Arts Council – Reviewing music provision for children and young people in London

In 2008 Arts Council England (London) and Youth Music asked the hub to conduct a review of the music opportunities offered to children and young people in London by ACE’s Regularly Funded Organisations (RFOs), in order to understand the scope and scale of provision, evaluate the quality of experience for the young people taking part, and get inside where this work ‘sat’ in each of those organisations.

To do this, we put together an initial online survey that we asked all organisations to complete. This gave us information about where work was happening, what its scale, scope and genre focus was, how much money was being spent on it and where this came from, who it was for and how many children and young people were accessing it, the progression routes it afforded and the signposting that organisations did, and how organisations evaluated its impact. We complemented this with desk research, which gave us further contextual information about the organisations we were looking at.

Next up, we did in-depth interviews with key figures from each of the organisations, along with some of the capital’s key music education practitioners. We also attended a range of activity, to collect more anecdotal feedback and witness for ourselves some of the activity.

Our work began in September 2008 and in April 2009 we provided Arts Council and Youth Music with a final report that contained a summary of, and commentary on, our research findings.

We really enjoyed working on this, getting inside an incredibly diverse range of participatory practice, building up a picture of how this work fitted into each organisation’s ‘bigger picture’ and developing an understanding of where the gaps in provision were. And the discussions we had with the Arts Council and Youth music about these, and how they might inform their strategic planning gave us just the kind of mental and creative workout that we love!