Cultural Learning Alliance

When fathers and mothers talk, play, read, paint, investigate numbers and shapes or sing with their children it has a positive effect on children’s later development

Department for Education and Department for Health
Supporting Families in the Foundation Stage, 2011

Practice

Turning competitors into colleagues: working for impact and audience sharing

Creative Quarter is an annual one-day event, targeting 13-19 year-olds interested in gaining an insight into the creative industries and related career opportunities.

Over 3,000 young people take part in workshops, talks and events led by top artists, designers and scientists.  The event has taken place every year in November since 2006.

The event is organised through the Exhibition Road Cultural Group (ERCG), a consortium of 18 cultural, educational organisations and local councils in the South Kensington area who work together on specific projects. Each project is run by a lead organisation, often with a steering group. Creative Quarter is led by the V&A, and the event was proposed to give young people a broader view of the creative industries than they would get from school or college.

"I really enjoyed being told about all the jobs you don’t hear about."

Many of the organisations in ERCG ran events and programmes to develop creativity, talents and skills in young people, but didn’t celebrate collectively what was on offer. There wasn’t a history of working together to promote what was available to young people. In fact, some saw other organisations as competitors.

Through the ERCG an invitation was sent to all organisations to work together on a single day to highlight the ongoing programmes they run for young people, or to open their doors for the young people to look at real studios and laboratories, meet practitioners and find out from older students what various courses are like. As one young person reflected, the experience "was a great opportunity to listen and take part, as well as developing my knowledge surrounding the world of work".  Another aim was to share audiences, as the mix of locations meant groups could explore new venues offering different subjects all in one day.

Teachers have seen the Creative Quarter widen young people's knowledge and inspire them to go into careers in the cultural sector.

"I have many children who have gone on to university almost on the back of the trips we have done to London and the professionals we have met at Creative Quarter."

All participating organisations benefited from working on such a big collective event and shared high-profile press and marketing, an impressive collective programme of events and sponsorship.

Creative Quarter has developed from 2006, when four organisations took part attracting just over 1,000 young people, to 2009, when nine organisations and over 3,000 young people were involved.

For more information, email David Judd, Creative Projects Manager, V&A.

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Digital VJing at Creative Quarter at the V&A ©V&A Images
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