What goes on at...Bath Festivals

We're teaming up with Bath Festivals for March's literature month. Bath Literature Festival - running until March 8th - is just a part of this. We caught up with learning and participation leader, Hazel Plowman to find out more...

What goes on at...Bath Festivals

What happens at Bath Festivals?

Bath Festivals produces 3 festivals: The Bath International Music Festival, the Independent Bath Literature Festival and the Telegraph Bath Children's Literature Festival. The Learning & Participation Team run events at these festivals as well as producing year round music and literature projects for children and young people.

What do you offer to young people?

We have a Young Writers Lab which runs once a month, where young people can get together to develop creative ideas, gain exclusive access to Bath Festivals events and create work for publication and sharing at the Children's Literature Festival and the Literature Festival.

We also run projects which use music or literature as a tool to engage young people in challenging circumstances, growing their self-esteem and confidence, and developing their creative voices. At the moment we are running Home Grown, a spoken word project, where young people at local schools are working with poet Rebecca Tantony and hip hop artist Hibbz to create their own performance poetry, which they will be performing at the Literature Festival. Our Building Bridges project is a music project running at 2 youth hubs in Bath and North East Somerset. Young people on these projects are working on developing their singing and guitar skills, exploring collaborations between spoken word and music, and investigating music production. These young people will also be performing at the festival.

We have previously run a Young Curators project, where young people have taken a major role in creating events for the Children's Literature Festival and have been resident at the festival during the week. We are currently developing ideas for working with other cultural centres in Bath on a young curators project…watch this space!

How is Bath Festivals involved with Arts Award?

We offer Discover, Explore, Bronze and Silver Arts Awards to young people involved in our projects. We are currently an Arts Award Good Practice Centre and promote the qualification to local schools and groups.

We are an Arts Award supporter and offer free and discounted tickets to young people working towards their Arts Awards to events at our 3 festivals. We also use our links with other local arts providers and creative businesses e.gThe Holburne Museum of Art, the egg theatre, Suited and Booted to provide opportunities for young people.

What relationship do you think young people currently have with literature?

We have found through the projects that we have run, that young people tend to see it as something they do at school not something they do for pleasure. Then literature becomes associated with work and young people may miss out on the chance to go on their own literary journeys. We have also really become aware of how much pressure there is on young people to succeed at school and this can mean they are not able to take advantage of other opportunities to explore the arts. However, on the other side of the coin, technological advances mean the world is a more open, accessible place and young people have the chance to read and engage with writing and writers from all over the world. They have more direct relationships with authors, and other young people who share their interests.

What is the biggest challenge for Bath Festivals?

I think for any arts organisation in the current economic climate the main challenge is funding, and making our festivals sustainable.

What is the best thing about working for Bath Festivals?

I love creating opportunities for children and young people to enjoy and explore the arts and help them to discover and develop their own creative voices. I love seeing the ideas, words and music that young people create and that inspires me everyday.

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

We'd love young people to come to The Chancery of Lost and Found during the festival and add their own ideas and stories to our installation. You can find out more here: http://bathfestivals.org.uk/literature/the-chancery/

We plan to continue our Young Writers Labs so any young person who wants to join this, can email us on [email protected] and we'll send them more info.

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Emily Steer

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