The value of arts to society

At ACM we prepare the next generation of creative practitioners, music makers and arts professionals for long careers in the creative sector. We understand the role of the artist in society and the impact and transformative value that music can bring to people of all ages.

We connect with the creative sector at a regional level, supporting statutory and institutional objectives shared locally by arts teams; health and wellbeing teams; schools and youth organisations; government and arts organisations to bring access to the arts for all, to remove barriers to arts participation and to encourage the application of arts in health and wellbeing. The arts enrich our lives individually and collectively. Music inspires, it moves and it challenges, creating discourse, new perspectives, emotional connectivity and meaning to our shared experiences and spaces. Aside from the philosophical and less easily quantifiable benefits of the arts to society (it makes us feel happy, it humanises us, it brings us together), it has been evidenced by Arts Council England and DCMS to:

  • Support community cohesion, making our towns safer, supporting social inclusion and citizenship. Young people engaged in the arts are 20% more likely to vote in an election.
  • Children from low income families who take part in the arts at school are three times more likely to get a degree
  • Secondary school pupils engaged in arts and culture are twice as likely to volunteer in the community
  • Social prescribing and arts in health is proven to help recovery from serious and long-term conditions; dementia; stroke; mental health; loneliness and social isolation and can be preventative.

Arts Council England Evidence Review 2014.

ACM mission and values

A key institutional objective, as outlined in our mission and values (, is to empower individuals from diverse backgrounds, to maintain accessibility, and provide an inclusive organisational culture. ACM seeks to reach out to students who feel that higher education is not for them, through creative and practical applied learning which aims to address the students differentiated learning needs within the classroom, supporting students who may have not previously engaged with traditional academic delivery methodologies.

Embedded activities

Access and participation for underrepresented groups is supported through a range of measures and activities including: innovative programme design and multiple points of access, a contextual admission policy that takes a holistic view of suitability, availability of bursaries and scholarships, and a curriculum that includes modules on music in the community, and music therapy. Further details are outlined in our approved Access and Participation Plan (

Financial Support

ACM provide a range of bursaries, scholarships, hardship loans and travel grants, to support students who may face additional financial challenges in studying their degree. Our 2-year accelerated degree programmes also offer substantial savings over traditional 3-year university programmes. The majority of students choosing to study a degree programme at ACM should be able to access a full student loan to cover their tuition fee. Our further education programmes are free to those aged 18 and under (subject to eligibility).

ACM and the Community

Schools outreach

ACM has a school outreach team, working nationally with schools, offering a range of interventions and training, open day attendance and masterclasses.

As part of our widening participation work, ACM engages local schools, particularly those with low participation in Higher Education and those with a lack of music provision. These activities are bespoke, tailored to the needs of the school and the interests of the students and forms an ongoing partnership. We deliver one off workshops, competitions, ongoing development programs with classes, with music teachers and with the whole school community. If your school would like to engage with us please contact our schools outreach team at:

Electric Theatre

The Electric Theatre is a venue that was established by the community, for the community. Volunteers, charities and local artists made it their home. ACM continues to invite artists, charities and voluntary groups to use the space, to create and collaborate at the theatre. We encourage a diverse program of family events, community festivals, film festivals and student events and offer heavily subsidised student tickets on professional shows. The theatre hosts an annual community lantern festival, The Guildford Book festival and the Guildford on Sea community beach event every summer. The U3A, Guildford knitters, a regular sling library, Art venture, Halo charity and Surrey Arts, Lockwood Arts regularly use the space. We continue to build the Electric to be a space where community and students can converge alongside professional artists to innovate and contribute to our local arts development. Join the mailing list now to receive the events brochure.

Community projects

ACM collaborates with local arts organisations and charities to deliver and support meaningful work of social value to combat isolation, exclusion and to encourage community cohesion. We provide students with opportunities to engage with professional arts organisations in the region on projects with the community. This has led to vulnerable young people accessing ACM studios and tutors with students supporting charity projects as artists and producers, such as the Up! Orchestra SEN orchestra, The I Speak Music project, Intergenerational Music Making Project, Dyslexia Creates. Projects originating from the Electric Theatre also regularly seek student participation and there are many whole community initiatives planned for the coming year. If you would like to contact ACM regarding a potential collaboration, please contact jennie:

Summer schools and part-time courses

ACM offers a part time Saturday school and a summer school for those aged 12+ in singing, music skills, production. We offer free and subsidised places for those most in need, where it can make a real difference to an individuals progression and attainment and where there is a real talent or interest, but a lack of opportunity to develop this. We can take referrals from service providers and schools, please visit

Staff and student volunteering

Please contact the Student Services Team for more details:

Links to partners and logos

News and Projects

Light our Sky – Carnival of lights

Lottery Funding announced for Guildford’s Community Lantern Festival @ Electric Theatre– taking place in the town centre in December, workshops from September. If your school or organisation would like to take part in processional music making or lantern making with professional artists, please contact jennie:

ACM Students! We will need your involvement to get the streets moving and accompany the procession with your music making skills, all levels of musician can join the workshops from beginner to professional.

Dyslexia Creates

ACM are partnering the British Dyslexia Association in the launch of their new campaign Dyslexia Creates. On 26th September ACM will be presenting at the V&A and ACM students will be performing, at a conference event to launch the campaign and bring together partners to explore and celebrate Dyslexia’s contribution to the creative sector across music, architecture, dance, industry and digital.

Community Music Elective

This module on our degree programme will be hosting workshops and masterclasses with inspirational community arts leaders and pioneers, it runs from September and placement on arts projects will be a big part of the course as students gain skills in working in a variety of settings.

Tron – Experimental music and AV

Inclusive experimental music and AV event regularly hosted at the Electric theatre, everyone is welcome – come along and bring your ideas and any tech you want to try out – dates TBC

Intergeneration Music making (IMM)

For students wishing to engage in intergenerational music making workshops alongside renowned music therapists, working with older and younger people to combat loneliness and isolation and gaining work experience on music in dementia projects in care settings. Some ACM Alumni have since gone on to full employment with IMM, these skills are highly desirable and transferrable to music in health settings. Contact Jennie if you would like to get involved.

New Partnership – Never Such Innocence

NSI are a charity working with schools to explore themes of conflict through art, poetry and song writing. More news to follow, but we will be looking for students to support the project throughout 2019/2020.