in Seacroft Manston Autumn 2009 Find Your Talent is a national programme aiming to increase arts and cultural opportunities for children and young people, and make access to those opportunities more equitable
Cultural Entitlement in Schools Project From a child’s point of view, what is an ideal arts & cultural experience as they move through school? Why does this vary so much from school to school? To end this postcode lottery, Find Your Talent and Education Leeds ArtForms are working with and supporting schools in Seacroft Manston to bring about more equitable access to arts and culture for pupils. The aims are to Create a model cultural entitlement statement to roll out across the city. Support schools to create their own Arts Policy, as well as policies for specific art forms. Provide whole staff training days dedicated to arts & culture & the creative curriculum. Organise cross-school staff development and sharing of resources in the cluster. Develop a more systematic approach to spotting and nurturing talent, and signposting. Make accessing artists easier for schools.
St Theresa’s Primary whole staff training day at Temple Newsam, June 2009, run by ArtForms. Artist Lou Sumray encourages staff to lose anxieties about their drawing skills by fixing charcoal to the end of bamboo canes, making it hard for everyone to control, whatever their ability.
To celebrate the start of the project, each school was able to buy in two days of an artist’s time to create a project for Shine week 6 – 10th July.
East Leeds FM’s caravan stood in contrast to the backdrop of Temple Newsam. The local community radio station ran participatory workshops, helped by two of the station’s young volunteers. Teachers experienced firsthand how radio could support speaking and listening in literacy, through interviewing and creating their own live broadcast.
Expression Arts Festival Saturday 12th September The first of its kind in East Leeds, Expression Arts festival showcased the creative talents of young people living in Seacroft and Manston. 571 young people had the chance to take part in brand new projects in the summer and these, together with existing work from schools, were exhibited and performed at the Festival. On the day itself, over 500 young people and their families had the opportunity to learn new skills and take part in urban dance, digital photography, sculpture, radio broadcasting, wicker weaving, hand casting, video... and enjoy exhibitions and performances on the day. Mini buses drove round the area to pick up young people and families. Visitors were given an Access All Zones passport and participants were given stickers for every activity they had taken part in. The event was held at the David Young Community Academy. Local organisation Space 2 project managed the Festival on behalf of the Seacroft Manston Children & Young People’s Partnership. The Festival was a huge success in getting the local area working together and putting arts and culture firmly on the radar: 14 schools, 6 youth groups, 4 community centres, libraries, Temple Newsam, British Red Cross, WYP First Floor, Music Passport, East Leeds FM, East Leeds Youth Theatre, Yorkshire Dance, Zest Wyke Beck Way, BTCV, Groundwork, Children’s University… all took part. Jane Howarth of Music Passport found the networking opportunities invaluable: “I made direct contact with key people and learnt as much in those 5 hours as I had in 5 months of research!” We will be evaluating the Festival, looking at how we celebrate and share success. For next year we’ll think about the timing, a young people’s steering group and social networking for marketing. Schools and youth groups will continue to be able to bid for new projects that can be showcased at next year’s Festival.
The East Arts Alliance Find Your Talent has given Leeds the exciting opportunity to examine the city’s infrastructure, and to make recommendations. Can we make positive changes to the way young people access arts and culture? Earlier in the year, Extended Services Cluster Co-ordinators in the East Wedge called for an Arts Alliance in the East, similar to the Sports Alliance models in the city. They felt that improved co-ordination and communication would enable them to use arts activity more fully and effectively in their work and improve their offer to young people. On 25 June at the David Young Community Academy the first consultation event took place involving council staff from Area Management, Temple Newsam, Libraries, FYT, Extended Services, Children’s Services, Educations Leeds, Youth Service together with local artists and organisations. The event was dynamic, positive and encouraged us to continue exploring what this potential change in the city’s infrastructure might mean for young people accessing arts and culture. Some participants thought that an Arts Alliance (or Culture Alliance) could represent smaller organisations, schools and practitioners, and feed local priorities and needs upwards to the area partnerships, management and Children Leeds. Similarly, information from the top such as commissioning opportunities could be more effectively fed to, for example, voluntary organisations that might not have the capacity to attend lots of meetings. For Extended Services and schools, one of the benefits would be easier access to professional artists. As Mark Smith, Cluster Manager for Seacroft Manston, said: “It’s simple; if I want to find an artist for a project, I need someone to ask, just like I can with sports”. Although the idea of an Alliance is being explored in the East, all FYT Locality Co-ordinators are finding that (lack of) information and co-ordination is a real barrier to effective use of existing resources.
Young People’s Reference Group Having now completed the first phase of recruiting and developing a small group of young people to form a Young People’s Reference Group to drive FYT forward, the FYT team are considering how to move on. One possibility is to work with other young people-led steering groups, and feed into a young people’s cultural steering group at a Wedge level. The Team have been considering what structures might be necessary to support such a development and felt that it might dovetail well with Arts Alliances. 3
Music development Seacroft Manston currently benefits from many music schemes and projects through Education Leeds, Extended Services, Youth Services and the voluntary sector. There is also a fantastic opportunity to develop the under-used East Leeds Music Centre, currently at Parklands Girls High. FYT is working with Education Leeds to establish and co-ordinate what we currently offer, before looking at a strategic approach with others in the area. We’ll be looking at community choirs and Stomp orchestras for the area - Watch this space.
East Leeds Youth Theatre Based on successful sustainable models in the South and Inner North West, FYT has provided pump priming funding to get the East Leeds Youth Theatre up and running for juniors and seniors. The venue is Parklands Primary - a neutral, central space for both primary and secondary pupils. Sessions run on Thursday evenings, 3.30 – 5.00 pm for juniors, 5.00 – 7.00 pm for seniors. For more information contact Sara Allkins, Youth Theatres Leeds, 07807 091835.
Expo Sonic Arts Festival Expo is an annual international sonic art (sound art) exhibition which this year comes to Leeds. FYT funding has meant that young people have been given the opportunity to create and exhibit sound installations alongside internationally-known sonic artists. In Seacroft, enthusiastic pupils from David Young worked with Adrian Sinclair of East Leeds FM on 'Dog Walking on Laminate Floor', where piano keys triggered domestic sounds around the City Museum’s Victorian kitchen. The Expo weekend was 24 – 29th Sept. FYT has also contributed to a schools’ day. Sixth form music students across the city attended a full day’s creative workshop at Leeds College Music. www.expofestival.org
Alston Lane Community Centre Fun Day 29th August 2009 FYT helped to get local cultural providers involved. No extra funding was needed; FYT enabled organisations who otherwise might have missed the opportunity to offer arts activities on the day. 150 young people benefited.
Breeze on Tour 29th & 30th July FYT was able to add to arts activities at the Fearnville Breeze on Tour, bringing local providers Lifeforce Productions in to run popular DJing and photography workshops. The aim was to increase the profile of current active local organisations.
Killingbeck and Seacroft Gala 4 Jul 09 FYT bought gazebos – or Young at Art tents as the committee named them - for the annual Gala. It was agreed that the tents were to be owned by the Gala but could be borrowed by organisations in the area for arts and cultural activities. FYT also brought in artist Kevin Hickson to run wicker sculpture workshops in one tent. Alston Lane Art Club, run by Connect Housing with young people, led arts and crafts activities in the other tent.
Badging and Quality Assurance Cape UK has been commissioned by FYT to look at all the different approaches organisations use for badging or Quality Assuring creative activity. Seacroft Manston is currently badge rich! There is Children’s University being piloted in the area, whereby children aged 7 – 14 collect stamps for every hour of fun activity outside of school. Connect Housing uses the national Dreamscheme where participation in community activity earns points which young people can use towards events, trips or experiences. Music Passport is a scheme whereby young people are trained to mentor young potential musicians. Then there’s also Duke of Edinburgh and Arts Award. This is a great opportunity to look at what all these schemes mean to the young people themselves and to providers. Is it confusing, or are young people used to being canny and able make all these schemes work to their advantage?
And round the corner...
Saturday Night Breeze: a year long project at Fearnville Sport Centre offering urban arts and sports on Saturday evenings. A huge success in Middleton and South Leeds, leading to a reduction in anti social behaviour incidents. Libraries: FYT will be looking at what kind of infrastructure can ensure more easy and successful brokering between libraries and schools. Theatre in Education: family learning drama project in two primary schools. Arts, Early Years and childrenâ€™s centres. 21st Century Literacy projects using screen heritage. Co-Location Build: a new community centre in Wyke Beck that will house many services, together with space for performances and exhibitions.
For more information about FYT in Seacroft Manston and city wide FYT initiatives: Catherine Mitchell Locality Co-ordinator, Seacroft Manston Find Your Talent The West Park Centre Spen Lane Leeds LS16 5BE 0113 230 4074 07545 604273 www.findyourtalent.org http://leedsfindyourtalent.wordpress.com