Charley Genever (poet and community producer) and Di Goldsmith (UROCK Youth Theatre) have been having creative conversations with young people from across Peterborough to begin to understand and capture young people’s perceptions of the city and how young people feel about creativity, arts and culture in Peterborough.
Charley and Di spent a short time with over 100 young people, aged 8 – 21, from Jack Hunt School, Jumped Up Theatre’s Fierce Talent Sounding Board, Little Miracles, Newark Hill Academy, PARCA Youth Club, Queen Katherine Academy, Stanground Academy, and Thorpe Primary School. This is just a brief insight and we’re keen to hear from and work alongside many more young people as we develop our future vision for culture in the city.
So far we’ve learned:
- The way we invite young people to join us in a creative conversation, in a creative activity or to a venue is important – feeling special matters
- The language we use impacts how young people feel – creativity is about freedom, arts is limited by young people’s school experiences
- This generation is growing up with tech at its fingertips and social platforms and digital technology are central to their view of creativity, arts and culture
- Young people value relationships with people they trust who can honestly relate, steer, support and encourage them; people who are connected to multiple opportunities; people who come from the same place as them; people who ask questions they care about the answers to, not just because they are paid to do so.
- Young people value places that are colourful, fun and fresh. A creative space needs to be alive with art – bright colours, LED lights, decoration everywhere, a balance of homely and out of this world – with lots of variety and space to experiment and be independent. Their local neighbourhood has been a crucial part of where they spend their time, especially in the pandemic, and that is where they feel comfortable.
- Young people are not in general thinking about their future, or a life plan, what will look good on their CV, or how they can make change in their community. They are interested in what’s happening in their world right now.
Charley’s conversations about creativity (with pic)
We all watched Jumped Up Theatre’s Fierce Talent film, discussed weird and deep questions, and graffiti-ed a picture of the cathedral. We shared big ideas that we turned into poems and designed our own creative space. We found we shared interests in gaming and kpop – a great way to start a chat without the dynamic of teacher/student. We talked about creativity in its broadest sense – baking, crafts, video games and about the cultural markers in the city. It was clear that young people view creativity as part of their identity.
“Creativity makes me feel uplifted because it takes my emotions and lifts them off my shoulders”
Di’s conversations about arts and culture:
Together, we made an active space for creative dialogue where everyone felt they could have their own personal opinions, make mistakes, practice their thinking and begin to shape their own plans. Adults joined in. It was clear that the educational curriculum prescribes art forms into boxes, which in turn limits choices. We asked big questions, shared our opinions about what’s important by physically positioning ourselves around a central chair and we talked about arts heaven and hell.
“My arts hell is waiting (meaning wanting to get on and do; Not being told what to do and having to listen to lots of instructions; Waiting to get his hands on things to work with: Waiting for his turn.”
Our next steps:
We have just started to scratch the surface and are hoping to continue our conversations with young people in the demonstrator programme. If you’d like to get involved, please let us know at email@example.com