young arts

Young Arts aims to inspire young people with a lasting enthusiasm for the arts either through Young Arts groups (for 8-18 year olds which are affiliated to member societies) or a Young Arts project.

Projects cover a wide range of activities and may benefit individuals (such as by bursary) or by supporting school groups eg funding visits to galleries and museums, purchasing special equipment or funding ‘Artists in Residence’.


The Arts Society Birmingham continues to support Dance Track. This enables selected Year 1 and 2 pupils from Birmingham schools to attend weekly classes at  Birmingham Royal Ballet School.  For many of these talented pupils, classes would be beyond family budgets. Some pupils have graduated to Elmhurst Ballet School.

We continue to provide an award to an outstanding graduate at the Birmingham School of Jewellery. This year our choice was Emily Howells who lives in South Wales but based her work on the city scape of Birmingham. She will attend our Christmas Event on 6th December 2017 to share her work with members.

Jewellery design by Emily Howells, winner of the Young Arts Jewellery Award 2017.

Support for Singing Playgrounds and  Singing Medicine continues. The projects, conceived by staff at Ex Cathedra, provide music and songs to enhance the social skills and wellbeing of children in primary schools and those in hospital with complex medical conditions.

We have also agreed to provide a financial award to two outstanding members of the Birmingham Youth Orchestra.

Singing Medicine

The Arts Society AGM, held in Birmingham this year, coincided with the presentation of awards to Sixth Form pupils across the West Midlands who made it to the finals of the Make Your Mark Art Competition. Prizes were presented on Monday, 15th May and the work was displayed at the RBSA Gallery in the Jewellery Quarter. Birmingham had two finalists, one from Lordswood Girls’ School and one from Cadbury College.

A one-off donation was given to Turves Green Girls’ School to fund two days of their Artist-in-Residence, Karl Slater, running an Experimental Workshop for Year 9 pupils to encourage the experimental use of colour and mark-making.  The Young Arts Committee representatives were able to join the girls in a most enjoyable day.



The fledgling initiative Drama-Link offered actor training and performance experience to young people across Birmingham last year. Four performances of Twelfth Night were staged in the Studio Theatre of the Crescent Theatre in December. The 60 actors were drawn from schools across the social spectrum and BDFAS supported the project.


For the past three years we have supported the Birmingham Royal Ballet’s Dance Track programme which we first became involved with in 2010

Dance Track: Photographer Tim Cross


The committee decided to support the Birmingham School of Jewellery. The School is world renowned and situated most appropriately in our Jewellery Quarter. We decided to award a prize to an individual or piece of work with local relevance.

The recipient of the 2013 BDFAS Young Arts Award was a young woman who was not only born locally but also based her delightful pieces of jewellery on her observations of Birmingham’s Victorian Gothic buildings. We look forward to seeing the future work of Katie Lowey.


Following our involvement with the SHED project in 2009, we supported a similar programme aimed at 16 to 25 year olds who were not in education, employment or training (NEET) and who were based in Ladywood. This Arts Award training programme is run by Performances Birmingham Limited, and allows young people with limited life-opportunities to access facilities, learn new skills, gain a qualification and meet others in a safe, creative and constructive environment. The training took place over four months and included a THSH outreach session in the Ladywood constituency, with THSH artists working directly with the young people in their community groups, plus a programme of 18 sessions in the Patrick Music & Multimedia Studio at Symphony Hall including a drop-in session for independent work. There was also the opportunity to attend a Master Class following the Arts Award training programme.

Examples of Katie Lowey’s jewellery


BDFAS supported the ‘SHED’ project, an after-school club where where 11-16 year olds can learn skills in creative multi-media.

‘SHED’ reaches young people who would not normally have the opportunity to access such facilities and, for example, there is currently an initiative to boost the number of young people accessing the programme from the Ladywood area, which is recognised as one of the most deprived areas in Britain.

A flagship project of the Town Hall and Symphony Hall’s participatory youth programme, the SHED project takes place in the Patrick MusicTech Studio, a high-tech, multi-media facility where a wide range of creative musical and artistic activities can be taught. The equipment available includes a suite of eleven iMac computers and a range of additional digital technologies such as still and video cameras, portable sound recorders and relevant software programmes. The studio has evolved to offer diverse creative activities to participants of all ages and backgrounds from Birmingham and the West Midlands. These activities include music composition and recording, photography and film projects, 2D and 3D animation work, story telling and audio book production.

The resources also include specialist technology which allows children and young people with special needs to engage in creative activities using devices which ensure equality of access.

Young people from the SHED documenting a project called Bollywood Steps, part of Birmingham Town Hall’s 175th anniversary celebrations


BDFAS sponsored two internees to work on a programme to promote young art to the wider community, one of whom completed her term in March and the other started in February. The post-graduates in History of Art spent six months working for three days a week at the Barber Institute of Fine Arts. They gained experience in the marketing, education and curatorial departments. This sponsorship offered a rare opportunity outside London, thus helping to keep talent in Birmingham and benefitting the local community.

NADFAS was so impressed with this venture that they have pledged funds from the Patricia Fay Foundation in order to support another two internees at the Barber Institute in 2009-10.

The Barber Institute of Fine Arts