What goes on at Young Barbican?

Find out more and explore what happens at Young Barbican...

What goes on at Young Barbican?

What happens at the Barbican?

The Barbican is an international arts and learning venue based in London. We put on thousands of dance, film, music, theatre and visual arts events every year. Over a million people attend events annually, and hundreds of artists and performers from around the world are featured.

What do you offer to young people?

We have lots on offer through Young Barbican which was set up to make it easier for young people to access and engage with the arts. 

One way we do this is through the Young Barbican ticket scheme which offers 50,000 discounted tickets every year, some of them starting from £5 for those aged 14–25. 

We also offer free talent development programmes for young creatives aged 16–25 including Young Programmers (Film), Young Visual Arts Group, Young Poets and the National Open Youth Orchestra, an ensemble that supports young disabled musicians. 

We also have a Youth Panel which is made up of 15 members aged 14–18. This ensures young people have their voice heard and are made a part of the decision-making process at the Barbican. It’s a fantastic way to get involved in the running of a large arts organisation. 

Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning also runs an extensive programme for schools, including the Barbican Box programme for primary and secondary school students, workshops, backstage experiences, work experience and the Associate Schools programme where we develop in-depth partnerships with schools over three years to co-curate a bespoke programme of work.

What activities are most popular for young people and why?

The Young Barbican ticket scheme is extremely popular, with over 71,000 members who enjoy discounted tickets and access to exclusive Young Barbican events. Our talent development programmes are also very popular; the young people who take part can develop their creative voice with the support of mentors and the rest of the Creative Learning department – all for free!


Could you give an example of a recent project you have run, and the impact it had?

Chronic Youth Film Festival is curated, marketed and delivered by the Barbican Young Programmers, a group of around 20 people aged 16–25 with a real passion for film. The last Chronic Youth Film Festival was a massive success and included UK premieres, Q&As, a short film programme in which we invited people to submit their own films and a showcase of British archive films.  

These are the words of one of the young people who took part:

“I was able to get a new job almost entirely on the back of being a Barbican Young Programmer. It has given me confidence and motivation… and this can only be attributed to the generosity of Barbican (which astounds me) and the unfaltering care and passion which I have received from each one of the course leaders.” Young Programmer.

7d31f1699f9e2a0b990fddbd6403cadeafaf9d6e.jpgHave you seen any change in the industry over the last few years? Is it positive or negative?

We’ve noticed some great strides forward in the area of sustainability. At the Barbican we recognise the impact that our operations and activities have on the environment and are working towards reducing that impact. 

Last year the Barbican was proud to have been awarded Julie’s Bicycle Creative Green Certification at a four out of five-star level in recognition of our environmental commitment, understanding and improvement. This work included recognising the Barbican’s switch to 100% renewable electricity, our decrease in energy use emissions and our comprehensive environmental strategy and action plan.

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

We are an Arts Award Partner. You can find out more about the programme here: https://www.artsmark.org.uk/artsmark-partnership-programme.

Do you publish any online resources that young people doing Arts Award or Trinity College qualifications could use?

We don’t publish resources which people doing Arts Award or Trinity College qualifications could use, however our Barbican Young Poets anthologies are a great record of the work produced by the poets we have worked with. They can be found here: https://www.barbican.org.uk/take-part/young-creatives/young-poets

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

The Young Barbican membership scheme is free to join for those aged 14-25 years. Find out more here: https://www.barbican.org.uk/join-support/young-barbican.

Where can people find out more about the work you do?

The young creatives section of our website has more information about how young people can get involved with us: https://www.barbican.org.uk/take-part/young-creatives

Header Image Credit: Young Barbican


Sienna James

Sienna James Voice Team

Formerly Assistant Editor, Sienna now studies History of Art at the University of Cambridge and loves to write about the intersection of politics, history and visual art. Sienna is author of the Creative Education and Instaviews series.

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