The Arts Council’s Young people’s quality event was a great 24 hours of performance, networking and finding out what other young people feel about the arts industry and how it can be improved to benefit us. The event was pretty full-on and we were literally thrown right in. We were divided into different groups to find out what type of things the younger generation of the artistic world want and need to make the most of whatever talent or skill they have, and then we were asked to consider how Arts Council England and other arts organisations can help them.
It was really interesting and inspiring to hear what other kids and young adults like us thought about it. Myself and Anderson (a fellow member of Lyric Young Company) got a chance to tell them about how we managed to put on our play called Karma at the Lyric Hammersmith and also tour it, and how many years and how hard it was for us to put it on. We eventually succeeded with the help of Lyric staff, and even though we were turned down by the Arts Council England we still pushed forward and put on our play. At the time, as a young artist, I didn’t feel that Arts Council England are easy to approach and they didn’t seem to take an interest in new project ideas what young people come up with, but maybe things are changing?
On the train back to London we had a de-brief with Adam and Becky, who pushed us on a few points; did we really believe that arts organisations listen to and involve young people enough?
What we said is that we feel that arts organisations want to listen and involve young people but often do not understand how to carry this out. They use barriers such as age, sex, and experience to refuse involvement with young people who are passionate, determined and have lots of ideas! Another thing they asked was if one thing could change what should it be? Most of all we feel that arts organisations, and the Arts Council, should be willing to take a risk on young people. This includes involving young people more in decisions on funding and projects. A very good idea that we heard at this seminar was introducing a Youth Arts Council to drive a plan and make funding decisions.
Overall we felt that speaking with the Arts Council and the other young group was a great experience, but do we really believe that the event will make any difference? Maybe, maybe not. Things will only get better if arts organisations are as determined as we are in creating opportunities for young diverse artists. They need to seriously analyse the valid points that we raised - such as taking risks, being more approachable, making exciting new projects, giving options of mentors to help projects strive – and then maybe, just maybe things will get even better.
This post was written by Anderson, Kyran and Holly, who are young artists working as part of the Lyric Young Company at the Lyric Hammersmith. Together they established One Light Talent Entertainment, a performance and arts enterprise which seeks to give other young people big opportunities.