Creative YOUCreativity 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. PLEDGE 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 How do educational and religious institutions impact LGBT+ young people? Emerging young artist Giles is blending art with activism on our Creative Futures programme. Bradley sits down with Giles to see where their ideas come from and how they’re putting them in action. Can you tell me what your project is about? Yeah, sure. My project is a sort of exploration of queer people’s experiences within institutions. By that I mean the environments, the traditions, the spaces that we grow up in so like schools, religious places, the family, these sorts of things, and it’s with a view to provide a space for the sharing of those experiences, exploring the nuances in that across the LGBTQ community and also reconciling with it [the experiences] because a lot of those experiences for people are difficult or traumatic sometimes. It’s also about trying to think about what kind of spaces we - the queer community - actually really need and want, and that’s all through this lens of creative and arts practice. Is there a particular reason why you wanted to pursue this idea and stimulate these conversations? Part of it is my own experience of growing up in a conservative, Christian sort of environment and wanting to kind of process that and share with others who might have had similar experiences. And then, just feeling like it’s not something we really talk about very much. In queer spaces, I think it’s very focused on who we’ve kind of redefined ourselves as which I think is amazing and important but I think that it is equally important to have these conversations because people are still going through it and there’s still a lot of things that need to be changed. So yeah, there’s that, and then I think it links to COVID. The spaces that were there for queer people before aren’t accessible now and it just feels even more crucial to have these kind of spaces and discussions. Are you able to talk a little about how COVID has affected your process? Has it delayed parts of your project? Yeah, a bit. It’s forced me to think in an out-of-the-box way. I initially wanted the creative aspect to be focused on kind of dance and movement-based arts and physical theatre but it’s just impossible to have people in a room together right now. So that’s kind of why I took a step back and tried to focus on just creating discussions from which different people can bring their own artistic interest to and my aim was to, out of these discussions, have a kind of exhibition of responses that the participants have made. Moving forward, how would you like your project and exhibition to look like? What is the end project you now kind of have in mind? The way I’m seeing this is kind of like a pilot art project in that I have this six-month period with Creative Youth Network, but I don’t want to stop having these discussions after I leave, and I think after COVID - fingers crossed - it will be more possible to really expand on this. So, in terms of what I want the outcome to be, I have my own work that I’m bringing to it which is a physical theatre performance that I’m working on, but I’ve left it as quite an open thing because I know for participants, in terms of producing creative responses to stuff, everyone’s at different capacities and stages right now in the pandemic. So, is the intention of the project for it to be somewhat healing for people involved? Is that what you’re striving towards? I think it’s part of it, it’s definitely a big part of it for me. I think, there’s kind of a fine line that I’ve struggled with at points in terms of it’s not a therapeutic space as such. I’m not a trained wellbeing practitioner or art therapist or anything. My intention is to create or facilitate that through creating supportive spaces which allow for healing and also allow for envisioning of different ideas and dreams. How are you feeling about the project so far? It feels incredibly positive so far, I’m so happy with what's been happening, and I’ve had really good feedback from people saying that this has been quite meaningful for them or it’s the first time that they’ve felt able to discuss certain things. That’s been quite powerful and it has as informed the work that I’m doing alongside that as well. What are your thoughts on queer spaces (pre-COVID)? Do you feel there is a demand for more spaces in the South West? Yeah I do. I also think that as a queer community maybe we need to think more, not necessarily critically, but I think I’d like to see more queer spaces that are centred around community because I think the queer spaces that do exist, like in Bristol, they’re generally venues and event spaces. It’s amazing to have a space where you can go and feel safe and have fun but it’s also highly commercialised which doesn’t make it accessible necessarily. I think there aren’t those spaces which are sort of talking about what does wellbeing for our community look like and who are the most marginalised of our community and what does collective liberation look like. I think that’s what I’m trying to move towards. So once the exhibition has taken place, what is the next step in terms of continuing those conversations? Are you looking to create a literal safe space for the queer community? It’s kind of a little dream for me. I’ve always felt very passionately about community spaces and I think it would mean a lot to me to be able to create a literal one. I do actually know that, in Bristol, there are some very provisional ideas and plans around this and trying to secure something which I’m kind of on the fringe of so that’s promising but I can’t really say. Part of the advantage of COVID has been that with everything being online, it is more accessible in a certain way and you’re not geographically constrained. It has been lovely to get input from people who live in London or Cardiff or maybe a little bit further out because they don’t have those things in their local area. I think the next step for me would be to try and have something that does take place more in physical reality in terms of actually being able to be in physical spaces with people and have these discussions. How has education and religious institutions shaped you as a queer person? Would you like to share your experience and take part in a collective exhibition with Creative Youth Network.? To register your interest, please email [email protected]. How can we help?