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Young Cultural Changemakers in The New Forest

Date Created: 11th Jan 2024

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“The New Forest is a diverse area with many exciting ideas coming from many different groups of young people.” Finn Cresswell, Placemaking Creative Producer (PCP) for the New Forest 

Artswork’s Creative Producer Apprentice Leanne sat down and asked PCP Finn about how their work has been progressing in the New Forest and Rushmoor area.  

“Where’s the project at right now?” 

We have spoken with over 142 young people aged 0-25 at more than 5 creative workshops. 

There are still more consultation events to happen which will inform the commissioned work in the New Forest and assist our work taking shape in the Rushmoor area. The consultations yet to come will also focus on the legacy of the commissions and will help guide our decisions on how to expand on the commissions in the years ahead. ”

“Have there been any overlapping themes from different events?”  

“Throughout the consultations held so far, some common themes emerging from conversations with young people have been:

  • A desire to tell stories, in a variety of mediums  
  • A disconnect from their local areas, feeling as if cultural spaces are not for them 
  • Fostering a sense of belonging and identity in their communities  
  • Increasing the provision of and access to arts and creative skills  
  • Exploring our collective responsibility for the environment and how we can use creative practice to bring that to the forest

There is a desire for a range of artistic and creative skills, however visual art and movement-based practice are the most requested. The upcoming commissions based in the New Forest that stem from these consultations have most, if not all these themes worked into them, and we will be adapting to and supporting the direction and lead from the young people involved.”

“What’s something you’ve really enjoyed working on so far?” 

Every consultation has been inspiring, as even on the smallest scale, where one was only attended by a handful of young people, there were positive and exciting conversations. A chat that started with the statement “I don’t do well in English as I can’t write well” rapidly incorporated the young person’s hobbies, favourite media and discussions on how we tell stories, and ended with “I’m going to show my DnD notes to my English teacher.” It is lovely to be able to see firsthand how positively working and playing creatively impacts the lives of young people.”

Leanne also shared what she’s really enjoyed about working in the New Forest so far: 

“A personal highlight for me that I’ve enjoyed is speaking with the young people and watching their confidence grow when talking to us! Seeing how creative the children and young people are in the workshops, coming up with ideas that I wouldn’t have even thought of, is really inspiring and I can’t wait to see what the creative commissions look like!”

“How are the creative commissions going?” 

The young people leading these commissions have embraced their roles and look forward to working with a diverse array of artists and cultural organisations.  

We will be putting the call out for artists to get involved in all of our New Forest based commissions in the New Year and look forward to celebrating the range of talented artists the area has to offer, as well as demonstrating to the young people in this project, and beyond, how wide-ranging and exciting a creative career can be! ”

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