Case Study: Cultural Connections – Connecting young people with arts professional

8th August 2017 - Susie Newton

With a current lack of representation in the arts and culture industry, the programme provides young people from diverse backgrounds particularly BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic) and challenging social and economic circumstances a taster of a career in the arts sector.

Background: 

The Geraldine Connor Foundation (GCF) in collaboration with IVE and Leeds City College delivered a 12 week pilot scheme from the 30th May – 22nd August on behalf of the Leeds Grand Futures network.  

The aim of the scheme was to connect young people in Leeds with arts professionals working in the city. The main priority was to help aid the young person’s progression by helping them build new connections between large and small scale cultural providers in Leeds. Using positive action to target young people aged between 13 and 25 years we promoted both performance and non-performance roles based on the young person’s interest. 

With a current lack of representation in the arts and culture industry, this scheme focused its effort on selecting young people from diverse backgrounds particularly BAME (Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic), people with disabilities and those with challenging social and economic circumstances 

 Stages of the programme: 

Identification: 

An email was sent out to arts organisations and key contacts to refer over any young people that were suitable for the cultural connections programme. Six young people were then identified and referred to the Geraldine Connor Foundation through the Grand Futures network, GCF programmes, small arts organisations and secondary school tutors. 

Interviews: 

A meeting was arranged between a member of the Geraldine Connor Foundation and the young person to find out how the programme could be tailored to suit their individual needs and interests. This stage included a conversation with the young person, completion of a questionnaire/semi-structured interview and the creation of a profile. If the young person was under the age of 18, the parent/guardian had the option to sit in on the meetingThe conversation also focused on the range of performance/non-performance roles in the arts industry that are available. 

Making the connection: 

After collating the information from the interview, GCF contacted appropriate arts professionals for the young people to talk to and consideration was given to the young person’s age, level of skill and area of interest. In the pilot programme the request was initially made to the Grand Futures Network. Upon receiving a positive response, GCF briefed the arts professional about the young person, the format of the conversation and potential future opportunities. 

 Co-ordinating the meeting: 

GCF then co-ordinated a meeting between the young person, the arts professional and a member of staff from GCF. The meeting usually took place at the organisation/company that the professional worked at as it gave the young person a feel of the work environment. The conversation lasted around an hour and the young person was able to ask any questions that they prepared beforehand. 

 Follow up:
A follow up conversation was arranged with the young person to discuss their next steps as well as find out what they have learnt. The young person and member of GCF agreed a progress action plan that will be monitored.

Future considerations: A session should be arranged to help prepare the young person to speak to professionals (this could be carried out as a group session). 

Overall outcomes/Findings: 

Long term programme: 

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