Notes from Brighton and Hove Arts Award Advisor forum- 29 Jan

Below are the details of the Critical Writing Training Session,  led by Beccy Smith from Total Theatre Magazine. Beccy led the group through a series of activities, outlined here, to encourage the advisers on how to engage with young people on specific aspect of the award. For more information about Beccy and her company, visit:

Shape of the Session

–      >  definition. What is a review?  What’s it for?

–      >  some practical exercises to break down how the different parts work

–      >  writing a short review of a performance video

Arts Award context:  giving young people a voice and sense of ownership and agency in relation to the art we’re encouraging them to participate in.

DISCUSS:  What are the main challenges / issues you’ve had in getting young people to make a critical response to art work through arts awards.


What’s it for? 

  (1. information

2. to describe

3. to analyze

4.  to assess:  is it good or bad)


Who made it? Who are they? Where does it sit in their body of work? Where seen (context)?   Who saw it?  When?    Art form  (also context).  [check spelling and facts esps names]


Exercises to explore what makes an effective description

Analysis of what works and any general principles we can infer


Exercise:  performance images  – trying to apply these principles in action


NB description is the key.  Its the building block. The act of describing helps us discover how we feel about a piece of work.


Sharing ideas about ways to apply these principles in action with the young people through simple related excercises and guiance about how to improve description.


This is the tricky one.

What is analysis?: breaking it down into its parts.

Then look at how the different parts are working

WHY:  helps us understand how a piece of art is made.    That its made up of a array of decisions, each with its own reason.

Why here?  Why these costumes?  Why this cast?  Why this colour?  Etc

choices by the artist: identifiable.

Exercise – writing our own performance questionnaire for Arts Award.


Does the piece of work, work or not?

DISCUSS:  How can you tell?   How can the previous strands of the review contribute to forming this opinion?

PRACTICAL WORK on your won review from performance video.  Sharing and discussion.

Posted in Arts Award Advisors Forum, Uncategorized

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