Cultural Learning Alliance

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Michael Boyd
Artistic Director, Royal Shakespeare Company


A Creative Future: Birmingham City Council's strategy for children and young people

Since 2006, strategic partners in Birmingham have been working together to develop 'A Creative Future', a strategy for children and young people (0-19 years) and the arts.

The aim of the strategy is to increase access to the arts, raise the quality of arts activities and recognise the achievements of children and young people in the arts.

The strategy has been extremely effective in changing approaches to arts provision for young people in the city, and has influenced the programmes of Birmingham City Council-funded arts companies as well as our own projects. A Creative Future II moves the work undertaken in the arts forward to develop a cultural entitlement model. It aims to identify cultural hot spots in the city and to commission activities and programmes for the cold spots, as well as to fill gaps in provision in the four Creative Future roles.

A Creative Future II

A Creative Future identified four roles of children and young people in their engagement with culture – as creators, participants, audiences and leaders. A Creative Future II extends the model across the wider cultural sector. Birmingham's young people should have the opportunity to experience the aspects of the four key roles, to progress from first experiences to independent and entrepreneurial activity, and to have their achievements recognised.

For a Creative Future II

  • Culture means arts, museums, libraries, archives and heritage
  • Children and young people in this context are aged between 0-19
  • Cultural practitioners include everyone producing, making or managing in the cultural sector, such as artists, curators, librarians, archivists or directors
  • Artists include people creating original work in all the art forms, such as visual art, sculpture, craft, music, literature, film, dance and drama and using a range of media including digital technology
  • The strategy covers cultural activities that children and young people can take part in both in and outside school, as individuals, with their families and carers, and in groups
  • The Birmingham model for cultural entitlement illustrates how the Creative Future roles overlap (see Venn diagram). The vertical axis shows how we would like to see young people progress through from first-time experiences to independent engagement, and on the horizontal axis how they develop skills and understanding from basic to advanced

Further information about how you can engage in Creative Future programmes in Birmingham can be obtained from the Arts and Young People Team, Birmingham City Council, at or telephone 0121 303 2434 or email


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