Creative YOU

Creativity is everywhere. Opportunity is not.     

We are part of the solution. The secret is in our name. Every year Creative Youth Network gives thousands of young people a taste and thirst for the arts and culture and the joy, life-skills and opportunity they bring.   

But we want more.   

Creative YOU is our campaign showcasing how we, you and the engaged, emerging and amazing young creatives we support, come together. 

We want to reveal how, together, we are ambition, quality, cultural democracy and social mobility in action. 

Every young person deserves the right to access creativity and development opportunities in the creative and cultural industries.

It all starts with education.

If all young people have access to creative subjects in school, then talented young people from all backgrounds can pursue their passion, develop crucial skills needed in so many industries and improve their wellbeing.

1. Pledge

Add your name and join the many people passionate about bringing creativity back into our schools.   

With all the pledges we’ll be reaching out to headteachers in Bristol and the South West. We hope this will encourage local academies to give more space to creativity in their curriculum.  

Bristol, being the creative city we know and love, can pave the way for other regions to do the same, showcasing the true value of creativity.  



2. Sign up

Join us by signing up to our newsletter where we share best practice of how to support young people. 

sign up 


3. Find out more

Join us by reading and sharing our CreativeYOU report which shows how our work brings opportunities for creative expression and enables young people to explore their talent, regardless of background or circumstance.  

Download our Creative YOU report


Since joining Creative Youth Network I also started working more with young people who are part of the trans community: young people who are questioning, playing with, embracing their gender identity. Here I am a lucky student, hearing their stories and struggles and ambitions.

Throughout our mainstream media, in casual conversations and in recent legal decisions, discriminatory and exclusionary attitudes towards trans and gender non-conforming people is so apparent. For me it is reminiscent of the treatment and attitudes towards LGB people that I saw growing up in the 90s. All because people want to live their lives and be themselves.

So here are a few things that these young people have taught me, about what makes them feel welcome, and what all of us can do to make spaces safer for everyone to be themselves, and change the world a little bit at a time. I hope they’re helpful for all of us in how we work with young people and indeed all humans!

  1. Ask young people’s pronouns and names and use them.

Research in 2018 showed that when young people are allowed to use their chosen names and pronouns in places of work, school and at home their risk of depression and suicide drops significantly. Refer to young people by their chosen name and pronouns with other staff/young people who are present too. Only defer to ‘dead names’ and pronouns if it is not safe – for example, if their parents are not aware of their gender identity.

  1. Be proactive.

Show people that you want your space to be welcoming and inclusive. Think about what posters you have on the walls. Make sure your group agreements cover homophobic or transphobic language and bullying. In our Proud to Be groups we always have an activity at the beginning of session where young people share the names and pronouns they are happy using in that space.

  1. Normalise telling people your pronouns.

If you are cisgender (your gender identity matches the gender you were assigned at birth) then sharing your pronouns makes it really normal for everyone to do this, and for people to ask each other. Put it on your email signature, your social media bios, wear a little pronoun badge telling people.

  1. Don’t dwell on mistakes.

Acknowledge when you or someone else has used the wrong pronoun or name for a young person, correct yourself quickly and move on with what you were talking about. Young people don’t want you to dwell on it or draw attention in an unsafe space. If you correct yourself, you are more likely to get it right next time.

  1. Avoid using gendered terms for people generally.

This liberates everyone from gender stereotypes and norms. For example, you can ask if someone has a partner, rather than a ‘girlfriend’ or ‘boyfriend’. Say firefighters, police officers, not ‘policemen’ or ‘firemen’. You can use gender neutral terms for groups e.g. folks rather than ‘boys and girls’.

  1. Remember we are all humans.

LGBTQ+ young people want to access spaces, play games, talk about TV, cook, hang out, follow their dreams. Someone’s gender or sexual identity is an important part of them, but it’s not the only part of their identity. If we make spaces safe and affirming, that’s where they can thrive.

How do you create inclusive spaces for trans young people? Let us know in the comments below.

How can we help?