ACA News

Arts Backpack pilots begin in Fife

Arts Backpack pilots begin in Fife

Arts Backpack pilots begin in Fife

We are delighted to announce that the Arts Backpack UK began its first pilot in six Fife primary schools at the beginning of November. We are looking forward to working with around 200 students and teachers at: Cowdenbeath Primary School, Kelty Primary School, Benarty Primary School, Hill of Beath Primary School, Cardenden Primary School and Fulford Primary School.

Over the next four months, classes will be able to select activities to go into their Backpacks from our directory of online resources. This includes activities from ACA Members Theatre Alibi and Magic Lantern; Scottish arts organisations Imaginate and Scottish Opera; and national and international institutions such as Google Arts and Culture. In addition to this, each class will have the opportunity to commission a piece of online content from one of our partners in Scotland.

Everyone at ACA is so proud to be pushing ahead with this first pilot, despite the challenges presented to us by Covid-19. Although the pandemic has limited our possibilities to work face-to-face, it has truly widened the horizons of what arts and culture are available for children to experience online. We look forward to sharing these experiences with our students in Fife over the next four months.

A plea for donations:

If you feel able to support future pilots of the Arts Backpack UK, please donate here: paypal.me/artsbackpack

You are ALL invited!

You are ALL invited!

You are ALL invited!

Anna Home looking out of a window, wearing a yellow sweaterThis year, the Action for Children's Arts JM Barrie Awards have gone digital, and you are all invited! Join us on YouTube on 19 November at 5.15pm to celebrate the incredible lifetime achievement of Anna Home OBE. This award is being presented in recognition of her outstanding contribution to children's television.

How do I watch? 

Click this link to watch the 2020 JM Barrie Awards: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIHO1e_BtA0&feature=youtu.be

Do I need to arrive before 5.15pm? 

We would recommend clicking the link at 5.05pm, so that you can join in with the live chat and make sure all your tech is working before the screening begins!

Can I watch it later? 

Yes, after the premiere screening, the video will be available to watch via the same link.

How do I comment along? 

If you are signed in to YouTube or your Google account, you will be able to join in with the live comments during the premiere at 5.15pm. These comments usually appear on the right hand side of the screen. You can also join the conversation on Twitter with #JMB2020.

I have access needs - can you help?

English captions will be available via the CC button at the bottom of your screen. If you have additional access needs, please email mimi.doulton@childrensarts.org.uk and we will do our best to help you.

A plea for donations:

The JM Barrie Awards is usually a key event in our fundraising calendar. This year, we cannot shake buckets at you, or run our annual raffle. PLEASE donate if you can: https://www.paypal.com/donate?hosted_button_id=WEQ6FEM8H7W9J

Anna Home OBE wins the 2020 JM Barrie Lifetime Achievement Award

Anna Home OBE wins the 2020 JM Barrie Lifetime Achievement Award

Anna Home OBE wins the 2020 JM Barrie Lifetime Achievement Award

Action for Children’s Arts is delighted to announce that Anna Home OBE has been named as the recipient of the 2020 JM Barrie Lifetime Achievement Award.

Anna Home looking out of a window, wearing a yellow sweater and orange silk scarf

This is in recognition of her outstanding contribution to children’s television. In a distinguished career spanning over 30 years at the BBC and ITV, Anna developed and commissioned programmes including Jackanory, Grange Hill, and Teletubbies. Anna is now the Chair of the Children’s Media Foundation, and a Patron of Action for Children’s Arts.

‘Thank you to ACA for this award. I am honoured to join the distinguished list of previous winners. The work ACA does is crucial, particularly now, in ensuring that children have access to, and participation in the arts – both inside and out of school.’

Anna will be presented with the award at a special online ceremony on 19 November 2020. She will be joining a roster of previous winners that includes Baroness Floella Benjamin DBE, Sir Philip Pullman CBE, and Stuart and Kadie Kanneh-Mason. The Award is given annually to a children’s arts practitioner or organisation in recognition of a lifetime’s achievement in delighting children.

For press enquiries, please contact mimi.doulton@childrensarts.org.uk

Apply for a free ACA Membership today

Apply for a free ACA Membership today

Apply for a free ACA membership today

We have twenty-five free memberships to give away to emerging artists and underrepresented voices!

We are the national voice of children’s arts in the UK. A voluntary organisation working with partners across the four nations to campaign for the right of every child to have access to the arts both in and out of school, regardless of their circumstances. We connect children’s arts practitioners, teachers, and thinkers. We celebrate YOUR work at our annual JM Barrie Awards.

As an ACA Member, you will be joining a network of over 150 freelancers and organisations from the children’s arts industry. Other benefits include:

  • a monthly newsletter rounding up industry news and our charitable activities

  • the opportunity to contribute to our campaigns

  • the chance to have your work showcased on our website and social media channels

  • regular networking events with other ACA members (these are currently online)

  • invitations to ACA conferences and round-tables

  • priority access to the JM Barrie Awards

We offer bursary members to emerging artists, recent graduates and those who are underrepresented in our industry. We do not currently offer bursary memberships to full-time students (however you can join as a student for £18/year). To apply for a bursary membership, please write a single-page covering letter outlining the following:

  • your current experience in children’s arts (please include dates of training)

  • why you have a passion for children’s arts / arts in education

  • how you believe an ACA membership would benefit you

  • what you might contribute to the ACA community

We strongly encourage applications from those who are currently under-represented in our industry.

Please email mimi.doulton@childrensarts.org.uk to apply. Memberships will be distributed on a rolling basis.

BAMEOVER

BAMEOVER

A Statement for the UK

Please read below this statement from Inc Arts.

Throughout August more than 1,000 people took Inc Arts’ #BAMEOver survey, and on 4th September over 250 people came together to reset the terms of reference for people with lived experience of racism.

We set out to answer the question, ‘What do we want to be called?’

Through our discussion we’ve come up with a guide to terminology, for use by everyone who wants to be an effective ally and wants to avoid causing further harm through the use of casual and inaccurate language.

Here are our preferred terms of reference for people in the UK. We urge you to use them and share widely.

BAMEOver: Our terms of reference

We do not want to be grouped into a meaningless, collective term, or reduced to acronyms.

We are African Diaspora people, South, East and South East Asian diaspora people, and ethnically diverse.

We are people who experience racism.

Use these terms in any order you choose.

Just don't call us BAME.

Rules for engagement

#1: Language is evolving. Deal with it. The terms we’ve agreed today may change in the future. Times change: come with us.

#2: Collective terminology is necessary: acronyms are not. Nobody wants to be reduced to an acronym. Especially an acronym that is inaccurate.

#3. We reject BAME. The term unhelpfully blends ethnicity, geography, nationality - and in doing so erases our identity and reduces us to an ‘other’.

#4. We reject ‘Minority: we are the global majority. And we reject ‘ethnic’. This terminology is centred on you seeing us as different.

#5. Call us by our name. Be specific. Understand the terms you use.

#6. We’re people first. Not a colour. Not a continent. Never say ‘blacks’ just as you wouldn’t say ‘whites’ (unless you’re talking about washing).

#7. People of Colour is a US term, as is ‘Black, Indigenous and People of Colour’. In the UK for many people over 35 this has uncomfortable resonance with the racist terminology ‘coloureds’. The ‘colour’ of one’s skin is not what we have in common, it is our lived experience of racism directed against us.

Terms of Reference
Here’s what to say…

Instead of ‘Asian’…

Asian’ can erase millions of people by not reflecting the rich diversity of culture and ethnicity that is in the continent. There’s a huge diversity of experience of oppression faced by those the term refers to.

Use ‘People of South Asian heritage’, ‘People of East Asian and South East Asian heritage’.

Instead of … ‘Black’

Many black people don’t object to being called black: for others it is not accurate enough.

Black is a political term, best used by those who meet the conditions of its description.

It speaks of collective action against racially motivated oppression. It includes those of African and Caribbean heritage.

If you mean Africans born in Africa, say so. If you mean third generation Caribbeans, say so.

Instead of ‘black’, use

African’ for those born in the continent,

African Caribbean’, ‘South Asian Caribbean’ and ‘East Asian Caribbean’ for those born in the islands,

African diaspora people’ for people of African and Caribbean heritage,

Or ‘People of African or Caribbean heritage’

Minority Ethnic’

What a mess. Let’s talk about who we mean.

There are many who experience oppression through racist action, including those of Romany heritage, or Irish traveller heritage, or Jewish heritage and some within this definition who are definitely not a ‘minority’ including Latinx– people of Latin American heritage, cultural and ethnic identity, and many more.

British Asian? Black British?

If you’re thinking of using these terms, ask yourself: do you mean those living in the UK? Or those born in the UK? If it’s relevant, say what you mean.

Let’s not erase the experiences of migrant communities. Phrases like ‘people of X heritage’ or ‘of the X diaspora’ includes migrant people without erasure.

Mixed Heritage?

People of mixed white and African diaspora heritage, people of mixed white and South Asian heritage, people of East Asian and Caribbean heritage… you get the idea. Say what you mean.

Too many words? Want an easy acronym? A simple collective term?

There isn’t one. We choose not to be reduced to an inaccurate grouping.

But what we have in common is that we are…

People who experience racism”. This term will require you to then articulate who you are referring to, and may, depending on context, refer to Western Asian people, Irish people, Jewish people and others whose oppression is not captured by current terminology. Please use with awareness the phrase ‘people who experience racism’, and don’t make it an acronym ever.

What if you don’t know?

If you’re referring to ‘people who are ethnically and culturally diverse, and who experience racism in our society’ be sure to qualify it with detail of who you are talking about: Latinx people? Romany traveller heritage people? Don’t use as a catch all without further detail.

All too difficult? Can’t be bothered?

The difference between saying ‘BAME’ and ‘people of South Asian heritage’ or ‘people who experience racism’ is approximately 2 seconds.

2 seconds is not too much time to devote to taking positive anti-racist action on a daily basis. Remaining actively conscious of the language we use is a powerful act of allyship.

Signed Philip Pullman book giveaway

Signed Philip Pullman book giveaway

Signed Philip Pullman book giveaway

We have one signed paperback of Philip Pullman's 'The Secret Commonwealth' to give away! 

Last week saw the publication of Philip Pullman's 'The Secret Commonwealth' in paperback. This book is the much awaited second instalment of the second His Dark Materials Trilogy. To celebrate 25 years since the first His Dark Materials book was published in 1995, we have a free signed copy of The Secret Commonwealth to give away to one person who joins ACA between 18 September and 31 October. The prize-winner will be selected at random.

To be in with a chance of winning, click here to join today! Membership starts at £18/year.

ACA Bursary Memberships

ACA Bursary Memberships

ACA Bursary Memberships

We have thirty free memberships to give away to emerging artists and underrepresented voices!

We are the national voice of children’s arts in the UK. A voluntary organisation working with partners across the four nations to campaign for the right of every child to have access to the arts both in and out of school, regardless of their circumstances. We connect children’s arts practitioners, teachers, and thinkers. We celebrate YOUR work at our annual JM Barrie Awards.

As an ACA Member, you will be joining a network of over 150 freelancers and organisations from the children’s arts industry. Other benefits include:

  • a monthly newsletter rounding up industry news and our charitable activities

  • the opportunity to contribute to our campaigns

  • the chance to have your work showcased on our website and social media channels

  • regular networking events with other ACA members (these are currently online)

  • invitations to ACA conferences and round-tables

  • priority access to the JM Barrie Awards

We offer bursary members to emerging artists, recent graduates and those who are underrepresented in our industry. We do not currently offer bursary memberships to full-time students (however you can join as a student for £18/year). To apply for a bursary membership, please write a single-page covering letter outlining the following:

  • your current experience in children’s arts (please include dates of training)

  • why you have a passion for children’s arts / arts in education

  • how you believe an ACA membership would benefit you

  • what you might contribute to the ACA community

We strongly encourage applications from those who are currently under-represented in our industry.

Please email mimi.doulton@childrensarts.org.uk to apply. Memberships will be distributed on a rolling basis.

We are also inviting organisations to nominate someone for a bursary membership. Get in touch to find out more.

Children’s Arts Covid-19 fund: recipients

Children’s Arts Covid-19 fund: recipients

Children's Arts Covid-19 fund: recipients

In May 2020, Action for Children’s Arts (ACA) ran a crowdfunding initiative, raising money to support children’s arts freelancers and organisations in financial difficulty due to the Covid-19 pandemic. We were delighted to raise almost £4,000 thanks to the generous support of ACA members, patrons, and the arts community.

Our board of Trustees greatly enjoyed considering an impressive selection of applications. Applications were prioritised where we thought our money could make a genuine difference in helping a creative to survive or develop in the face of the ‘new normal’. We have taken the decision to support the following freelancers and organisations:

Ania Straczynska / SE19 Dance

“This grant will be invaluable in helping me to develop better practices for online teaching, through the purchasing of equipment and flooring that is safe for me to dance on. I will also be able to deliver props to class participants, providing a great sensory experience for the young children.”

To find out more visit https://www.se19dance.co.uk/

Assitej UK

“This is fantastic news and a ray of hope we can take to the sector with whom we have had so many conversations recently: the corona-coaster of optimism versus pessimism. Thanks so much to ACA for initiating this scheme and acknowledging our organisation in this way.”

To find out more visit https://tya-uk.org/

Feel Theatre

“We have been creating community based sensory work since late 2016, but officially became a not-for-profit in January 2018, so we are relatively new to the industry. We have been determined to make a big impact from the beginning, however from September 2020 we will not be able to cover our running costs.”

To find out more visit https://www.feeltheatre.co.uk/

Jennifer Jackson, theatre-maker and choreographer

“I believe art that is playful and creates a space for children to see themselves reflected back at themselves, is essential. To that end, I want to continue to explore my work in a digital form.”

To find out more visit https://www.jenniferjackson.net/about

Kelly Smith / Boogie Monsters

“Thank you so much, this is wonderful news, and is really going to help me to bring live music to children online!”

To find out more visit https://boogiemonsters.co.uk/

Laura McFall, musician

“Amazing news! A very nice boost after finishing a contract yesterday.”

Lily German, artist

“Thank you very much to ACA for this generous funding and support during these difficult times. This will make a significant difference to my current situation in these uncertain times and will support the future of my professional practice and working with children in The Arts.”

To find out more visit https://lilygerman.co.uk/workshops/

Lydia Barton Lovett, theatre-maker

“I would like to create a piece of theatre for children with complex needs which is possible to execute safely at this time, and enable other practitioners to do the same.”

Rainbow Stripes

“We have seen over the years first hand how music is very powerful for firstly encouraging children's development, but also for bonding, socialising and bringing communities together. Thank you so much, the grant has really cheered us.”

To find out more visit http://www.rainbowstripes.net/

Sophie Tea Creative Arts

“I literally am over the moon right now and can't thank you enough. I am incredibly excited to be able to use this money to develop my business.”

Teach it through Drama

“The award has given us a lifeline. As we said in our application, it will be reserved to pay for our biggest overhead, which is our prop/costume/set store. Meanwhile, we continue to adapt some of our drama workshops and interactive storytelling shows, which can be viewed free of charge on our YouTube channel.

Thank you again to everyone at Action for Children's Arts. We hope to see you again soon when we can all meet up and celebrate but, meanwhile, we will continue to push for children's arts to be central to the recovery from this dreadful pandemic.”

To find out more visit http://www.teach-it-through-drama.com/

Toubie Jack, artist

“I would love to run a series of online workshops where I show children how to paint a picture of hopes and dreams as I think in this current situation, we need to keep the children thinking positively about their future.”

ACA sponsors Freelance TaskForce member

ACA sponsors Freelance TaskForce member

ACA sponsors Freelance TaskForce member

We are proud to have sponsored our Development Officer, Mimi Doulton to become a part of the Freelance TaskForce.

The TaskForce was set up by Fuel Theatre following their Open Letter to Theatre and Performance Makers, which ACA signed. The aim of the TaskForce is to give freelancers paid time to work together in June, July and August, campaigning for government support and positive change in the industry. Over 130 organisations have agreed to sponsor a TaskForce member. Each member will act independently of their sponsor organisation.

We asked Mimi how she felt about joining the TaskForce:

"I am thrilled to be joining the Freelance TaskForce at this time of change in the performing arts industries. I hope that it will galvanise the disparate voices of self-employed theatre professionals across the UK to campaign for better government support at this challenging time. I am also excited to be part of a virtual room full of brilliant minds who can envision a better and fairer future for the industry."

We look forward to following the progress of the TaskForce and will keep ACA members updated!