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Isle of Wight Changemakers

The Young Cultural Changemakers programme is a cultural development initiative for and by children and young people aged 25 and under on the Isle of Wight. We are also working with schools in Gosport, increasing connections between young people and their local creative communities. 

This programme focuses on: 

  • Building the aspirations, capacity, training, and potential of the Isle of Wight’s young people through relevant and engaging opportunities to improve creative skills 
  • Empowering young people to find their voice and develop leadership opportunities and abilities 
  • Supporting youth-led regeneration, pride of place and community building 
  • Exploring creative solutions to improve the communities and lives of young people on the Isle of Wight 
  • Facilitating the networking of local organisers, creative freelancers, youth services, young people, and their schools to support youth led cultural provision 
  • Enhancing the offering of creative skills and career support for young people from the Isle of Wight’s schools 
  • Working with young people on the Isle of Wight to commission creative projects focused on improving mental health 
  • Celebrating the events and activities that are already happening nearby 

The Power of Placemaking

The programme, Activating Young Cultural Changemakers, focuses on five key places where we will be exploring how children and young people can be empowered to direct meaningful creative projects in their local areas. We will support and train them to develop new skills, investing in quality art commissions for installations that harness their ideas, placing control in the hands of young people and promoting youth leadership.  


The project is supported using public funding by Arts Council England to deliver on their ‘Let’s Create’ strategy. In the year 2023-24, as well as the Isle of Wight, we will be positioned in four other areas in the South EastArun, Dover, Slough, and The New Forest. This project will run from 2023-2026. 


Find out more about the Young Cultural Changemakers programme here. 


Digital Badges

Young people who participate in the Young Cultural Changemakers Programme will have the opportunity to earn digital badges; online qualifications that can be used on a CV or applications. Find out more about digital badges here. 

This programme will offer the opportunity for young people who have not previously engaged with arts and culture to achieve a Bronze Arts Award.

About the Isle of Wight

The Isle of Wight is renowned for its offer of festivals across the island. However, Arts Council England have recognised the Isle of Wight as an area of low cultural engagement making it one of their 54 Priority Places. The Young Cultural Changemakers Programme will empower children and young people to make a difference in the Isle of Wight through creativity and provide training to set them on a thriving career path. Find out more about how Priority Places were selected here


We aim to listen to the ideas of 500 young people living in the Isle of Wight. 

This work will feed into three significant youth-led placemaking commissions that will be delivered between autumn 2023 and spring 2024. These commissions will build on the work carried out by the Artswork investment programme, Supporting Young Minds, which was delivered on the Isle of Wight by The Island Collection and managed by Independent Arts in 2022/23. The programme helped young people identify challenges within their neighbourhoods and develop creative solutions to address them. 

Our work: Supporting Young Minds

Young Cultural Changemakers on the Isle of Wight will build on the learning from Artswork’s previous youth-led investment programme, Supporting Young Minds, which saw young people devise creative commissions to change the places they live for the better. They co-created the place-changing projects – which included an art trail, a film, and a pop-up music and visual arts hub - with professional artists chosen by the young people themselves at ‘dragons' den’ selection events.   Evaluation by the University of Sussex showed strong links between participation in the programme and improvements in confidence and mental wellbeing, and the projects have successfully met the young people’s aspirations to make a difference to their towns. Supporting Young Minds was delivered on the Isle of Wight by The Island Collection and programme managed by Peta Rainford for Independent Arts. Peta is now Artswork’s Placemaking Creative Producer for the Isle of Wight, so is well-place to build on the learning and partnership working of Supporting Young Minds through the Young Cultural Changemakers programme.

Meet The Producer

“I am passionate about empowering young people to connect with their communities through creativity. I have seen first-hand the power of youth-led projects to make a real difference – not only to places, but also to the young people who participate, boosting confidence, self-esteem and connection to their communities. I am so excited to see what young people can achieve through the Young Cultural Changemakers programme.” -Peta Rainford, Placemaking Creative Producer for the Isle of Wight

Get involved!

We want to get the views of as diverse a range of young people as possible – and particularly want to hear from young people who rarely have their voice heard. If you work with young people – whether in school or another youth setting – and would like them to have this great creative opportunity, please get in touch

If you are a young person who would like to get involved, please get in touch to find out when our next community creative consultation will take place


Artist Call Out: Youth-Led Creative Commissions

Artswork in partnership with St Mary’s Hospital is looking to commission a local professional creative, or creatives, to work in collaboration with young people from the Isle of Wight NHS Trust Youth Forum, to transform a neglected outside space at the children’s ward into an age-appropriate garden for young people aged 11+ who are patients on, or are visiting, the Children’s Ward.

Up to £12,500 is available for this work, to include the artist’s time, materials, construction costs, installation costs, travel, expenses and VAT.  The exact amount available will be determined by the complexity of the project / cost of materials involved etc. The Rotary Club have generously agreed to clear and deck the space prior to the commission starting; providing a ‘blank canvas’ to work with.

Deadline: 10:00 on Monday 27 November 2023

For the full brief and how to apply, see the pdf below:

Call for Artists – St Mary’s Hospital Youth Forum October 2023


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