This week, Senior Project Officer, Youth Arts Anne O’ Gorman continues to throw a spotlight on NYCI’s Youth Arts Programme. In this entry, she invites Máire Davey to talk about her experience as a tutor on the Certificate in Youth Arts.
Here’s what Máire had to say:
When asked to reflect on the past three years as a support tutor for the NYCI Certificate in Youth Arts, I wondered where to start….firstly I suppose, I asked myself – why? Why did I do it or rather why did I want to engage with the certificate in the first place?
For anyone that works within the participatory realm of the arts (and I mean in the broadest sense not just as defined by the art historian and critic Claire Bishop) it can sometimes be very challenging. I mean this in the sense that it can be seen as the underdog, the after-thought and unless the work is sited in a white cube, on a stage, reviewed in a newspaper it is somewhat less valuable or should be further down the pecking order. This is a frustrating reality in my experience, so the more professional the participatory arts sector becomes the better. Practitioners need to be articulate, to have a greater understanding of the sector and be able to question, critique and build on it.
I do believe that professional development is key to this, whether it’s as simple as shadowing, which I have found beneficial in the past, mentoring (we desperately need more of these opportunities) or accredited courses like the certificate. So this is why I wanted to be involved, to help (if I could) but also to gain a greater understanding of my own work (we never stop learning!) I have met some very interesting practitioners through the cert, those that used the year to really question what they are doing to those who use it as an avenue to bounce off their peers and experience new ways of working.
On a more personal level I really enjoyed the interaction with students, the other tutors, and the course content. As most of my daily work is within a particular geographical area I enjoyed the youth arts content from a national perspective. What I have found particularly fascinating is the mixture of youth workers and youth arts practitioners – the different perspectives that this brings. Also watching how individuals define themselves at the beginning and then again at the end of the year. For some practitioners the year reaffirms their practice, others leave with more questions but most have built up a strong peer network for the future.
Sometimes the cert would see me prancing around a room in DanceHouse with glee as a participant on one of the art-form sessions led by Philippa Donnelan from Coiscéim (Anne – you have burned the photograph evidence haven’t you?) to listening to practitioners talk about the stellar youth arts work that happens all over the county.
I suppose that at the heart of it I am someone who believes in ‘life–long learning’ and will miss the interaction with the certificate but I am heartened by the fact that there is a wealth of practitioners that are taking the time to develop and reflect on their practices.
Content and views expressed by our guest Bloggers in Residence does not necessarily represent the views of NYCI