Developing ‘active citizens’: Arts Award, creativity and impact

Journal article

Robinson, Y., Paraskevopoulou, A. and Hollingworth, S. (2019). Developing ‘active citizens’: Arts Award, creativity and impact. British Educational Research Journal. 45 (6), pp. 1203-1219.
AuthorsRobinson, Y., Paraskevopoulou, A. and Hollingworth, S.

Creativity has become the new watchword in UK academic and policy circles. Within this context, policy discussions about the arts and their impact emphasise economic benefits over educational value, drawing clear distinctions between quantifiable or ‘hard’ measures of impact and those described as ‘soft’, less tangible and lacking a strong evidence base. Departing from the binary logics often underpinning notions of arts impacts, this paper is novel in exploring the entwined relationship between impacts seen as ‘hard’ and ‘soft’. We draw on research examining the links between arts education and young people’s future trajectories and use the concept of ‘active citizenship’ to show how informal, softer skills fostered through creative learning are an important part of citizenship making for some young people. Participants’ accounts show how improvements in soft skills can give young people opportunities for agency, which shape progression pathways leading to measurable change. This finding is directly relevant in the context of evaluations of arts impacts in the UK and abroad, and should encourage further examination of the impact of creative learning on transfer of skills as well as policy developments in this area.

JournalBritish Educational Research Journal
Journal citation45 (6), pp. 1203-1219
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)
Web address (URL)
Funder/ClientArts Council England
Publication dates
Print30 Jul 2019
Online30 Jul 2019
Publication process dates
Deposited26 Jun 2019
Accepted19 Jun 2019
Accepted author manuscript
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Developing Active Citizens.docx
License: CC BY-NC 4.0
File access level: Open

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