The Horniman Museum

A week-long summer Arts Award project with 14-19 year olds

Arts Award level: Bronze

Model: One-week summer arts project

Participants: 8 young people, 14-19 years old, recruited through local schools

Partners: Goldsmiths University, Jalley Keba Susso, Tom Richards, Aleks Kolkowski, On the Rise DJ School


Young peopled explored physical sound, recording techniques and the ideas of Daphne Oram (one of the first electronic music composers in Britain) through a combination of the Horniman’s musical instrument collection and additional specialist pieces. They then re-recorded, remixed and re-presented their findings.

Each day began with warm up games ('Articulate' became a favourite!) and had a specific focus while incrementally building young people’s knowledge, skills, insights and understanding. Day one saw the young people exploring the Collection and make recordings with Kora player Jalley Keba Susso. Day two introduced Daphne Oram's work which led to composition activity with Tom Richards. Day three involved an exploration of the museum's vinyl collection and lathe cutting with Aleks Kilkowski. Day four focused on studio techniques with Goldsmith’s electronic recording studio. Day five focused on presentation and performance with On the Rise DJ school.


Ensuring participants completed all the Arts Award requirements was a challenge. Some of the assessment criteria was completed through audio recordings made by sitting in a group circle and passing around a dictaphone. This worked well and in future the museum would extend this as a method of gathering evidence; it was engaging and enabled participants to reflect on their work in a way that didn’t feel like school.

On reflection, the the final day's activity was probably one activity too many! The time perhaps could have been better spent just finishing off and improving pieces. In the final performance, the process behind the music was a little lost; this could have worked better if participants had more time to explain to the audience how they created their pieces.