Category Archives: Arts Award

Arts Awards at Marsden Heights

Since October last year, young people in Billington and Nelson have been exploring the story of the Pendle Witches. Some of them have decided to work towards their Bronze Arts Awards as part of the project. Below are Hakeem, Ikram and Caitlin’s reviews of ‘being in the audience’. Hakeem and Ikram visited Pendle Sculpture Trail with artist Philippe Handford, whilst Caitlin missed the visit so chose to review her experience of Bingley Music Festival. Please comment on their reviews, this will provide them with evidence for their Arts Award portfolios.

Haqeem Anwar: Pendle Sculpture Trail

We were in a forest full of sculptures. There were sheep and it was raining. It was called Pendle Sculpture Trail. We were in a project called Pendle Witches.

(The things I liked and why): meeting one of the artists Philippe Handford, because I wanted to know what inspired him.

(I didn’t like) the weather because we were getting wet.

I would recommend it to others because the art was great.

(I learnt) how the witches were a part of the art.

Ikram Ashraf: Pendle Sculpture Trail

(Visiting Pendle Sculpture Trail) was a great experience of old sculpture. (I went) to experience seeing natural sculptures. (I liked) that it was open space, outdoors. (I didn’t like) the weather.

I would (recommend it to others) because it is a great place to investigate our country’s past. (I learnt) that natural art is beautiful.

Caitlin Gibson: Bingley Music Festival

The event was a music festival and lots of musicians performed. I went to this event because I’ve always wanted to go and I finally got the opportunity. I liked watching my favourite musicians perform, like Nero and Rudimental because I’ve always wanted to see them.

I didn’t like the weather, it was cold and muddy. Also it’s really busy and I got lost.

I would recommend it because it’s like one giant party and you meet lots of new people, also you have a feeling of independence.

I learnt how to take care of myself and how great live music is!

(As evidence of being in the audience) I have my ticket, a photo and ruined shoes!



More Arts Awards – Our Reviews

Young people involved in our Lost Legends project have been experiencing art, most recently by exploring a sculpture trail. Here are their more detailed reviews of their experience as arts audience members. To help them achieve their Bronze Arts Awards please leave a comment about their reviews below.

Emily Brown:

The event was a Pendle Sculpture trail at Aitkin Wood. The artform was Sculpture. The pieces were made by a number of local artists, the main artist was Philippe Handford. The art trail displayed was made from natural materials in the wood.

I went to this event to gain more information about the Pendle Witches for our project. Some sculptures linked with stories of the Pendle Witches. I liked how the sculpture trail was outside linking with the natural materials the art was made from. I especially liked the sculptures of the falling tree as something good was  made from something useless. I didn’t like how the trail wasn’t very accessible and how some sculptures didn’t relate with our project of the Pendle Witches.

I would recommend this sculpture trail to others because the experience is very different as the art work is made naturally and displayed outside. However some people may not prefer this.

From this experience I have learnt how art can be made from something as simple as tress. I have learnt that people actually make these outdoor sculpture trails.


Franscesca Tomlinson

(I went to) Pendle Sculpture Trail at Aitkin Wood. It was a trail up a hill that included lots of pieces of art made from natural materials. Lots of different artists created them and the main one was Philippe Handford.

I am doing a project on the Pendle Witches and wanted to see if the sculptures showed us more about the witches. I liked to see how much effort people had put in, especially in the sculpture of a made made from a tree bark, because of how detailed it was. I also liked how it was made from natural materials.

I didn’t think the trail was very accessible and it was hard to understand what some of them meant. I also thought eh sculptures were quite dull and could have been better with colour. I would recommend this trail to others if it was a nice day because the sculptures were very raw and natural. However I don’t think it suits everyone.

I learnt that lots of different sculptures and pieces of art can be made from such simple materials that create something with much more meaning than they did in their original form.


Georgina Ward

(The event involved a) talk about the sculpture trail of the Pendle Witches. (I went to this event) to get a better background knowledge of the Pendle Witches). The sculpture trail included many interesting pieces. I particularly like how the bats were hidden in the tress and also the fallen trees. (It was) a little difficult to understand some aspects of the sculpture trail such as the wall. I would (recommend it to others) because it is very interesting and a good day out.

(I learnt) how other people interpret their different views of the Pendle Witches into art. 


Frank Metcalfe

We went to Pendle Sculpture Trail which is in Aitkin Wood. We walked around and looked at artwork by Philippe Handford. The theme is the Pendle Witches. (I went to the event) because I was interested in viewing the artwork of Philippe Handford and exploring the sculpture trail. I did not enjoy the sculpture trail because although good, I didn’t see how the artwork was relevant to the witches and it was quite dull. I enjoyed walking and exploring the woods and liked learning about being a sculpturist. The artwork was very complex and was hard to understand the relevance to the Pendle Witches. I learned about Philippe’s work as an artist and that you could make a career out of sculpture work, which I didn’t know before.


Erin Porter-Brown

We walked around a trail and saw different artwork / sculptures. I went to this event to learn more about the Pendle Witches. (I liked) the different sculptures because they were interesting. (I didn’t like) the weather (and I felt Philippe) didn’t explain it properly. I would recommend it to others because it was really fun and you can learn a lot. I learned lots about the Pendle Witches.


Jodie Walsh

Pendle Sculpture Trail was at Aitkin Wood. Philippe Handford took us around and explained the many art sculptures to us. Many artists were involved in these sculptures. I went to this event because we are doing a ‘Pendle Witches’ project and during this project we wanted to find out more about the stories and how these sculptures showed us more about the witches.  I liked the fact that the sculptures were all outdoors because it gave the art a ‘natural’ feel. I also liked many of the sculptures because they were interesting and different. I didn’t like the fact that some of the art was quite hard to understand because it was very different, also it was not very accessible since it was outside. I would recommend it to other because it was very interesting, especially because someone explained it to us and I felt I learnt a lot. I learnt that the different ways we can make sculptures and how the sculptures tie in with Pendle Witches.


Georgia Robinson

We went on an art sculpture trail, and walked around the woods of Pendle, looking at naturally made objects made by Philippe Handford. (I went to this event) to learn more about the Pendle Witches and visit the area that all of the things occurred in. There was a range in art things. I liked the sculptures which were made naturally out of resources like trees and metal. (I didn’t like) the weather and atmosphere, also I didn’t understand the explanations behind the sculptures. I would (recommend it to others) because then people in the area could learn more about the Pendle Witches and look at the sculptures. I learned more about the Pendle Witches.

Melissa Gaffey

I went to see the Lion King, the artform was theatres. I want to watch the Lion King with my family. (I went to this event) because it was a great experience and I liked the film. (I liked) the animals, the acting, the experience (and that) I knew the story. I didn’t like the long drive. I would recommend it to other people because it is a great experience for families to watch.


Keiran McGaney

We were viewing sculpture that Philippe Handford had made out of natural materials. We went to the event to learn more about the Pendle Witches. I liked it because I learned about the sculptures and I spent the day with my friends. I could not understand the story behind the artwork (but) I would recommend it to keen walker or people who like history. I learnt more about the Pendle Witches.


Louis  Barrett

We walked around Aitken Wood following the Pendle Sculpture Trail. We were given an audio tour from artist Philippe Handford. Its theme was the Pendle Witches. I went to this event because I was very interested to explore the trail. I found it easy to relate to the witches’ story. I liked talking to Philippe and learning about his job and things. Also exploring the artwork and realising how much time went in to making it. I didn’t like the boggy footpath and bad weather. Also I did not like the duration of the tour as it dragged on and got boring. I would recommend it as it was helpful to understand the witches’ story. I learnt more about the witches’ lifestyle and what they did in their life.

Abi Robinson

(I took part in) viewing all of the sculptures that Philippe Handford had made from natural materials. I went to learn more about the Pendle Witches. I liked the creativity and how he made all the sculptures from natural materials. I didn’t like how I couldn’t understand the story behind the artwork. I would recommend this artwork to people who enjoy walking and have an interested in history and art. I learnt more about the Pendle Witches and how different sculptures can be made from natural materials.

Sarah Gullfoyle

We went on a sculpture trail at Aitkin Wood. The artist Philippe Handford led us along the trail explaining his artwork. I went to this event because it was linked to the Pendle Witches project we are working on. I was very natural, all the materials were tree-based after being cut down. All the art being at different heights made it interesting. It wasn’t very accessible or easy to walk around in difficult conditions. I couldn’t really see a link to the Pendle Witches. I would recommend it on a nice day because it was a nice walk and the art was quite eye-catching. I learnt that you can make beautiful and inspiring art out of natural materials.


Olivia Peccerillo

We followed a sculpture trail around Aitkin Wood, and the tour guide was Philippe Handford. He was the artist who made the sculptures, and he explained what they meant. We were involved in a Pendle Witch project and we were going to get more information about the Pendle Witches. I liked the fact that the art was at different heights and different sizes. The location linked to the story about Pendle Witches plus it was a very natural feeling because it was outside in the woods.

I didn’t understand the art, the tour guide and the art didn’t really link to the Pendle Witches. It didn’t involve much about the witches. I would recommend this to others if it was a nicer day, but we did manage to enjoy it even though the weather was bad, which means it would be more enjoyable in better weather. (I learnt) that art could be portrayed in different ways and that artists could use locally sourced materials to create the sculptures. Also that the artists could be paid for doing this.


Catherine Burns

We followed a sculpture trail through Aitken Wood and Philippe Handford, the artist who made the sculptures, explained their meaning to us. We were involved in a project about the Pendle Witches and were learning more about the story and local beliefs about it. I liked the fact that the sculptures were different sizes and some were partly concealed up in the trees. The fact that it was outdoors gave it a natural mood, especially as the location fit in with the Pendle Witches. The art wasn’t very accessible and it was hard to see how some of the pieces linked to the witches. I would (recommend it to others) because we managed to enjoy it even though the weather was bad, which means in good weather it would probably be more enjoyable. (I learnt) that artists can use locally sourced materials to create sculptures that follow a theme, creating pieces of art work for people to interpret themselves about the witches.

Liberty Apricot Turner

(I enjoyed) walking around the wood in the outdoors and observing the learning about different sculptures made by Philippe Handford inspired by the Pendle Witches trail and story. (I went to this event) because I wanted to learn more about the Pendle Witches and also to learn about art. I enjoyed looking at the sculpture of the falling tree as it was creative and made from natural materials. I didn’t like how some sculptures were hard to understand because I like art that tells a story and is interesting. I would recommend it to keen walkers or families as it is a pretty walk and are interested in history. I learnt that art can come from basically anything since before I associated art with paper and pain, now I know it can be more – just basic materials.


Jack Harbour

We walked around Pendle Sculpture Trail. Philippe Handford gave us a tour of the trail. It was in Aitkin Wood and its theme was the Pendle Witches. I went to this event because I was very interested by the artwork was quite hard to understand. I liked some of the artwork because it was really cool. Some of the art was hard to understand and wasn’t relevant. I would recommend it but not all the art. I learnt that the council would pay Philippe to go into the woods and do that sort of thing.


Stephanie Warrington

I went to the Paper Cut Exhibition at Manchester Art Gallery. There was a mixture of art ranging from sculptures like a motorbike and paper like maps made of money. I went to this event because it links to the projects we were doing in class. I liked the life-sized sculptures, different types of art and a man that was made only from books hanging from the ceiling. Some of the paper art were more obscure / difficult to understand. I would recommend it to others because it would appeal to a wide range of people. 

Arts Awards with our HLF Lost Legends group

Young people involved in our Lost Legends project have been experiencing art, most recently by exploring a local sculpture trail. These images show our responses to the experience and now we want to share them with you. Please leave your comments as this will help the young people involved to achieve their Arts Awards at Bronze level.

Being in the audience Bin it! Love it

Since Autumn last year, MPA have been working with two groups of young people to explore the story of the Lancashire Witches. We have visited museums and heritage sites and met and talked to a range of heritage experts. As part of this adventure we have used the arts to think about and communicate what we have learned. The young people involved have worked with filmmakers Huckleberry Films, drama specialist Steve Fairclough and community artist Kerris Casey St Pierre to creatively retell the story of the witches. We discovered a tradition of artists drawing inspiration from this legendary story and we visited Aitkin Wood with artist Philippe Handford to explore the Pendle Sculpture Trail inspired by the witch trials of 1612.

Being part of the Lancashire’s Lost Legends project has introduced young people to creative practitioners, led them to develop their own artistic skills and allowed them to experience arts events and exhibition such as the Pendle Sculpture Trail.

Earlier this week, we reviewed our experience of the sculpture trail and now we want to share our review with you. The photos above show the responses we generated and shared in school on Monday. We also wrote up our responses which we will share with you very soon. Please take a moment to let us know what you think after reading our comments.



Arts Awards in Burnley

Meet Caitlin and Charlotte who are working on their Bronze Arts Awards and need your help. They have written reviews of Souvenir d’Anne Frank which they watched at Burnley Youth Theatre. Please do read their reviews below and comment.

Caitlin and Charlotte developing their skills behind the camera.

Caitlin and Charlotte have been working with Steph and Lucy at MPA since last summer when they performed a piece of multi-media site-specific promenade theatre in Victoria Mill, Burnley as part of Project Pride.  Since then they have contributed to a youth consultation giving rich insight into their experience of arts and culture in Pennine Lancashire.

Here are their reviews. Please do comment with your thoughts.


This is the show that my drama class and I went to see at Burnley Youth Theatre. We hadn’t been told anything about this mysterious play, only that it was by a group called ‘Ensemble’ and that is was an abstract piece of art. I was a bit put out because I don’t generally like abstract things but I thought that, as an actress I should try to gain as much experience of all types of the performing arts industry that I can.

However, after I saw the performance I didn’t really like it and didn’t understand what some of the things the actors did were supposed to represent. However, the music (which was played on-stage, right in front of us!) was incredibly moving and somehow showed the story better than the actors! And the lighting and set up of the stage – though simple – created a very tense and subtle atmosphere. All of this I told the actors at the end in a questions and answers session, and told them politely how I thought they could improve their performance to enhance it. All in all I found the performance boring, moving and really contradictory all at once.


The event I went to was a performance of ‘Souvenir d’Anne Frank’. It was a theatre performance at Burnley Youth Theatre. I liked it because it was an abstract performance about Anne Frank and the rose named after her. It explored a period of history that I find particularly interesting. I thought the acting in the piece was amazing because it was a different way of performing that opened my eyes to a different style of acting. It was different from what I expected as it was far more abstract and stylized than I thought it would be.  I felt that the best bit was the stage. The simple use of plastic roses and shredded tires to create a circle, almost like a rose bush, it just had such a moving effect on me. It was a skill of using simple objects to create elaborate set is one that will help me in my art.  As part of the audience, it was slightly confusing in parts but was an overall very pleasing performance with strong emotive language and actions, as well as using music and dance in an effective performance. I would recommend it to people who have am interest in both Holocaust theatre and abstract. As it is both those things, it is also an overall very good piece of theatre.

This is my reaction to the piece and I hope you enjoyed reading about it.

What do you think of Caitlin and Charlotte’s views? Have you seen the show? Would you like to now?

You can see more of Caitlin and Charlotte in the Curious Voices film to which they contributed for Curious Minds.

Terrific achievements at Marsden Heights, Pendle

Sleet and snow meant roads in Nelson were chaotic this morning, but MPA were warm and dry in Marsden Heights Community College’s Year Ten Assembly. It was with enormous pleasure that we presented Arts Award certificates to young women involved in Project Pride, Nelson. We hope that having their photograph taken for the local newspaper will make up for the girls’ extreme embarrassment when we showed the Project Pride film to their year group. Good luck in the future girls and thanks for the lovely gifts and chocolate.
Steph and Lucy

Author: Steph Hawke

Arts Award success!

Halloween this year meant more than pumpkins and trick or treat here at Mid Pennine Arts. For MPA,  the 31st of October marked an end to months of hard work by young people: it was the date of our Arts Award moderation.

During the summer term of 2011, young people from our Heritage Lottery funded Young Roots projects in Accrington and Nelson were busily working towards their Bronze Arts Awards, as were children in Runcorn who were involved in their school’s Creative Partnerships activity.

As the young people’s beautiful portfolios began to take shape, with collage, fold outs, pockets, photos, films, audio and even samples of textiles collected from research visits, they told the story of their creative experience.

They described learning skills and developing ideas with creative practitioners in diverse artforms from drama to visual art, textiles to bookmaking, making artworks and sharing them through exhibitions and performances.

They experienced being in the audience at arts events, for instance, seeing the work of Anish Kapoor at Manchester Art Gallery and visiting art and craft centres, reviewing art collections on display in local museums and visiting sites of religious art.

Moreover these young people shared their skills, demonstrating techniques to the public at exhibitions, or in school with younger children, writing instructions, performing and inviting question and answer sessions from their audience.

Each portfolio detailed the inspiration drawn from an arts hero. For many these individuals were the artists they had worked with such as Lisa Watson and Karen Alderson. For others their heroes were local arts champions such as Accrington’s Julie Hesmondhalgh. Some were wowed by their trip to Manchester and decided to find out more about Anish Kapoor.

The portfolios were detailed, colourful, individual and intriguing. Spending time assessing them gave enormous pleasure as each one revealed, through hidden pockets, shape poems, mirror writing and fold out pages, its individual treasures. What terrific effort and imagination!

… and then the day came. Young people, Zara, Sanaira, Kate, Amelia and Amber arrived ready to talk to Buzz, the Arts Award moderator. And as they munched on Halloween themed cakes, Buzz broke the news: they passed! Huge congratulations to them and all of the 23 young people who completed portfolios and achieved Bronze Arts Awards.

As for MPA, we’re ready to do it all again. Who’s next?

Author: Steph Hawke

10 Facts About Arts Award

MPA’s Business Director Rob Carder tells us all about Arts Award and how it can benefit young people….

Mid Pennine Arts is an Arts Award assessment centre. We can help young people achieve their Bronze and Silver Arts Awards. What is an Arts Award? Read on…

1. Arts Award is a national qualification that supports young people to develop as artists and arts leaders.

2. Arts Award is open to all young people aged 11 – 25.

3. Arts Award is an accredited qualification at three levels (Bronze, Silver and Gold) offered at Levels 1, 2 and 3 on the QCF (Qualifications and Credit Framework) and is accredited by Ofqual.

4. Launched in 2005, the Arts Award is managed by Trinity College London in association with Arts Council England.

5. Between Nov 2005 and Feb 2011, the Arts Award involved over 13,853 professionals working with young people, resulting in over 40,276 awards.

6. The award fosters creative, communication and leadership skills and helps to prepare young people for further education and employment.

7. Young people can gain their awards through any art form, as creators of their own work or supporting an arts production.

8. At each level, young people are assessed on their understanding of their art form, creativity, and communication. At Silver and Gold level they are also assessed on their planning and review skills.

9. Young people work with a trained Arts Award adviser who supports them to achieve their aspirations. The adviser will usually be a professional artist, teacher or youth worker.

10. Young people take part in the award at an Arts Award centre. Any organisation which supports young people’s arts activities can register to be a centre e.g. schools, arts organisations, youth groups, young offender programmes, community projects.

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