Arts Council of Wales | Youth Arts Festival Feasibility

Youth Arts Festival Feasibility

Last year, the Arts Council commissioned Ceridwen to undertake a feasibility study to look at the possibility of establishing a new Youth Arts Festival in Wales. The resulting report is co-authored by Ceridwen along with the working group of 13 young people drawn from across Wales. We’re pleased to be able to publish and share the latest report and its findings.

Youth Arts Festival Feasibility(2706k)

The story so far

The catalyst for this work was a series of discussions with young people, youth arts practitioners and arts organisations that took place at the Toolquiz conference (hosted by Wales Arts International) in June 2012. What emerged from those initial discussions was a clear call from the young people present for a youth arts festival in Wales that was driven, shaped and owned by young people themselves. In 2013, we commissioned Arad research to test that assumption with a wider cross-section of young people, arts organisations and arts professionals.

Arad’s report investigated the need for further opportunities for young people in Wales to platform and share their creative work. The consultation exercise was substantial, comprising both online surveys and face-to-face focus groups. Arad’s findings revealed a strong demand for a national, bilingual, summer festival. It would be cross-artform and provide a platform for young people from all backgrounds and from all regions of Wales to come together, share ideas, showcase work, take part in workshops and learn from each other in an informal, non-competitive environment. Young people underlined their desire to shape and design the festival (in partnership with practitioners). Arad’s research recommended a further short piece of feasibility work to refine the vision for the festival and explore the best organisational model to turn this into a reality.

This is the subsequent piece of development work that we are publishing today: www.artscouncilofwales.org.uk/c_engagement-and-participation/youth-arts-festival-wales.

The research was led by Ceridwen and represents the ideas and ambitions of the working group of young people who volunteered to be at the heart of this latest piece of research. Representing all regions of Wales and with a broad range of artform interests, abilities and disabilities, including Welsh-speakers and Urdd participants, the group was tasked with clarifying the vision of the festival and investigating the practicalities of a youth arts festival for Wales. As part of the work, the young people undertook desk research and research trips to other youth arts festivals in Aberdeen, Kingston and Norway. They developed costed options of models for realising their proposals and presented their initial findings to the Arts Council in September 2014.

The proposal developed has been enthusiastically championed by young people themselves with the support and mentoring of Ceridwen. We think it’s important and appropriate to share it more widely on our website. The report is comprehensive in its view; ambitious in its objectives and extensive in its opportunity. The very scale of the opportunity does, however, bring with it obvious challenges in terms of launching a new initiative at a time when public finances are being squeezed so relentlessly. Nevertheless, it is a well‑argued and comprehensive proposal that deserves careful consideration. We believe this is to be a potentially important initiative that addresses a clear gap in the infrastructure of national provision for young people. We’ve also been impressed by the energy and commitment the young people themselves have brought to this project. We owe it to them to maintain momentum and explore whether we can assemble a coalition of supporters who’d be willing and able to assist the young people in translating this ambitious proposal into a practical reality. Crucially, whilst both the Arad and Ceridwen reports both identified key networks and partners that would be natural allies for the young people, neither revealed an obvious organisation that had the organisational capacity, resources or legal structure to lead and manage future funding applications on behalf of the young people.

With this in mind, we have asked Ceridwen to do one further, short piece of development work. This will bring together a consortium of interested parties and stakeholders with a view to arriving at the best partnership model to support the young people as they seek to advance their ambitions and fundraise.

If you would like to be part of these discussions and believe you have something to bring to the such a partnership moving forward please contact Ruth Garnault at Ceridwen on 07967 093442 or email ruth@ruthgarnault.co.uk

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