The benefits of dual-use facilities for arts activities in schools and communities
Discover how a strategy for developing dual-use facilities led to an increase in arts activities and a fall in complaints about young people’s behaviour in South Cambridgeshire.
Something happened in South Cambridgeshire a couple of years ago that is making the recent bad news of a 60% cut in the arts budget just a little bit easier to bear. It is called dual use arts.
Dual-use typically means that certain facilities, equipment and resources used for the school curriculum and community education classes are also available for the benefit of the community. It is a familiar term in the lexicon of sports development, where swimming pools, fitness suites, playing fields and other facilities are managed for community use out of school hours.
Dual use arts
In 2001 South Cambridgeshire District Council - largely in response to demands from its 102 growing villages and plans for further housing, including a new town - adapted the dual–use approach for the arts. After copious research and consultation with the heads of the nine village colleges (secondary schools) that serve the district, a framework strategy was produced. The Council's Cabinet and the school heads supported this and funding was allocated. Unlike the sports model, dual use arts is not based on capital facilities. It is specifically designed to raise levels of community participation throughout villages served by the Village College. This involves building audiences, support networks and forums and identifying new sources of income for arts activity, both amateur and professional.
How is this achieved?
Participating schools appoint a local Arts Development Manager (ADM) for the area served by the school. The post is funded by the District Council on a tapering basis over three years and in time becomes established within the college.
Crucially, the main purpose of the ADM is that of a resource provider. The role is to enhance the quality and quantity of existing arts provision through actively encouraging greater public participation in the promotion and delivery of arts activity.
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