your organisation won’t be able to cite official WAP membership in funding bids.  The less people who take on WAP membership, the less effective support for members will be; a critical mass is needed.  Sub-groups may not continue, bringing in funds for artist opportunities.   



What happens now?

We plan to launch the membership programme this Summer, but at this stage we just want to understand how many people will be signing up.  Knowing how many members we are likely to have means we can clarify the amount of support we can give.  It’s a bit like Crowdfunding – the more people sign up, the more we can offer in return. 

Please can you take just 2 minutes to complete this short survey, asking about your likelihood to take up membership.  Please complete by the 12th May 2017.

We are not holding you to this.  It is just to give us an idea before we go live with the plans: 


Thank you for continuing to support WAP. 


Debbie Birch, WAP Development Manager.

Wednesday, 26 April 2017

WAP Newsletter April 2017

WAP Newsletter April 2017


Inspiring Futures through the Arts


We had some great news at the end of March. Our funding bids to the West Mercia Police and Crime Commissioner (OPCC) were successful. This has been the second year that WAP has received funding and we are hugely thankful for the OPCC for showing faith in us.


The Project's History

The project came about after we engaged with The Cultural Commissioning programme, led by The Arts Council of England and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations.  Its aim was to create greater understanding by the arts sector of the outcomes of Public Sector Commissioners. I attended some of the training that was available and that led to WAP working with The Elmley Foundation and colleagues in Hereford to run an event at The Courtyard Theatre in September 2015.

The event was a success and featured many guest speakers including the Deputy Police and Crime Commissioner for West Mercia. Following this, the OPCC invited us to apply for a grant to reduce crime. In February 2016, we submitted an application which was successful.


Finding artists

With Debbie Birch, as Project Manager, we quickly went to work finding artists across a range of artistic disciplines who had some experience of working with similar client groups.

We called our programme Inspiring Futures through the Arts because ultimately that is what we wanted to do; to make a difference to people's lives and inspire them. We appointed the following artists:

·        Ruby Jennings who is a sculptor working with found metal materials, with lots of experience of small and large scale sculptures and who has worked with many excluded groups including young male NEETs (Not in education or employment).

·        Laura McFall who is a drama and creative writing practitioner, again, experienced in working with excluded groups, and who had a background in social work.

·        Jest a Minute who as a drama company also have a background in working with targeted groups including prisoners.

·        Miraculous Magic who use magic and illusion to develop confidence and skills in adults and young people.

·        The Worcester Arts Workshop working with Caged Arts.  After the initial taster sessions, WAW and Caged Arts chose not to move into phase two, but the main artist who we did work with from this grouping was Kay Mullett. Kay is a Ceramicist with a social work background and experienced in working in care settings.


Reaching those at risk of (re)offending

Alongside finding artists, Debbie and I sought people at risk of offending who would take part in the project.  We soon realised we needed to work closely with criminal justice organisations – we couldn’t do this alone.  Relationship building with a new sector takes time.  Our network of similarly funded partners (the Sports Partnership, Energise and more) were finding the same.  How do you encourage Probation services, Hostels, Drug Rehabilitation services and others that it is worth investing time in Arts/Sports/life-coaching?  We at WAP decided the only way to do this was to offer them, and their clients, arts tasters, and this is how we started to unlock the doors.


Tasters were held at West Mercia Community Rehabilitation Company (WWMCRC – this was Probation) HQ, Willowdene Care Farm (where some Worcestershire probation service users are taken on a Thursday and Friday), and the Youth Support Service’s Employment Group for those who have offended or are at risk of offending. After these half hour tasters, service users and their group leaders effectively chose with which artists they wanted to work.  A series of weekly workshop sessions were then set up.




It was a pre-requisite that all artists attend training. This was run by a company called Young Solutions and all our artists undertook training on Outcome Star Evaluation using the Justice Star. This evaluation is key to showing the progress of each service user against certain criteria such as managing emotions, managing money, self-esteem, work/employability, accommodation, and is undertaken at least twice, showing progress before and after the arts interventions.  Artists also attended OPCC funded safeguarding training.  Supporting our artists is something that we know is important in such a project and we would like to build on this next year.  An artists’ review session at the end of the year proved incredibly helpful, as well as giving us a chance to thank them all for their brilliant work. 


Facts and figures – what we did

Workshops have proved hugely successful and each of our artists and groups have had some great results.

·        c.40 people at risk of offending attended arts taster sessions before full courses began

·        8 separate courses took place.  These were…

o   Drama with WWMCRC’s Senior Attendance Centre group

o   Sculpture and metalwork with Senior Attendance Centre group

o   Sculpture and metalwork with Youth Support Service Employment Group

o   Drama and creative writing with Youth Support Service group

o   Magic with WWMCRC group

o   Creating writing with WWMCRC group

o   Drama with WWMCRC group

o   Ceramics at Willowdene for Worcestershire WWMCRC service users

·        Over 70 separate arts sessions were held. 

·        Encouraging regular attendance was one of the steepest learning curves.  The nature of the client group meant that encouraging regular attendance at anything, even where clients were mandated to attend, was often problematic.  So when we realised that 20-25 people DID attend our arts sessions regularly, we were thrilled.     



Evidence of success

All of the Outcome Stars completed have shown progress in 9/10 areas of the Outcome Star, especially strong in self-esteem and managing emotions.  Importantly, many of the Service Users also began thinking of themselves as artists.


Qualitative feedback collected by the artists and offender managers at each session has also been great feedback (eg: Quote from Probation Officer - “Because of this project, she is now engaging with other services. She was completely not engaged before the drama project and now she is engaging with her offender manager”……quote from service user ‘I’m in my own bubble mostly, but this session has helped me grow stronger and realise I need to have boundaries and feel in control and get to know people slowly and over time before trusting’)


Participants at one of our creative writing courses produced a magazine of their own writing, which they themselves called ‘Reboot’.  At the back of this magazine, they contributed their feedback on the course: ‘Made me not so fearful about own imagination – taught me not to be uptight’; ‘most enjoyable probation course ever done’, ‘rewarding’, ‘useful for releasing floodgates’, ‘made me get my feelings out – hopefully helps’, ‘free to be myself’, ‘I’ve been onto the BBC writer’s room and will seriously consider contributing’


Susanah Stennett, Head of Service at West Mercia CRC, wrote a letter of support for the next year’s funding application, which said ‘Our organisation is proud and grateful to have been a partner in Inspiring Futures through the Arts.  Our service users have undertaken creative writing, drama, magic, metalwork and ceramics; their feedback and that of their Offender Managers is that many have increased in confidence and motivation as a result as well as improving their engagement with intervention.  Some have found new and positive interests for their everyday life’.


We employed a filmmaker called Nicola Prestage and her company, Tiger Features, to make a film of the project, with consents from participants in place.  Nicola has been great, herself experienced at working with similar client groups and helping people feel at ease.  Whilst the final, full version is being edited, a taster of the project can be seen here:   https://youtu.be/96mUJ4-zU28

We will share the full film as soon as it is available.


Finally, some of the service users are going on to take arts placements, training and further interventions. 


Thanks must go to all the artists involved, the OPCC, the WWMCRC and the Youth Support Service and to Worcestershire County Council who provided some match funding.

We are delighted to have received funding to run another year of adults creative sessions – and with relationships now in place we hope to do more and to build on the successes of year one.  We are also really pleased to have the opportunity to provide arts interventions with 13-16 year olds at risk of offending, working mainly in the north of the county.  More details about both these projects will follow in due course as they get underway.

Friday, 21 April 2017

BEST OF YOUNG JAZZ . Saturday 8th July 2017

JAZZ SATURDAY….  An exciting, upbeat jazz workshop led by 3 professional jazz artists for young musicians & singers aged 13+

Saturday 08 July 2017

Funded by Severn Arts in partnership with Best of Young Jazz – Free of charge.

Worcestershire venue to be confirmed soon!


Deadline for bookings – Wednesday 21 June


Dear young musicians


I’m delighted to invite you to an exciting, upbeat day of music making on Saturday 08 July 2017.

Whether you’re a singer or instrumentalist, on Jazz Saturday, you will receive bespoke support from our three fantastic professional jazz artists (details below) to create a new arrangement of work bringing together these two essential elements of jazz music.


Sometimes, the full ensemble – instrumentalists and vocalists – will work together and learn from one another; and at other times, we will split the group to focus on techniques particular to each element.  


The key objectives for the vocalists will be about singing in harmony, learning different ways of approaching improvisation including 'scatting', how to improvise over chord changes and what to listen for to ensure a good working relationship when working with instrumentalists.


For instrumentalists, the workshop will also explore different improvisation techniques as well as composing from scratch without traditional musical notation, with a focus on learning how to work cooperatively and in harmony with jazz vocals.   


Participants will be invited to work in different ways with their instrument and voice, and be given the opportunity to perform informally to parents and friends at the end of the day. The workshop will be delivered in such a way that students at various levels of experience can be involved, have fun and develop their musical understanding, skill and interest in jazz.


Jazz Saturday will take place on 08 March in Worcestershire – we are just confirming venue details and will let you know as soon as possible. The workshop will be led by three professional jazz artists and can accommodate up to 20 instrumentalists and 20 vocalists on a first come first served basis.


This practical day is part of a series of inspiring jazz programmes being delivered across the county to develop skills and enthusiasm associated with jazz music. Managed by Best of Young Jazz and financially supported by Arts Council England, The Bransford Trust and Severn Arts; the opportunity is offered free of charge to young jazz musicians across Worcestershire and beyond. 


The day-of-jazz will be led by three professional jazz musicians and educators, all prodigy of Birmingham Conservatoire and a tour de force of the jazz scene, locally and much further afield -


  • Jazz Saturday will run from, 10.00am – 4.00pm, including an informal end-of-day sharing (approx. 3.45pm), which family and friends are invited to attend.  
  • Participants will need to bring their voice and/or instrument, and a packed lunch. Light refreshments will be provided at break time.
  • Further details will be provided and gathered following your initial email booking.

  • Please RSVP to Marie Oldaker (Acting) Project-Manager - Best of Young Jazz, as soon as possible to secure your place: oldaker_m@hotmail.com

Join us:

Twitter: twitter.com/bestofyoungjazz
Instagram: Instagram.com/bestofyoungjazz


Thursday, 20 April 2017

CALL FOR ARTISTS / ARTS ORGS - Commission opportunity

Artists/Arts Organisations Commission:


Elliot Foundation Arts Ambassador Schools Network




Deadline:  Wednesday 3rd May 2017, noon


‘I am me, we are us’ Brief:

We are looking for a digital artist or an arts organisation to work with 8 schools across Birmingham and Walsall. Through 'I am me, we are us' we are hoping to explore digital arts practice in our schools in order to inspire young people and help celebrate their local identities. The programme will culminate in a sharing and celebration on Friday 8th December 2017.


Our primary focus is digital, especially film, photography and music production. We are also interested in how the performing arts might be included in the approach, in particular, spoken word, drama or dance.



The Elliot Foundation is a charitable multi-academy trust specialising in primary academies. This commission will bring together 8 schools from across the area.


The Elliot model starts with the school and its unique context. We expect all their schools to actively support each other and to share emergent and best practice for everyone’s benefit. We want each school to assert and celebrate its distinctive identity within this community of academies.


Arts Connect is an initiative of the University of Wolverhampton tasked to deliver the Bridge programme in the West Midlands to improve arts and cultural engagement of children and young people. For further information visit: www.artsconnectwm.co.uk


Our Arts Ambassador School Network programme involves established school networks (e.g. Multiple Academy Trusts) working together to develop teachers as leaders (i.e. as Arts Ambassadors), to achieve an Artsmark as part of a whole network focussed programme on the arts. This involves working with arts, culture and heritage sector, CPD for teachers, Arts Awards, and a celebration event.





The ‘I am me, we are us’ Programme:

The commission was created in response to our collective ambition to develop our approach to the arts in our schools. We are keen to improve our artistic provision and simultaneously celebrate the local identities of our young people and their communities. As well as providing a high quality experience for young people, there should be an element of specific art form Professional Development (CPD) for school staff during the programme.


In terms of digital art, we are interested in how we can make use of our existing equipment, in addition to experimenting with new technologies. Access to these varies across the network.


As stated, our primary focus is digital, especially film, photography and music production. We are also interested in how the performing arts might be included in the approach, in particular, spoken word, drama and dance.


We expect delivery to fit within the timeline indicated below. We anticipate that delivery will be split between summer and autumn term. Participating children will be aged 6 – 10.

As all participating schools are undertaking Artsmark, the programme should recognise Arts Council England's Quality Principles. For information on these please refer to
http://www.artscouncil.org.uk/quality-metrics/quality-principles. These form the basis of our approach to evaluation.


We would expect that the artist/arts organisation will take a lead on project, managing the artist programme in partnership with the Arts Ambassadors (i.e. the lead teacher) in each school, and with the lead Arts Ambassador.



The budget is £13,500, inclusive of travel & VAT; based on the artist/arts organisation being responsible for own tax and NI on a freelance basis. This fee includes:


·                One network shared half day with the Arts Ambassadors and the artist/arts organisation for planning, followed by two days to cover individual planning meetings in each school


·                Each of the 8 schools having a minimum of 6 whole day/equivalent workshops with the children


·                One twilight CPD session for all staff across the 8 schools, co-delivered with the Arts Ambassadors (week commencing 12.10.17)


·                Materials


·                The Artist/Arts Organisation attending two Arts Ambassador meetings (2/3 hours each meeting); one to plan the Sharing Event (12.10.17) and the last to contribute to an evaluation (12.12.17)


·                The Artist/Arts Organisation will project manage the artist programme in agreement with the Arts Ambassador teachers and the lead Arts Ambassador for the network


·                Supporting the monitoring and evaluation; it is expected that each practical workshop would involve a debrief at the end of the session with class teachers, Arts Ambassadors and artists.


·                Celebration event on Friday 8th December 2017; the format is still open to discussion. There is a small additional budget for this element which may support artists or the schools directly, according to format agreed.



Application deadline: Wednesday 3rd May 2017, noon


Notification of Interviews: no later than Thursday 11th May


Interviews: Thursday 18th May; please pencil date in your diary, prospective practitioners should be in attendance


Appointment: Monday 22nd May


Planning meetings: Thursday 25th May & Wednesday 7th June


Celebration preparation: Thursday 12th October


Celebration event: Friday 8th December


Evaluation: Tuesday 12th December


How to Apply:

Both individuals and arts organisations/companies can apply. We anticipate that the commission will be to artist/s or an arts organisation to work across all the schools, though we recognise that you may wish to involve other artists managed by the lead artist/organisation. All successful applicants will need to evidence their portable DBS or undertake a DBS check, along with any other artists from their organisation. You must carry Public Liability Insurance for all artists.


Please submit a proposal on how you would deliver the commission and the ideas for the creative content and the sharing. You need to include:

·                Your experience of working with networks of schools (please give examples e.g. through online links, website, etc.)

·                Your experience of working with children

·                An outline of your approach to the commission, explaining how you will use your artistic skills to engage children and teachers enabling them to be part of the team of artists, alongside professional artists, to create quality work to share

·                Two Referees, ideally schools

·                A budget

·                If an you are an individual artist please provide an up to date CV; If an organisation please provide an outline of your company’s Aims, Mission, Vision and information on the people involved in this commission

·                If you are intending to use freelance artists we would like to know who you are proposing to work with and have a copy of their CV. Please note that if shortlisted, we need to interview all the people involved in working in schools.


Please send your proposal and all supporting documentation by Wednesday 3rd May 2017, noon to:


-           Gabi Zielinska (Lead Arts Ambassador):



-           Pepita Hanna (Arts Connect Associate Director):



-           Sarah Bailey (Arts Connect Network Coordinator):



For further information:


-           Gabi Zielinska (email above)


-            Sarah Bailey (email above / 07903 269403)