Young people say ‘no decisions about us without us’

Young people say ‘no decisions about us without us’

By ART31


Gain top tips from young people about how to engage young people in the arts.

Introducing ART31

ART31 is an ambitious project to revolutionise Kent as a creative county. It is led by 13 - 25 year olds and supported by Kent County Council, Arts Council England, Artswork, Gulbenkian* and more than 20 cultural organisations across Kent.

Borne out of a need for an improved cultural offer for children and young people, ART31 aims to give young people a voice and empowers them to lead the process. It takes its name from Article 31** of the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child.

The ART31 ethos challenges the cultural sector in Kent to change the way it works to ensure that young people are not considered ‘audiences of the future’. Instead they should be respected as artists, producers, programmers, technicians, activists and audiences now.

ART31 encourages joined-up thinking between arts organisations in the county. For the organisations, this means new networks, opportunities for collaboration and more diverse audiences. For the young people, it means a high quality offer of events, mentors, insight into creative industries and valuable career experience both on and off stage.

Creating ART31

The founding ART31 group was established at Gulbenkian and meets every Thursday. This acted as a catalyst for further groups to develop accross Kent, linked to other arts organisations.

An ART31 Youth Board has been launched to steer, manage and develop ART31 across the county. TECH31 was also established by young people wanting to develop technical and production skills, with opportunities to work on live events.

With support and mentoring from organisations on the Kent Youth Arts Network, a range of artists are being selected and commissioned by young people. Young people’s commissioning and programming choices were limited by their knowledge and experience so a ‘go-and-see’ programme has been offered. This gives young people access to national and international work to develop their skills and show them what is possible.

All ART31 opportunities are open to all and shared via social media. A digital platform is under development to capture the experience for anyone who cannot attend. A new website is currently being created to provide pathways to information for young people. It will also give access to a range of artists as they create work, engaging young people in the creative process itself.

In September the group worked on developing their identity and adopted the hashtag #ChangeKent, working with a graffiti artist to create placards bearing their slogan ‘No decisions about us without us’.

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Resource type: Case studies | Published: 2016