The Association of Ringing Teachers (ART) seems to be one of those "marmite" things. It definitely divides opinion, which has always seemed a bit strange to me because in its simplest form ART boils down to a couple of day courses. Last year ART ran over 60 such courses for almost 600 ringers and there were over 190 accreditations. The numbers speak for themselves – ringers come on the courses and accredit because they want to, not because they have to – and they wouldn’t do it if they didn’t think it was a good thing to do.
However, I’m being a bit disingenuous, as ART is much more that its courses. Take for example the first few months of the year which are always busy with both the national ART Awards and the ART Conference (both open to all ringing teachers). Some of the pupils from Colerne School, Wiltshire will be deciding which ringing project they will fund with their £400 prize money.
The ART Conference provides an opportunity for ringers from all over the country to listen to speakers talking about a wide range of topics. Some speakers are well-known (we couldn’t go to Worcester without hearing from Mark Regan) whilst others are new to ringing and gave some thought-provoking and sometimes uncomfortable insights. In the words of one delegate: "The ART Conference was a breath of fresh air. A room full of ringers, but enthusiastic ringers, motivated ringers, ringers who want to make ringing better. People who believe it's not just about bell ringing, it's actually about bell ringers. Can't wait for next year!"
So, if you’re undecided about ART why not have a look at our website. There’s a couple of videos of teachers who’ve been on our courses explaining why they found them so useful. And have a look at our other schemes, workshops and products. Hopefully you’ll find something that interests you.
Lesley Belcher ART Chair