Cultural Learning Alliance

My daughter was one of the performers. She is having a very difficult time at school at the moment; yesterday I saw her self-esteem grow as she walked through the stage door for the company warm-up. I wept

Parent of participant in one of The Sage Gateshead’s youth programmes

Practice

Being Here

'Being Here' was part of the Arts | Generate programme - a strategic initiative developed across the region by Arts Council England, East to support programmes that are regionally distinctive, have high impact and provide a focal point for regeneration strategies that aim to make a lasting difference.

The premise that formed the backbone of the Momentum Arts regeneration project, Being Here, was to give young people a voice and a means to express themselves. Based in Milton, Shoebury and Kursaal wards, Being Here enabled those who may have experienced some level of social exclusion to address local issues and develop life and community leadership skills. Being Here was primarily focused on out-of-school and community activities, but it also linked with and supported education programmes.

Over the 4 years from 2002 to 2006, more than 1,000 young people took part in a wide range of arts activities and workshops across Southend, designed to engage some specific target groups including:

  • looked-after young people;
  • young people at risk;
  • young parents and carers;
  • excluded young people.

The workshops culminated in a series of celebratory events, taking place at the Cliffs Pavilion, Palace Theatre and South East Essex College, and which were open to the public. The project engaged the young people in a very wide range of activities, including dance and choreography, photography, video, DJ-ing, drama and improvisation, music, recording and filming and much more.

The participants, ranging in age from 11 to 25, determined the content of the workshops according to their interests and concerns. A number of local partners and groups were engaged in the activities to ensure that the project reflected community input.

Other important aspects of the project included supporting the social and econonic regeneration and future development of the Borough, and contributing to the delivery of the Council's Cultural Strategy – "Making Culture Count".

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