RNCM wins third Times Higher Education Award

We’re proud to report that the RNCM has won its third Times Higher Education Award after lifting the Widening Participation or Outreach Initiative of the Year trophy for its Engage initiative.

The THE Awards – widely referred to as the ‘Oscars of higher education’ – are the biggest celebration in the UK HE calendar, attracting hundreds of entries from individuals, teams and institutions from all corners of the country. Celebrating the achievements of 2018-19, this year’s ceremony was a virtual affair, with over a thousand people logging in on Thursday 26 November to hear the winners announced.

John Gill, THE editor said: ‘Because these awards recognise achievements in the 2018-19 academic year, we are dealing with the world as it was pre-pandemic, but the brilliance of our researchers, the exceptional teaching and the extraordinary ingenuity shown by administrative staff, all on display in this year’s shortlists, will be critical for both universities and the country in the period ahead…Congratulations to an inspirational group of winners, and indeed to everyone shortlisted.’

Through RNCM Engage, the College plays a key role in delivering the joys of music to a wide range of people in Greater Manchester and beyond, irrespective of age or background.

As the number of young people studying music at both GCSE and A level has declined steadily and as funding for community projects has fallen sharply, Engage has given young musicians new opportunities to develop their skills – particularly those who might not ordinarily have access to quality tutorship.

In 2018-19, the programme became more focused than ever, with new pathways laid out for under-represented groups such as those from low-income families, areas of low arts engagement and people of ethnic minority backgrounds. That year, Engage ran 227 projects for schools and community groups, reaching an estimated 150,440 young people across Greater Manchester and 62,249 from wider community groups.

The projects included ‘first contact’ operations, which targeted those without previous access to live music, as well as music classes and subsequent guidance on studying at university, in addition to well-being projects in care homes, prisons and hospitals.

The judges declared Engage a ‘worthy winner’, pointing out that its commitment to taking specialist musical knowledge to a broader cross-section of the community was impressive because not only did it form ‘a response to the decline in music education and practice in schools, but it also extended the experience of staff and students at the college by incorporating elements of the project into degree programmes. This will ensure that the benefits for the community and the college are sustained into the future.’

2020’s award marks the third time the RNCM has achieved THE success after winning in 2015 (Excellence and Innovation in the Arts) and 2016 (International Student Strategy). It’s also the third time our Learning and Participation Team has been shortlisted in this category.

27 November 2020