UWE launches community arts and media practitioners' course

Issue date: 06 August 2009

1:1 session working with clay, dexterity and communication. Artist Clare Mahoney The University of the West of England has launched a new graduate certificate for practitioners working in community arts and media, which is the first of its kind in the UK.

The Graduate Certificate in Participatory Arts and Media Professional Practice is aimed at those working in any art form with groups in education, healthcare or the community.

The course is flexible enough to allow people to carry on working, and as it can be completed over three academic years it allows students to choose when and how to study. Students can take three modules in any order over a maximum of three years to obtain the new Graduate Certificate. Alternatively, they can take one or two of the modules for their own professional development.

Each module is twelve weeks long, with four days spent at UWE's Bower Ashton Campus. The majority of studies can be undertaken via an e-learning website, specifically designed to encourage participants to learn, interact and create a hub, allowing sharing of ideas throughout their modules and benefitting practitioners in their careers once the course is over.

Project Co-ordinator Sam Williams says, "It has been a real challenge to pull this innovative and visionary course together for arts and media practitioners who are working with communities to effect positive change. We worked with the Community Arts and Media Sector as well as the Arts and Health sector to develop the course content and delivery.

“This is an exciting development in the field of Participatory Arts and Media, as until now there have been no pathways of learning in Higher Education dedicated to this subject and career choice.”

The course was set up with the help of HERDA SW, the regional higher education association for South West England, through its Higher Skills Pathfinder Project.

Gill Sandford, Associate Dean for Enterprise at UWE's School of Creative Arts, said, “UWE is delighted to be leading on this, giving freelance artists the accredited training they have been requiring to ensure professional and high quality delivery, as well as working towards the sustainability of the sector.”

Lesley Featherstone, Director of North East Somerset Arts said, “When we employ a freelancer to run a high profile arts project in our name, the Participatory Arts and Media Professional Practice course will make it easier to find someone with all of the required skills, and therefore save our resources.”

For more information on the course, visit Graduate Certificate in Participatory Arts and Media Professional Practice

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