Thanks to the dedication and belief that Upstart Projects has in the importance of youth voice, we at Voice have helped many young people find a home for their opinions, develop their art and cultural critique, and improve engagement with the sector more generally.
Young people we have worked with have gone on to study journalism at university, enter the television industry, become teachers, or become freelance practitioners with their own focus of promoting youth engagement.
Here are a couple of impact quotes from some of the young people Voice and Upstart Projects have engaged with over the years.
The great thing about Voice is the freedom it offers for people to write about the things that interest them. It has provided a platform for me to talk about what I love and find interesting in a meaningful format. The editorial input has been a massive help, as it means that I have been able to actually improve on my style of writing, because it's being looked at by someone who knows what they're talking about.
The way the editing system works is really effective and a great way to be given feedback without having to meet with someone face to face. The content is great for those wanting a career in the arts and informative to those just interested. I joined to learn more about writing and to improve my skills. I also wanted to have a platform to share my work and to write valuable and helpful content to readers.
My favourite piece is Autism, art & me where I spoke openly about being a person on the Spectrum.
It was a massive leap forward for me as it was something I often didn't tell people about out of shame and stigma, but writing this article allowed me to embrace my differences and talk openly about my life.
Voice was a great opportunity to develop my skills as a writer and to work with editors. I like the fact that it was started by students, has a great array of diverse voices, and that everyone who works on Voice really cares about what they do. It’s been great having work edited and experiencing things I might not have done before. It's also a great way to show some of my work to potential employers.
It's hard to pinpoint what I think was most valuable from my time at Voice, having spent so long there. I feel like it helped me grow up a great deal and at the same time give me a forceful push into learning things that I've taken forward into the creative industries.
Platforms like this are painfully lacking: a free platform for you to write and get your writing and work read and seen by seasoned members of the art world and, on top of that, which allows those people to comment on your work. It's a cliché but they don't care about who you know or where you come from. Voice and the Arts Award's ethos is simply growth. They are filled with people who want to give you chances to do what you want to do and are clever enough to figure out what you should do, too.
Chris HillI wanted to share a love for topics that might not be picked up by mainstream media. I wanted to show other young people that studying music is far more than learning the prescribed list of classical composers and more about a way of thinking about and analysing all kinds of music. I wanted to explore the way music interacts with other arts and with the sciences. I also wanted to learn how to write in a journalistic style and would be appealing to anyone, rather than academics sat in a library wired on several cups of coffee, all while not dumbing down the complexity of the topics. People aren’t dumb and journalism shouldn’t treat them as if they were, a problem that mainstream media seems to struggle with.
I’ve learned much as a writer, and I’ve had positive feedback from people legitimately interested in what I’ve written. It has even presented me with opportunities to write for paid commissions which has been very exciting for someone who only developed a sincere interest in journalism relatively recently.
I really value that Voice as a platform doesn't prohibit views/opinions and doesn't shy away from allowing contributors to take a stance on topics. I like that it often has themes that are meaningful and important, like activism, gender, or disability. I believe there is a lot of value in being a Voice Contributor, for example I find the training days really useful and beneficial.
The great thing about Voice is having the freedom to write about WHATEVER you enjoy! I joined Voice to to gain experience of writing and sourcing my own stories, and have enjoyed the challenge of meeting deadlines and exploring different styles of writing.
Voice was a great experience for me. I joined at a time when I missed being a journalist at university but didn't know how to get back into it now that I was in the working world. Voice gave me the opportunity to work on my writing skills again, explore new styles of writing and attend some brilliant events..
I’ve loved having a magazine to call home for my photography and journalism. I was uploading stuff before becoming a Contributor and the site still felt really community focused and supportive. That’s something that’s only increased exponentially since becoming a Contributor! It’s been great to have a friendly team surrounding me, and encouraging me to push boundaries – I never would've gone to review theatre shows at a fringe festival before joining!
I felt that it was a valuable use of my time, particularly when engaged on the training residentials. Also, the guidance I received as a young artist, writer and human genuinely changed my life. Voice allows young people to voice their opinions in a professional, yet accessible manor, ensuring that minorities and those marginalised are heard in our society.
I got involved with Voice on the Reporter’s scheme when I was in university. Four years, 179 posts and two Edinburgh Fringe festivals on - my involvement Voice has led me directly into my Marketing and Communications career. It has helped me gain freelance work and it has given me so much confidence in my writing, and in sharing my opinions. It has really helped me to believe that young people not only should, but can be heard.
Voice is an amazing platform on which young people are given a voice and an opportunity to express their opinions freely and openly. Being given a chance to explore the arts, as well as my writing and my artistic style in such an open and welcoming environment has been pivotal in my growth both as a person and as a professional in the arts.