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 For young people A tonne of feathers "If nobody was unique, the world would be boring" Working with young people in South Bristol, talking about neurodiversity and their personal experiences, has been joyous and rewarding. We explored different aspects of every condition and how young people want to be seen, how they want stereotypes challenges and the narrative re-written. Arts Club is a group in South Bristol that's been meeting up over Zoom throughout the pandemic. Led by youth workers from Creative Youth Network, they've been using creativity to unwind, look after their mental health and express themselves in this difficult time. Meeting up only through Zoom posed its own challenges, but the group was enthusiastic and very engaged from the offset. They knew from the beginning they wanted to explore neurodiversity as a topic of social change. This was a really interesting topic of discussion in the first few sessions as they opened my eyes to their own experiences of it, what they believe it means to be Neurodiverse, and why they felt it was an important topic. We sent every young person a personal sketchbook and every week, we ran drawing and writing activities. We asked the big questions and delved deep in different conditions, stereotypes, feelings and need for change: How do you want to be understood? How do you think others see neurodiversity? What would you like to change? How do you feel about the word "normal"? How would you like to be seen and portrayed? What strengths are overlooked when we talk about neurodiversity? We had fun and talked about the positive parts as well as the negatives - portraying them as animals, giving them an embodiment. We talked a lot about why it's important to show neurodiversity as a celebratory, significant and unique part of human nature. I found these sessions incredibly rewarding and relatively easy to engage with young people, despite the fact we only ever spoke through a screen. We even looked at different collage artists who create large scale faces from multiple images, to get insight and inspiration for the final pieces of the project. From collecting their sketchbooks a few weeks ago I have been able to collate the drawings with my own illustrations to show a visual response to Neurodiversity, which I hope will create a real impact for anyone who sees and knows as little about the topic as I did before I started this project. This work illustrates a unique insight from young people who are actually going through the struggle of what it means to be "different" in school and how it can negatively impact a young person’s development. In order for change to happen we need to listen to those who are at the forefront of the negative experiences. How can we help?