Portsmouth Creative Skills enters fourth year, culminating in a film premiere in Guildhall Square

Date Created: 21st Sep 2021

The image shows the Portsmouth Big Screen from a distance and off to the right. The 'Night Mayor' film is being shown on it.

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The ‘Night Mayor’ of Portsmouth Guildhall

This summer, a number of young people took part in our Portsmouth Creative Skills (PCS) programme – a 6-week pre-employability programme that culminated in the premier of a short film in Portsmouth’s Guildhall Square on 20th August.

Delivered over a 6-week period between July and August 2021, activities took place at Portsmouth Guildhall, as well as cultural venues across Portsmouth, Southampton and the Isle of Wight. This was the first time the programme had taken place since 2019, as the disruptions caused last year by the pandemic meant it was not possible to deliver in 2020.

This is where Portsmouth Creative Skills comes in – an arts-based pre-employability and personal development programme for care-experienced and other vulnerable or hard-to-reach children and young people living in the Portsmouth area. Managed and delivered by Artswork, the programme is currently funded by Portsmouth City Council and the Portsmouth Cultural Education Partnership ‘Better Lives Through Culture’ fund. During this year’s programme…

  • 7 young people aged 17-22 years completed the programme.
  • 20 creative practitioners and industry professionals (62% Portsmouth based) provided workshops, presentations, and met with the group
  • 14 creative and cultural venues (72% in Portsmouth) were visited over the course of the programme
  • 11 Portsmouth Cultural Educational Partners (CEP) Members engaged with the programme

At the end of the programme, the participants worked on a 5-day film making course with artist Ricky Tart. The young people devised the storyboard, acted in the piece, filmed, lit and created animations. An original piece of music by one of the group was used for the end credits. The six-and-a-half-minute short film was very cleverly done and showed how far those enrolled had grown in confidence. Entitled ‘Night Mayor’, the film tells the fictional story of a ghost that had been spotted in the Portsmouth Guildhall and was causing a stir. If you would like to see what the filmmakers uncovered, their full video is below.

“A lot of people who are dis-privileged, especially in the care system, have a massive issue with not being heard, not being listened to, not being able to express themselves, and like sort of, dismissed. Art is a good way to feel heard, I guess, for a lot of people. What I like about this course, is that it was prepared to customise a bit for the individual group, I think that’s nice, you listened to us” – Young Person, 2021 Programme.

Another key aspect for those who participated is the fact that they received a wage while on the course too. All young people were paid a training allowance of £4.20 per hour, which they received in addition to their benefits. Throughout the course, participants completed a portfolio documenting their experiences, inspirations, and reflections on the programme, as part of Bronze Arts Award Qualification (QCF Level). The fact that they can now clearly evidence their work will stand them in excellent stead when considering their next steps, as they are now more employable and/or ready to progress into further education. There have been a number of positive outcomes from the programme, including:

  • 100% of participants submitted a portfolio of work for Bronze Arts Award
  • 57% of the group have a confirmed college place to start after the programme.
  • 100% of those enrolled reported in increase in their knowledge of the Portsmouth cultural scene and increased confidence to participate within it. 

We are all immensely proud of what the young people on this year’s programme, and every group before them have managed to achieve in such a short space of time. Seeing their confidence grow and the realisation that they have more skills and abilities than they previously thought is heart-warming. More information about the Portsmouth Creative Skills programme can be found here. Or, to find out about our broader range of work with children and young people, please click here.

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Employability learning Portsmouth Creative Skills young people

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