Cultural Citizens London Pilot Programme 2016/17

Cultural Citizens London Pilot Programme 2016/17


Dozens of students from East London will be taking part in a Culture Gameshow this evening a government initiative aimed at increasing
young people’s access to Arts and Culture. The Cultural Citizens project is all about
connecting young people that don’t normally encounter the arts
with some really high-quality, inspiring arts opportunities that are being put on
especially for them. Each school has had an artist that’s worked with
pupils after school to explore arts and culture through workshops, and looking at artists,
and then looking at places they could go and visit on trips… and then they’ve
chosen these trips, each school’s had four that they’ve taken part in across the
20 weeks of the project. Dagenham is very close to the center of London,
it’s a few tube stops down the road and yet I think our children don’t
take up the opportunity so I think there is a limit there, and so what
this will do is open their eyes to what is out there and actually what they can
do, what they can join in, what they can feel good about – it’s fantastic! The cultural fabric of London is incredible and it’s like nowhere else in the world, so for me
it was about opening this magical door for young people in Barking and Dagenham
to be able to go and claim what’s rightfully theirs! A lot of our students don’t travel
further than Barking, so we’re at Dagenham East that’s about four stops – a lot of them haven’t been beyond zone…4?
I think it’s Zone 3 So for a lot of them the experience of changing trains, actually knowing how to get
somewhere is actually quite a big deal. I think exposure to creative opportunity
can give self-confidence, can help young people to explore elements of their own
creativity, and can set such high standards that it
really will help right across the board in terms of, you know, what they choose
to do in later life. We went on a Street Arts tour around London, Shoreditch and they loved that, they loved learning lots of facts about history, and sort
of like, looking out for different things that they had you know walked past and
never noticed before, they were looking at sculptures and different tags then they got to do some street art themselves, and they loved that as well as obviously they were able to be really creative. Yeah the responses been excellent! Street Art helps people that don’t really know, and they can easily get their point across, and they can tell a different story. Cos you think of art like just in a gallery,
yeah and but never like round on walls! I think the Royal Opera House has been my favorite trip because you get to see what… it’s got drama as well and it’s got dancing… and we got to see a
ballet dancing, and yeah that really taught me that art is something different as well. This project has done really well at breaking that
barrier between kids and adults and ‘this part of culture isn’t necessarily
for you’, that it actually is, in that sense – and I feel like this project’s done well
alongside the artists in breaking down that barrier between young people
from Barking and Dagenham and how they interact with major cultural
institutions and art. It inspired me because I got to see how they got to practice and how much effort they got into doing it. I like it because we learnt different types of art and there was different things to learn –
I just thought it was just art like drawing, but now I know there’s acting and there’s music, and they’re all different types of art you can do. I think the students have
really really loved it, they’ve loved going on the trips, they’ve loved having
new experiences that they would otherwise never have had if it wasn’t
for the project. They’re just super excited and like more energetic than they were to start with, it was maybe at first a little like – what are
you doing here, why are we here, and then I think they’ve started to really get
into it and come to the club, and know what’s gonna happen and be excited that
it’s gonna be something different from what they get to do at school. Getting our Arts Award is really really
nice it feels good because for something that you did for fun you actually get a
reward and that’s actually really, really nice – and it’s going to help us for our future. When I was watching them complete
their folders for Arts Award they were really proud of what they’d achieved, they were really excited when they were sticking
photos in of themselves for example doing the Graffiti Art, and they were kind
of reflecting and having conversations about what they’ve done – I think that the actual act of compiling the stuff for Arts Award is really really valuable
to them as well as the experience of going on the trips actually. It makes you think, like, there’s opportunities out there, and like, there’s a wide range of jobs that involve the Arts. Before, I had an interest in arts – but after being part of the Cultural Citizens it sort of made
me think more towards a future of arts instead of just as a hobby. I didn’t really know that there was a lot of programmes going on around Barking and Dagenham, so going to more areas around has made me realise that there’s more
things going around here. I think the light bulbs have been switched on,
in that the arts offer them a lot of – I don’t know – space to express themselves which they may lose once they go into option subjects and they have to do a
core curriculum. What I was really interested about this programme, compared with others is that it aimed to take a group of young people and really
listen to what they thought about cultural and creative
experience and where they wanted to go and what they wanted to learn, and I think that’s
a really important learning point for us – it gives us something to build on, you
know there will be things from this programme that I’m sure we will take
forward and build on in Barking and Dagenham and that we can use with all schools but particularly capturing that student voice,
that to me is very special. This whole culture citizens made us as a school think that we could do anything. It made me feel like you just should do art more often, don’t just stay inside and watch TV, actually do something! What I really want to see is this project now embed and increase, and
impact on the opportunities of other children, so I think this is the start.

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