The sky’s the limit as Young Creatives’ dreams take off in Milton Keynes
Date Created: 26th Aug 2021
Young Creatives is an ambitious youth-led skills development programme designed to empower the young people of Milton Keynes, led by Milton Keynes College. Since it began in 2019, Artswork has provided investment to the project as part of our South East Bridge Partnership Investment Scheme, alongside investment from Milton Keynes Council and support from MAKE, the Cultural Education Partnership (CEP) for Milton Keynes. The CEP was led by the Arts and Heritage Alliance for Milton Keynes (AHA-MK) in delivering this programme. To date, the programme directly engaged more than 150 young people, over two cohorts – and reached many more through events and other activities.
Young Creatives has been designed to empower young people and support their well-being by building resilience, confidence and communication skills, integral to future employment, through creative and cultural programmes. The programme aims to shine a spotlight on the power of these in developing employability skills, and through them contribute to Milton Keynes’ cultural growth. The city is constantly working to become known as a wonderful, artistic and promising city of culture.
This programme is supporting the MK Council’s Creative and Cultural Strategy (2018-2027) aim that:
“Milton Keynes will be an internationally recognised creative and cultural city, known for the excellence and diversity of its borough-wide, year round cultural offer.”
So far, Milton Keynes College has delivered two Young Creatives cohorts, with fantastic results. The first group, recruited from across college departments including social care, media, drama, art and music, focused on environmentalism and sustainability. The students commissioned eight workshops with artists, and worked with pupils from Willen Primary School to produce a mural around their theme. As well as achieving their Bronze Arts Award, participants also ran a street art activity at ‘Art at the Lake’ and made a short film documenting their learning journey. ‘Art at the Lake’ was part of the annual ‘Art in the Park’ festival, run by the Milton Keynes Islamic Arts, Heritage and Culture (MKIAC) group.
“It’s my first time at the MK Gallery and I’ve really enjoyed everything we got to do here”. Student – Cohort One
“If you are offered the opportunity to join Young Creatives. Take it! Some fantastic experiences await you”. Jo Bainton – Cohort One of Young Creatives
The second Cohort was made up of two groups, A and B, and had a total of 39 participants. Group A was made up of Years 12 and 13 students from Radcliffe School. They explored in depth the value of project-based work and discovered how valuable the skills of group work and exceptional deliverance are to employers. Group B consisted of 15-20 students from Milton Keynes college who were at risk of becoming NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training) upon finishing their courses. There was a concentrated focus on diversity – giving students who were home-schooled, belonged to the English for Speakers of other Languages group, and general NEET backgrounds the chance to fully participate and learn. The course featured a spotlight on developing English and Maths skills.
‘I’ve never used VR before – it was really interesting to see how you can use different mediums to create different art.” Student – Cohort 2
A full summary of the first two years of Young Creatives can be found here (PDF): Young Creatives Interim Report
The Coronavirus pandemic has thrown up numerous challenges to the scheme, and put a halt to a number of plans. A third Cohort of Young Creatives, that was originally due to begin by autumn 2020, is now in the process of restarting. This third group will be run by Offset Projects, a Community Interest Company based in Milton Keynes; passionate about the high quality deliverance of projects for and with young people.
Throughout the scheme so far:
34 participants achieved a Bronze Arts Award
All participants from Cohort One progressed into further/higher education
Over 1250 people visited MK College’s virtual summer programme
More than 20 local artists and art organisations were involved with Young Creatives 2019
Before enrolling on the programme, 41% of participants had never visited the MK Gallery
More information about the Young Creatives, and the work already produced, can be found on their website here as well as their blog. And, if you would like to join the programme to explore and enhance your creativity, the deadline for registering is Monday 31st August, so don’t delay in doing so here.
Artswork is the Arts Council England Bridge Organisation for the South East, working to ensure that every child and young person has the opportunity to experience the richness of the arts. Through our Partnership Investment programmes we are able to focus on long-term solutions, rather than one-off interventions, changing the lives of children and young people through lasting and meaningful engagement. More information can be found here.