ACA Member discount for the 2021 Children's Media Conference
Registration for CMC 2021 Online opens Friday 9th April! The CMC Early Bird rate of £115+VAT will be on sale until 10th May and is available for everyone to buy.
CMC 2021 Online will take place 5-9 July 2021 and, as last year, will be a virtual event. The conference will feature your favourite mix of tightly curated webinars, VOD strands, SkillBuilder Workshop and amazing keynotes during the conference week.
With its theme of ‘Together’, CMC 2021 Online will provide a midsummer focus for the kids’ and youth media professions from around the world.
Once the CMC Early Bird period is over, ACA members will still be able to take advantage of the discounted rate of £115+VAT right up until the start of the conference – a saving of £35+VAT on the full rate of £150+VAT. After 10th May please contact Mimi Doulton to get your discount code which you’ll need in order to register for the special offer.
We are thrilled to announce the launch of ACA Young Voices. A panel of 13 inspirational young people aged between 7 and 17, launched in memory of our late patron Sir Ken Robinson.
We will be working with our Young Voices to tackle the topics that matter to them, gathering their opinions and ideas and sharing them with the wider world. This is part of our long-held commitment to place children's voices front and centre in conversations that concern their future.
The full video made by our Young Voices to launch as part of Imagine If... will be available soon.
The year got off to a wonderfully normal start with Members’ drinks at SAMA Bankside. We were delighted to be joined by ACA Patron Michael Foreman, who together with our President David Wood OBE gave a fitting tribute to our much-loved and much-missed Patron Terry Jones, who passed away on the 21st of January. We were also able to raise a glass to ACA Patron Baroness Floella Benjamin, made a Dame in the New Years’ Honours.
We received the first instalment of Arts Backpack UK funding from Fife Council.
The pandemic struck, and the world changed overnight. We started sharing a weekly round-up of creative activities for people who were home-schooling; as well as a list of emergency funding resources for our practitioner members.
April – May 2020
We started crowdfunding to support the children’s arts community. Thanks to the generosity of members, patrons and friends of ACA, we raised an amazing £4,000!
We distributed our crowdfunding efforts to twelve individuals and small organisations who were in desperate need of help. You can find out more about the Covid-19 fund recipients here: Children’s Arts Covid-19 fund: recipients
“The award has given us a lifeline. 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.” – Teach it through Drama
We sponsored ACA Development Officer Mimi Doulton to join the Freelance TaskForce. Mimi worked closely with the Theatre for Young Audiences, Musicians in Theatre, and Early-Career Practitioners groups, trying to enact positive change in our industry.
We would like to say huge thank you to Peter McKintosh, Theatre Designer for his very generous donation to ACA, from the sale of his artwork during June and July. His wonderfully kind gesture will help to ensure the charity’s survival and underpin our current and future endeavours.
ACA launched a bursary membership scheme, sponsored by kind individuals who had bought a birthday candle in our twentieth birthday year. You can meet our first five bursary members here: ACA welcomes five bursary members. If you know someone who would benefit from a year’s free membership of ACA, please get in touch!
August – September 2020
We held four Zooms with ACA Members, exploring the following topics.
The Future of Working in Schools
Embedding Diversity into your Working Practice
Developing your Online Outreach
Gender and sexuality issues in our work creating arts for and with children
Thank you to our wonderful speakers, and to the more than 70 members who took part in these sessions. You can read the notes and recommendations from these sessions on the ACA website. Click here to read the notes.
We also sadly bid farewell to another ACA patron, the inspirational Professor Sir Ken Robinson. He is deeply missed by us all.
Our Trustee Susan Whiddington received a CBE for her work with children and families at Mousetrap Theatre Projects! Congratulations Susan.
We also shared the launch of the ASSITEJ International Manifesto, based on ACA’s Children’s Arts Manifesto. This manifesto will raise awareness of children’s needs and rights to their own arts and culture, as is set out in UN Article 31. It is part of a global initiative to raise awareness of the importance of the arts in the lives of children and to draw attention to the fact that in so many countries, arts for children are not on any political agenda.
November was a pretty big month! We were so excited to award the 2020 JM Barrie Award to ACA Patron Anna Home OBE, and incredibly grateful to everyone at the BBC and Dock10 for their help in producing our first online awards. You can still watch the ceremony on YouTube, just click play on the video:
November also saw the long-awaited launch of our first Arts Backpack UK pilot in Fife, Scotland! We are looking forward to working with six primary school classes for the next four months, introducing them to a range of quality cultural experiences online. You can find a full history of the Arts Backpack, along with monthly updates here: The Arts Backpack UK
Our thanks to Fife Council and the Haberdashers’ Company for funding this pilot.
In December, we were so honoured to announce Kate Robinson as a new patron of ACA. “I am absolutely delighted to be a patron of Action for Children’s Arts. The work of ACA was so dear to my Dad’s heart, it is a privilege to be able to continue it.”
Last but not least, we had a wonderful festive celebration with some of you on Zoom! Thank you to everyone who took the time to pop in and say hello.
Until next year…
PS! We couldn’t have done any of this without the support of our wonderful members. If you are in a position to do so, please click here and join today.
Action for Children’s Arts is thrilled to announce that Kate Robinson has become a patron of the charity. She is stepping into the shoes of her late father: Professor Sir Ken Robinson, who sadly passed away in August.
“I am absolutely delighted to be a patron of Action for Children’s Arts. The work of ACA was so dear to my Dad’s heart, it is a privilege to be able to continue it.”
Kate is an international consultant in creativity and innovation in education and the Director of Nevergrey. Her expertise lies in raising the profile of inspiring initiatives, with a particular focus on start-ups and building strong partnerships with a social purpose. Her passion lies in engaging youth voice, and through this work she has been awarded for Outstanding Contribution to Education Empowerment. Kate and Nevergrey are committed to continuing and magnifying Sir Ken’s legacy.
Speaking about Kate’s new role with ACA, Chair Vicky Ireland MBE said:
“ACA is so lucky. We go forward with Kate at our side, a wonderful new, young Champion.”
Last month, in the middle of this strange time with the global pandemic having a profound impact on the arts, I had the pleasure and privilege of being invited by Theatr Iolo (a company specialising in work for young audiences) to create - along with Kevin Lewis - a new piece of socially-distanced, Covid-safe outdoor theatre for babies and their carers. In a window of opportunity where the sun shone brightly and Cardiff had not yet gone into local lockdown, we performed to 18 audiences against the backdrop of the beautiful garden of Chapter Arts Centre.
Those who experienced the performance told us: “It felt like everything in the world is back in line and feels good again.” “Realising that many families haven’t had this kind of communal experience with their babies in the last 6 months made it extra-special.”
These moving comments demonstrate what all ACA Members know so well - the absolute joy that communal and individual artistic experiences can bring to children - even babies as young as 3 months.
Membership of ACA has brought me together with a group of people from different art-forms, who have different approaches to the creation of our art, who engage with communities in different ways in different parts of the UK, but who all share an unswerving and passionate belief that the arts can enrich the lives of our youngest citizens; people who are committed to creating and delivering cultural experiences that place children’s needs and desires at the core. Discussions with and presentations by other ACA members keep me steadfast and true to these beliefs while also inspiring me and introducing me to exciting new ways of thinking about and making art for children. Thank you to all existing members and I look forward to new members joining us.
Following an initial round of applications, we are delighted to welcome five new bursary members into the Action for Children's Arts community.
Elgan Rhys, writer-director-performer
Elgan Rhys is a fluent Welsh speaker, writer-director-performer living in Cardiff. In 2015, he co-founded Cwmni Pluen Company, and was Associate Artist at Frân Wen from 2017-19. He was raised in Pwllheli and studied Theatre and Drama at the University of South Wales, where he has since returned to lecture.
Elgan directed Frân Wen’s acclaimed adaptation of the multiple-prize-winning Llyfr Glas Nebo, which toured main stages at eleven Welsh venues. His debut play Woof, staged to sell-out audiences in January-February 2019 as part of Rachel O’Riordan’s final season at the Sherman Theatre, was described by The Guardian as “a triumph”. Pluen’s most recent production, Mags, which Elgan wrote, toured Wales and London in Autumn 2019 following an initial 2018 run that was described by Wales Arts Review as “a fearless play by an innovative company, using language in a way not seen anywhere else in Wales.” Recurring elements in his work are community co-creation, an interest in multilingualism, the amplification of young people’s voices and telling stories of contemporary queer life. Elgan has also been BAFTA Cymru-nominated for his TV work, and is one of Stonewall Cymru’s Role Models. He is currently developing several plays with major companies, as well as TV and book projects.
Nominated by Theatr Iolo.
Stephan Boyce, actor
Stephan is an actor and long-term employee of Bigfoot Arts Education.
"By the end [of a workshop] the ‘naughty’ child is confidently performing Shakespearean soliloquies. The shy child is a doing solo dance in an assembly. The quiet child is directing a group activity. Often the children labelled with terms like shy, naughty, unresponsive, not a team player and other harmful terms are transformed by creativity. I believe that this is due to everyone’s innate need to create and imagine. An important skill that is undervalued and suppressed as we get older."
Jaydean Dawkins, theatre practitioner
Jaydean is a theatre practitioner, mother, and the Founder and Director of Confessions of the Youth Theatre Company (now renamed JD Theatrical Creative), a company devoted to creating new devised work with BAME and underprivileged young people in the Twerton and Radstock, some of the most deprived areas of the Southwest. She specialises in making work that confronts and challenges current issues surrounding the lack of diversity in theatre through the empowerment of underrepresented people and groups.
Nominated by the egg, Theatre Royal Bath
Kyle Lima, performer
Kyle Lima is an actor, writer, singer and director, and in his own words “a frustrated yet proud dyslexic” born and raised in the Splott area of Cardiff, South Wales. He is Theatr Iolo's Platfform Artist for 2020. In 2018, he was appointed as a BBC Writersroom Welsh Voices member and has collaborated with the BBC in developing scripts for radio and TV. He has also written and performed for Sky Arts as part of the Sky arts ART50 program, filmed at the Barbican Centre, dealing with the issues of Brexit and Article 50. He has worked with the Omidaze Theatre Company in collaboration with National Theatre Wales, The Fio Theatre Company, and the Sherman Theatre.
Nominated by Theatr Iolo.
Ben Knight, baritone
Ben Knight is a singer who has worked with Bach to Baby.
"I am passionate about children’s arts for a multitude of reasons. Making music should be inclusive to all children from different walks of life. I have personally benefited by projects when I was younger that lead me to my musical success today. My family is not musical and I was the only male singer at my school. Music education and outreach projects gave me vital skills including; confidence, creative thinking, collaboration and communication. All skills I feel that making music can bring. Most importantly, children have the right to create, imagine and play and I am passionate about music being fun and exciting for all children."
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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
“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.”
Children's Arts Covid-19 Fund - open for applications
Action for Children's Arts has raised £3,000 to distribute to children's arts organisations and professionals who have been financially impacted by Covid-19. We will be awarding two grants of £500 to organisations, and eight grants of £250 to individuals.
We will be prioritising those who are ineligible for government support, and who work in smaller art forms. We also particularly encourage applications from individuals and organisations that are new to the industry, who might have less established financial reserves to fall back on.
Deadline: 5pm on Wednesday 27 May 2020
I'm from Scotland / Wales / Northern Ireland - am I eligible?
Yes, ACA is a UK-wide organisation and we welcome applications from all four nations.
We are a partnership, rather than a registered company or charity. Can we still apply?
Yes, we will also welcome applications from existing professional partnerships.
Homeschooling during Covid19 week eight - creative activities
We're here to help you through another week of home-schooling! To get you started for the week, here's quite a big resource. Fantastic for Families have updated their website to include lots of online participatory activities for all ages: https://fantasticforfamilies.com/
Have you got small people in your life who love the ballet? Then check out the Royal Opera House creative learning resource packs! Alongside the class activities, there are plenty of digital resources that you can use from home: https://learning-platform.roh.org.uk/ballet
Do your kids need a goal during lockdown? Glyndebourne has launched Arts Award at Home - a new opportunity for young people to engage with the arts during lockdown and earn a nationally recognised qualification: http://glyndebourne.com/artsaward
If you are enjoying any of this content, please consider making a donation to the organisation who is producing it! Arts organisations are facing up to 100% revenue loss due to Covid19 and need all the help they can get right now.