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Arts Award Gold for Connor

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Connor Gribben, from South Shields, left school with a desire to succeed in his main passions – dance and art. He had few qualifications and was desperate to get into university. Then he heard about Arts Award.

His dance teacher told him that working towards Gold Arts Award would help him to build a portfolio, gather work experience and achieve enough UCAS points to go onto Higher Education.

He started working towards his Award at The Customs House arts centre in South Shields before continuing at Sage Gateshead. During his time at these cultural venues he learnt about the operational side of running arts programmes as well having opportunities to put his creative skills to good use.

He successfully completed and passed his Gold Award, which helped him to get onto a fine arts degree course at Northumbria University, which he is currently half way through.

Connor is now 22 and teaching dance for the likes of The CustomSpace and Lawnmowers Theatre Company, as well as delivering breakdance events with cultural organisations for young people and competing in dance competitions across the country and beyond. This is as well as studying for his fine art degree!

Connor said: “Without Gold Arts Award and my advisor, I would not have been accepted into university. It really challenged me, made me be more creative but also organised. I had a lot of fun and learned so much doing the Gold Arts Award.”

He has also branched out into music, taking a course at Sage Gateshead’s CoMusica Arches programme, where he and his friends made a rap album. The band has already performed at events and festivals in the North East.

Paul Martin, Arts Award Programme Leader at Sage Gateshead, said: “The process of Arts Award has motivated and challenged Connor. It’s been instrumental in helping him progress in his career as an artist.”