What goes on at Tiger Monkey?

We catch up with Director of Tiger Monkey, Emma Ghafur, about what goes on behind the scenes at this arts organisation. 

What goes on at Tiger Monkey?

Hi Emma! Could you introduce yourself to the reader?

My name is Emma Ghafur and I am the Director of Tiger Monkey UK Limited. I set up Tiger Monkey 15 years ago specialising in work outside of mainstream education.

What happens at Tiger Monkey?

We are an arts organisation based in North London and specialise in work with young people, children and local communities. We use mixed media arts to inspire creativity, positive change and devise programmes of art for all.

What do you offer young people?

At the moment we have an Arts Council Funded Tiger Monkey Studios Programme that is working with young emerging artists across Enfield and includes the Gold Arts Award. Tiger Monkey ROAR has a digital range of videos in film-making, fashion photography and art that young people can watch and create work at home from.

What activities are most popular for young people and why? 

Often making films, animation as well as the Summer programme where we set up a studio and offer a range of arts to try out.

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

During the summer we ran a UNITAS funded Summer Arts College in partnership with Thurrock Youth Service with eight young people who are now about to embark on their Silver Arts Award. This was using a combination of virtual and live workshops and even on a reduced programme resulted in 16 Awards: 8 Bronze and 8 Explore awards over 3 weeks. The young people who attended have been referred to by local support services and the positive impact included promoting teamwork, reducing anxiety and stress-related issues, encouraging back to school attendance, calm anger management, making new friends and working together.  

Have you seen any change in the industry over the last few years? 

Before Covid-19, I would say that things were pretty positive and there was a lot on offer for young people and the arts. I was about to have the best summer and year ever and then Covid hit and everything just stopped....

Now due to Covid-19 a lot of smaller arts organisations are affected as well as theatres and a lot of freelance artists. Luckily, Tiger Monkey got an emergency Arts Council grant to keep us going and develop some on-line content and update our website.  

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

At the moment it is the Tiger Monkey Studios Programme offering Gold Arts Award but if individual young people get in touch via the website then we will always try and help and support them especially as we also work with the local Youth Service. We also help signpost young people to other opportunities. For young children, we have been running Discover programmes as part of our summer and primary school work.  

Are you an Arts Award Supporter? 

I was and then it lapsed and now I need to reboot that again, so watch this space.

Do you publish any online resources that young people doing Arts Award could use?

Yes! Via our YouTube channel Tiger Monkey ROAR TV. Check out one of their latest videos here: 

We are also looking to create and publish links to other resources too.  Our website has some good examples of work too: https://www.tigermonkey-uk.com/ Young people can also have a go at some of the creative challenges and projects they can contribute towards most of the creative parts of an Arts Award.

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

As above, the website best place and there is a blog attached.  Like our Facebook page too:

Find out more about what goes on behind the scenes at some of the best arts organisations in our What Goes On At series. 


Nici West

Nici West Voice Team

Nici is the an editor for Voice. She loves all things books, theatre, music, art, visiting other countries, anything creative, and sometimes attempts to make YouTube videos. Alongside Voice she writes and edits through her own pursuits.You can occasionally find her running marathons dressed as a black dog.

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