What goes on at…? Cultural Citizens North West

We speak to Clare Sharples from Curious Minds about Cultural Citizens, a new pilot project from the Department of Culture, Media and Sport aimed at increasing access to the arts.

What goes on at…? Cultural Citizens North West

What happens at Cultural Citizens North West?

200 young people between the ages of 11-14, from ten schools in Blackpool and Liverpool have been challenged to choose, plan, attend and review at least five arts and cultural visits across the region and further afield.
Their selection must cover six criteria. At least one of the visits will:

1. Be free

2. Be local

3. Be a museum, heritage venue or library

4. Be outside their local area

5. Involve actively taking part

6. Have a 'wow' factor

What do you offer to young people?

All the groups received a project budget, to be spent on everything they need to complete the Cultural Citizens challenge, as well as some resources and two coaches to support them. The Arts and School Culture Coaches help the Cultural Citizens to complete the challenge; making the most of their experiences and completing a Bronze Arts Award to present everything that they've learnt.

How did Curious Minds come to run the Cultural Citizens NW project?

In 2016 the government said they wanted to create the programme in a document called the The Culture White Paper. The point of the Cultural Citizens Programme is to give opportunities to young people who don't currently get involved in arts and culture. Curious Minds were invited to be one of three organisations across the country to test what a successful Cultural Citizens Programme could look like.

Derri Burdon, Curious Minds' Chief Executive, based the idea we're using in the North West on a successful project she previously ran in Bolton.

What activities are most popular for young people and why?

We've been amazed at the range of activities that the different groups have chosen - from opera to hip-hop and puppetry to Brazilian drumming.

Anything fun – and funny! – has been popular with all the groups. But the experiences that taught them more about their own histories and communities have also been really popular and helped them to see just how much can be learnt outside the classroom.

There isn't really one thing that comes out on top for all the groups. Everyone's tried new things and developed a much wider understanding of their own tastes.

Do you run Arts Award? If so, what do you offer and how can young people get involved?

Rather than running Arts Award ourselves, Curious Minds job is to support and encourage arts and culture organisations, schools and youth organisations in the North West to provide great Arts Award opportunities and make sure that there's a wide range of different ways for as many young people as possible to take Arts Award.

The North West has hundreds of excellent opportunities to do Arts Award and the best place to find the full list is the Arts Award website.

If you need more help to find what you're looking for, feel free to get in touch via our website.

Are you an Arts Award Supporter? If so, what do you offer to young people doing Arts Award?

Lots of varied opportunities for young people to take Arts Award across the region, at a level and in a setting that's right for them. You might be interested to follow our Arts Award podcasts that are coming soon.

Is there anything you particularly want to promote to young people at the moment?

Find out about things happening locally and make the most of what you can access digitally. Arts and cultural organisations are linking up more than ever to offer more routes in to arts and culture, so you may be surprised how much is out there. However you start, you never know where the creative journey will take you!

Where can people find more information about Cultural Citizens North West?

The Curious Minds website is the best place to look for background about the North West project. We will be updating it with stories from the Cultural Citizens as the project comes to an end in July. Watch this space.


Tom Inniss

Tom Inniss Voice Team

Tom is the Editor of Voice. He is a politics graduate and holds a masters in journalism, with particular interest in youth political engagement and technology. He is also a mentor to our Voice Contributors, and champions our festivals programme, including the reporter team at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

We need your help supporting young creatives

Recent posts by this author

View more posts by Tom Inniss


Post A Comment

You must be signed in to post a comment. Click here to sign in now

You might also like

Ajeet "Blooming" track and music video review

Ajeet "Blooming" track and music video review

by Mystaya Brémaud

Read now