Putting children and young people at the heart of Southampton’s bid for UK City of Culture 2025

Date Created: 13th Oct 2021

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Artswork are delighted by the news that our home city, Southampton, has been longlisted for UK City of Culture 2025. As an Arts partner, Artswork has been working to shape the bid from early in its inception and is excited by the opportunities it offers to put children and young people at the forefront of the city’s development.

Since 2017, we have been contributing to the work of building Southampton’s case. Our efforts have focused on making sure that the city’s children and young people are at the heart of the proposals – working with partners to ensure that Southampton’s journey and longer-term visioning delivers for, and is informed by, younger citizens.

We’ve been working to embed sustainable cultural education provision across schools and colleges, helping Southampton’s Youth Offending Service to develop nationally leading practice in creative learning, and shaping new routes into employment within the creative and cultural industries in the city. We’ve also trained young people through the Kickstart scheme to act as Youth Consultants, deployed into arts organisations across the city and into the City of Culture team, to give an insight and focus on what young citizens want, need and can contribute to the journey ahead.

Artswork has invested in and worked to shape Southampton’s Cultural Education Partnership (CEP), leading to hundred’s of children and young people giving their views on topics like:

  • What makes them feel proud about the city?
  • What they’d like to see change?
  • What success looks like for them?
  • What activities help them when they feel stressed, bored or want to relax?

This rich testimony is just one element of five years’ of research outputs about the lives of children in Southampton, shared with the Bid team to inform their work. We’ve helped others to embed youth voice in their contributions, for example through training on how to embed the voice of children and young people in arts commissions.

Speaking to Alun Newman on BBC Radio Solent’s Breakfast Show, Artswork CEO Louise Govier said:

‘When we win it – not if, when – this is going to be great for all of us. City of Culture will enable all people of all ages but particularly children and young people to make their voices heard and really lead. The bid has got a lot of involvement from children and young people and is all the stronger for it.’

The full application deadline is Wednesday 26 January 2022, when a short-list of just 4 locations will be announced, with judges visiting those locations in March 2022 and the winner announced in May 2022.

Find out more about Southampton’s bid for City of Culture 2025 at https://southampton2025.co.uk/

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Cultural Education Partnership kickstart Southampton

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