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. 

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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


Every year schools, businesses, charities and many others celebrate Black History Month. At Creative Youth Network, we want to encourage a culture where everyone is empowered to address inequality at any time. We are working with Kamaljit Poonia to create this space for staff - through her high quality unconscious bias training. We caught up with Kamaljit for a conversation about Black History Month, but also how organisations can go further to tackle bias and discrimination. 

What does Black History Month Mean to you?

BHM gives the opportunity to focus on Black people’s contributions and history, things that many people are generally unaware of.

Obviously Black people’s contributions should be celebrated all year round and understanding history is key to all of us understanding the dynamics of our lives today.

Giving focus once a year can help raise these issues and hopefully organisations will mainstream throughout the year as well.

It is also an opportunity to discuss, share and look at how we can, as a society, improve equity and discrimination. Given the raised awareness over the last couple of years on the insidious nature of systemic discrimination we need more sustained action on creating equity and a world that is better for all our children.

Sometimes though people think that BHM is just for Black people, but it is for everyone, so getting the word out is important to reach people who do not already understand these issues.

Tell us about your Bias, Discrimination and Action training and why it is important for organisations to receive this type of training.

The training I provide takes a wholistic approach which looks at systemic discrimination and how organisations and individuals maintain patterns of behaviour reinforcing discrimination, sometime intentionally sometimes unintentionally by just doing things ‘the way they have always been done’.

I like to create an environment that enables difficult conversations and insights to unfold no matter who you are, this is not about being the perfect human being. We must be able to have an honest look at what is happening and the role we as individuals, organisations and society as a whole play in maintaining disadvantage.

This means having conversations with people we may not on necessarily agree with, but in a way that invites change rather than conflict.

Developing our own awareness and understanding and our agency to influence change is important no matter what level we are in the organisation. This with strong leadership from the top is what is needed to provide the environment for real and sustained change.

I like to energise that change in the work I do, including understanding conscious and unconscious bias, so when people leave the session they are able to see why change is needed and different ways this can be created.

What do you think organisations could do more of/do better to tackle bias and discrimination?

Tackling these issues is an ongoing process and not just a project. Projects such as positive action schemes are great are providing a vehicle towards creating greater equity, but it needs to be recognised that these are long term issues and once the ‘schemes’ have come to an end, that is not the end of the story. 

Creating greater equity needs to sit at the core of an organisations purpose for being and so it is an issue that has to be constantly part of the conversation. These conversations maybe difficult because they will involve doing things differently, and inevitably for this to happen there needs to be a change in the current power structures. And sometimes this means giving up power in one form or another by some.

Who do you feel are some of the real movers and shakers in the UK Civil Rights movement right now and why?

The great thing I feel over the last couple of years has been greater visibility of Black leaders both nationally and locally. There are too many to mention so do your google search, but for me Marcus Rashford has stood out, the way he tackled issues of poverty, with dignity and power is beautiful to see. Akala is also a favourite of mine, if you have not already heard him speak, check him out, there’s lots of content on YouTube.

Locally we have Black leaders who are shaping our local and national debate (again too many to mention but google will bring up lists of local people who have been honoured in their work in this area)

Our Mayor, Marvin Rees and Deputy Mayor Asher Craig, have both taken a sustained leadership stance on ensuring Race and Discrimination is part of the city conversation. As well as figures such as David Adetayo Olusoga the historian, writer, broadcaster, presenter and film-maker, who is so articulate and compassionate in his historical storytelling and advocacy.  

In fact Bristol seems to be at the fore front of these issues with many people in our communities and organisations actively playing a role, and one doesn’t need to be in the limelight to make a difference I believe we all have a role to play.

How will you be contributing to/celebrating BHM this year?

There are so many ways to get involved, last night I watched Charlene White on ITV’s ‘Empires Child’. It was an emotional journey into her own history and really showed the complexity of the emotions involved in this, most of all it showed how interconnected we all are. I find that I am always learning more and more about this interconnectedness, even though I have been involved in this field of work for a long time I am now increasingly interested in exploring these issues more deeply and bringing that learning to my training and consultancy work. I will be checking out more programmes and attending local events.

Find out more about Equity, diversity and inclusion at Creative Youth Network

How can we help?