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


October is Black History Month in the UK. Schools across the country are bringing it up with children and having assemblies about it.

We asked young people from the Unity Youth Forum what their views on Black History Month are – whether it’s relevant to them, if they see its impact, and what needs to improve for children to be more aware of Black history. These are their thoughts:

Black people have been through a lot of struggle, and it’s important to recognise that. In school, we learn in history lessons about the transatlantic slave trade, slavery in America and the civil rights movement. We don’t learn about the history of people of colour in Britain, and we don’t even learn that much about Britain’s role in colonising other countries.

Some kids in our class didn’t even know it was British people who were enslaving people in Jamaica…because they don’t tell us about that.

In lessons, it feels like the struggles of Black people are so far removed from the UK – it’s something that happens in America, where racism is a bigger problem. It feels like it absolves British people of wrongdoing, and we’re pretending that over here we’ve solved racism.

"It’s good to have a Black History Month and get people to understand why it’s needed."

It’s a way of focusing on these issues, having a reason to bring it up, and get people to be more aware. It’s a good education tool, as some kids might not be taught by their families.

However, it doesn’t feel right that it’s just a month – schools should be teaching Black history throughout the year, it shouldn’t be just a month, it’s tokenistic.

How it’s done also matters. It’s often hit or miss. In one of our schools, a middle-class white lady came up in an assembly to talk about it. This conversation should be led by Black people. As a Black British person, I want to hear from inspirational people who share my lived experience."

"I also don’t think schools really care about it and I’d rather not have a Black History Month at all if they won’t do it justice."

Hearing every year about the same thing, like Rosa Parks – yes, she’s important, but I want to hear about figures in this country that I can relate to.

We’re not saying it’s always done badly. In another school, teachers are working with one of our friends on a presentation. The assembly will be led by a young person of colour, which is much more relevant to us.

What matters even more to us is that we learn about the achievements and contributions of Black British people throughout history. The first time I ever heard a mention of a person of colour in a lesson, it was about a brutal killing, which was sad and tragic."

"I’m 16 and I can’t really name Black British artists or historical figures, they aren’t given any recognition and you have to go out of your way to find them."

There’s a lot of films and documentaries about American Black history, but not many about Black British history. In English Lit, it’s all white authors. We had one poem by a Jamaican author that we did for our GCSEs, and that was it."

"These are some things we want to see happen so everyone’s more aware of Black history:

  • Celebrate important Black inspirational figures in Britain’s history
  • Teach us about the accomplishments of Black people in this country
  • Acknowledge British colonialism and teach us about it
  • Lessons and assemblies on Black history being led by people with lived experience

These are just some of our thoughts. What do you think about Black History Month and how it’s being celebrated?"

How can we help?