Culture Works East: engaging young people in the arts

Culture Works East: engaging young people in the arts

By Elli Chapman, Culture Works East


Gain inspiration for working with festivals to engage young people in the arts.

Introducing Culture Works East

Culture Works East (CWE) is a youth arts organisation that works with 8 to 25-year-olds from Norfolk, Suffolk and beyond.

We have a particular track record of working with young people in challenging circumstances and audiences considered to be hard-to-reach.

Our audiences are both rural and urban, with both having many pockets of socio-disadvantage and isolation. One of CWE's key aims is that its activities encourage involvement from all sections of the community, ensuring everyone has equal opportunity.

We have a number of talent development initiatives where a key feature is that they are open to all young people with an interest or emerging talent. Examples include BFI Film Academy, Latitude Young Practitioners and CWE Young Arts Leaders programme.

The project

We applied to Grants for the Arts for the development of a new participation and engagement programme at large-scale arts festival Latitude. The programme would support children and young people and their families to develop and deepen their relationship with the arts.

The programme was designed to enable platforming opportunities for emerging young talent alongside professional artists and local organisations.

We aimed to help partners, including a number of Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisations, to develop non-traditional ways of working. Involving them in the festival would increase their reach and the breadth and depth of engagement with different audiences. The involvement of local organisations would also help audiences identify opportunities to continue engaging with the arts beyond Latitude.


Culture Works East has worked with Festival Republic, who deliver Latitude, since 2010. We had developed a model of workshops and masterclasses in the Inbetweeners' Area that was really successful and they asked us to develop a programme for children and families.

We decided to develop a participation and engagement programme for 7 - 17-year-olds and their families to deepen engagement with the arts and represent the regional landscape.

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Resource type: Case studies | Published: 2016