In 2016 Abi Hackett developed and piloted a Creative Families Award for CapeUK.

The purpose of the Creative Families Award pilot was to research and develop a resource that could be used by parents, carers and museum practitioners as a tool for identifying, recognising, valuing and celebrating the arts and creative experiences of very young children in museums.

In developing the Creative Families Award, we took the Arts Award Discover and Explore frameworks (most appropriate for children above the age of 5 years) as a starting point, so that there would be a natural progression from one to the other. The Creative Families Award was designed for museum practitioners working with children aged 1-4 years and their parents, carers, grandparents or other grownups.

The sessions placed a focus on families documenting their children’s engagement with the arts activities through four parts:

  1. Discovering arts all around
  2. Making and creating
  3. Experiencing artists’ work
  4. Sharing experiences

What we did

  • We developed a practitioner guidance document, which combined practical tips and a framework, with an overview of the relevant research in the field.
  • In addition, we developed a log book for families to complete together during the sessions and a certificate to be awarded on completion of the programme.
  • The practitioner resource and log book were piloted in the first half of 2016 by four museum services (East Riding Museum Service, Heritage Learning Hull, North Lincolnshire Museum Service), who each adopted a different format and approach.
  • Feedback from the pilot organisations was collected in order to inform the development and roll out of the resource and log book.
  • Alongside the pilot, we ran a research project to understand the sorts of learning and experiences the Creative Families Award engendered for families. We collected a data set of ethnographic fieldnotes, photographs and scanned copies of the log books that families completed during the pilot.

Project team

Academic researchers: Dr Abigail Hackett, Manchester Metropolitan University, with Dr Dylan Yamada-Rice, in association with the Centre for the Study of Childhood and Youth, University of Sheffield.

Museum partners: Sarah Hammond and Esther Cawley, East Riding Museums Service, Esther Hallberg, Heritage Learning Hull, Rebecca Kumerfeld and Rosalind Macaulay, North Lincolnshire Museums, Chris Evans and Caroline Saddington, Rotherham Museums Service,

The project was funded by CapeUK and coordinated by Jael Williams.

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