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Empowered Voices: Artswork Youth Board Pioneering Youth Led Change

Date Created: 4th Oct 2023

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As an Artswork apprentice, I have been attending the Artswork/Unloc Youth Board meetings which occur bimonthly, giving the members aged 11-25 a platform to be heard. They are hosted online via Zoom where the group have created a warm, accepting atmosphere and a safe space to share their ideas and opinions.

The Youth Board is working to integrate young people’s perspective into Artswork’s core framework so that the delivery of our youth programmes is relevant and impactful. They engage in dynamic discussions about issues ranging from equality, diversity, and inclusion to youth empowerment.

May’s meeting surrounded the theme of quality in creative projects. The group were encouraged to reflect on creative experiences that they considered to be high quality. How did it make them feel and why was it effective? It was concluded that the members felt that creative projects that are thought provoking and represent less heard voices are high quality. Other factors that the members suggested were that the projects were well constructed and engaging.

The focus of September’s discussion centred the concept of youth empowerment. As young people, what made the members feel disempowered? The board unanimously expressed their concern that typically positions of power are held by people from a similar background, contributing to their unease surrounding politics and climate change. The board agreed that they feel disempowered by being unable to vote as an under 18 and feel undervalued by the minimum wage too.

Yet the Youth Board remained hopeful for change, and shared that they feel empowered when:

  • Being given the liberty to make their own choices
  • Feeling integral to community projects
  • Being paid a living wage
  • Given a platform to share their voice
  • Hearing stories of change and empowerment around the globe

We will see the incredible impact of a youth-led quality framework echoing across Artswork, utilising the Youth Boards insights to continue to reshape the lives of children and young people across the south-east.

This project is ongoing and supported by public funding from Arts Council England.


Written by Artswork Creative Producer Apprentice Lucy Corke.

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